Ghee Whiz

One of my four personal chef clients is a vegetarian yoga teacher. In my tenure cooking for her, I’ve enhanced my culinary education by learning to make a lot of Indian and Ayurvedic dishes (a 5000 year old Indian tradition of using food and herbs medicinally). I’m much more comfortable making my own curry blends and have developed an understanding of how to use some of more typical Indian spices in unusual ways, including cinnamon sticks, turmeric, cardamom pods, and cumin, mustard, fennel and coriander seeds.

My most wonderful discovery though, has been ghee. Ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked until all the water boils off and the milk solids have separated. According to professional chefs from the Ayurvedic tradition (check out VedicSociety.org), it has a plethora of medicinal properties that range from lubricating joints to treating digestive conditions like ulcers and colitis to improving the quality of semen. Though I haven’t ingested enough of it myself to verify these claims, I’m totally smitten with it as a culinary ingredient, as is my client, who asks me to use it in place of all cooking oils. Some of it’s more provable attributes are that it’s safe for those with lactose intolerance and has no cholestrol.

Not only does ghee have a remarkably high burning point, it has a smooth, nutty taste that compliments the dals, kitcharis, and curries I make for her every week. It’s not cheap if you buy it in the store though, so I’ve learned to make a large batch of it once a month, then use it every week while I’m at her house. It keeps for a long time, even unrefrigerated, if you prepare it properly. Here’s how I make mine:

Start with a pound of the best unsalted butter you can afford. if you’re going for the health value, buy organic. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over low heat. The butter will start to bubble and sputter as the water leaves and there will emerge a white foam on top. Turn the heat down as low as possible and stir occasionally.

Eventually (it could take 15 minutes or more depending on how much butter you start with) there will be a double layer of foam on top and a layer of brown milk solids on the bottom. You can continue to cook it until the foam has settled to the bottom, or you can spoon off most of it while it’s still on top. The goal is to get all the solids and the water out of the butter without burning the remaining ghee. When it’s done, the ghee will smell nutty and be golden in color and translucent.

Take a cheese cloth and put it over a glass jar. Strain the ghee through the cloth, thereby removing all the solids and foam. It will last a long time stored it in the fridge (it becomes spreadable quickly) or on the counter, so long as all the water is gone and no crumbs, etc., get left in it. You can use it just like butter: on bread and baked goods and to saute veggies, chicken, and fish in without worrying about burning it. Happy cooking!

Featured Culinary Schools

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses