Note: This is not a 'sneaky' recipe; rather, an essential in your pantry and a better alternative to butter.
Ghee is a favorite in our house. I grew up on it. My mom of course made it the hard core way. Not many are aware of it, unfortunately. It does take a process to churn out the caramelized buttery goodness. My dad would get milk straight from the "farm" - back then in India, you didn't just walk into a store to get pasteurized milk. You would instead, go to these small little cow-sheds where a "dhoodhwala" (read - milkman) would hand squeeze milk out of the grass-fed cows or buffalos! Can you imagine drinking fresh milk within the hour?
Well, let's just say that was a privilege I took pretty much for granted. Fast forward over two decades and now - people are going crazy for grass-fed milk, butters and meats. So, basically, we make it worse, then go back to the cave-man days with paleo and grass-fed products.
Anyway, I digress. So, once you boil this fresh milk and cool it down, it creates this creamy top, called 'malai' in Hindi. I have no clue what you would call that in english, it's surely not cream.. With a few accumulations of the malai saved over a few days, you would whisk it, and make 'makkhan' - a smooth velvety consistency that almost feels like mousse. You would boil this 'moussey-makhan' to get ghee. I can't tell ya, nothing beats the taste of that!
The best part of this ghee making process, is the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Eat them with a bowl of rice and a pinch of salt. mmmm.. heaven.
Now, back to reality. A hack to all those ancient ways of making ghee, is using the unsweetened butter at the grocery store; which still, churns out pretty decent quality stuff.
A common question I get from folks new to this, is 'where can I use it?'. Answer is, anywhere you would normally use butter! I use ghee for my baking needs, cooking pancakes, sauteing some veggies and so on. The flavor profile is just multiplied. I usually all 4 sticks of a pack, and it usually lasts me about a month or so.
- Use a thick bottom non-stick pan - very important!
- Have the heat on medium
- Add 4 sticks of unsalted butter
- You will see butter melting, turning to a cloudy appearance
- In about 10 minutes, it will start turning into a clear liquid
- If there are any milk proteins along the wall of the container, scrape them down into the liquid. The idea is to caramelize all the milk protein.
- Once the liquid turns completely clear, turn the heat off. It will look dark brown in color
- Let cool and pour into a airtight container using a sieve.
- Store in a cool dry place
- If you are careful about not using wet hands or spoons - this will store easily up to 3-4 months, maybe more. We have always finished in under 2 months ;)
Watch this video to see this new age ghee making at your home kitchen!