Ghee

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When we were little, we used to sit on the kitchen counter and help our grandmother make rotis. They would usually turn out to be strangely amoeba-like shaped, but we were so proud of them! And the moment they came off the roti pan, our grandmother used to slap a big chunk of ghee on each one. (No roti was safe.) They melted immediately in little pools of oil and for extra effect (and love) our grandmother used to add a chunk to each of our curries too. (Just think of the heart disease.) Luckily, we were pretty scrawny so it didn’t have much of an effect on our waistlines! So when we recently ran out of store-bought ghee and burdened with lots of half-used blocks of butter from our baking adventures, we decided to have a go ourselves.

This is a very simple recipe but something so important to Indian cooking. And if you are Indian, you were probably raised on it, like us. Like good olive oil is to Italian cooking, ghee (or Indian clarified butter) is the starting point to most Indian dishes. Back in the olden days when fridges weren’t available, Indian housewives made ghee from fresh milk to make butter that would last in warmer temperatures. Not only is it used in food but also quite a lot of Hindu rituals – for example, when we light diyas (small earthenware lamps) on Diwali, we use ghee as the base oil. And did we mention ghee is paleo-friendly? Go on, have a go!

Makes 1 cup of ghee

250g unsalted butter

  1. Chop the butter into small pieces and add to a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Heat the butter on a very low heat.
  3. Simmer until the milk solids brown and either cling to the sides or the bottom of the pan. This took us 20 minutes!
  4. Strain into a glass jar when this is done, using four layers of muslin or cheesecloth on the mouth of the jar.
  5. Cool until firm and refrigerate.
  6. Enjoy on hot, yummy rotis!

So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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