We had some acquaintances over to dinner the other night. They are some friends of friends and we had only met them a couple of times at community gathering events. They had heard of my cooking skills (not shy am I?) and they wanted some authentic home cooked Indian grub. So we invited them.
One of the ladies saw that I was using ghee and she started talking to the other women about how she picked up a bottle of fragrant ghee at this high end organic foods store (for something like 8 or 9 bucks). Now no offense, but I have experienced some of these ready made ghee's available in the high end markets and all I can say is - close but no cigar!
I realized as I was stirring the dal that as long as one can get their hands on sweet cream butter (I bought 2 lbs on sale at 1.59/lb just to make ghee) and stir a pot, you can get the most awesome, liquid, golden ghee in 45 minutes flat, for one-thirds the cost and double the quantity!
Now for those of you unfamiliar with ghee, it is also known as clarified butter and it is fantastic in rice dishes, Indian cooking and makes a mean steak au poivre to tow -- you think I'm kidding - try it and see for yourself.
I cook my steak with nothing but - and here's why. It has a much higher burning point, than butter and I think of it as the 'clean fuel of cooking fat'. Good term, eh?
It has no strong discernible flavor so you can use it in just about anything - roasted veggies, roasted potatoes (to die for) and almost all Indian cooking - for which olive oil has too strong a flavor and scent. Do you what my favorite food in ghee is? Fried eggs! Yummy!
So here goes -
Start with 2 lbs of unsalted butter.
In a clean heavy bottomed, dry pan, place butter and begin melting on medium heat.
15 minutes later -
It looks like a cloudy yellow liquid with bubbles of milk solids on the surface.
Stir and walk away.
Another 15 minutes later -
It looks like a cloudy yellow liquid with surface milk solids diminishing.
Stir and DO NOT walk away.
In the last 15 minutes -
Notice how the butter turns more and more clear with lesser and lesser milk solids floating on top.
Stir the ghee regularly at this point. It will emanate a fragrant scent.
In it's final moments -
Notice how the butter turns clear with bubbles on top. Turn off the heat.
Allow it to sit for a few minutes to let the milk solid sediment settle to the bottom.
The delicious fragrance of ghee fills your home.
Cook's Note - If the container has any moisture or is unclean the ghee will spoil quickly so this is quite important. Also, use a glass container and sieve - not plastic. The ghee will be very hot and the utensils used need to be able to handle the heat.
Using a stainless steel sieve, strain the ghee so the milk solids sediment collects in the sieve.
Leave the lid off till the ghee has cooled down completely - 4-5 hours.
Cook's Note - If you close the lid too soon, condensation will occur and that will ruin the ghee.
Use homemade ghee for your amazing culinary creations!
Store Ahead Tips - Will survive indefinitely in the refrigerator. I am not kidding - when Mum visits, we make enormous batches for a 2 years supply at a time!