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Ghee, or clarified butter, is commonly used in Indian cuisine. Find out how to buy the best pre-prepared ghee or make it at home, and how to store it.
The Indian version of clarified butter (ie a butter that has had its milk solids removed, making it clear), ghee was traditionally made with butter made from water buffalo milk. Today, cow's milk butter is commonly used. As it's heated for longer, ghee has a stronger, nuttier, flavour and darker colour than standard clarified butter. Its high burning point (higher than that of clarified butter) means it's good for frying.
The best commercially made ghees are thought to come from Holland. Scandinavia and Australia also produce ghee of a good quality. It is packed in cans or jars.
Canned or jarred ghee is ready to use straight away. To make your own ghee, melt 500g cubed unsalted butter in a pan and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Leave it to simmer for around 30 mins. Then take it off the heat and skim off the scum that will have risen to the top. Leave it in the pan to cool - this will take around two or three hours. Then put it in a clean container and seal tightly. Throw away the sediment that will have collected at the bottom of the pan. The ghee will keep in the fridge for around six months. You can also make flavoured ghee by adding spices such as cumin or ginger to the butter at the start of the cooking proccess.
As the milk solids have been removed, ghee doesn't go rancid as rapidly as ordinary butter does, so refrigeration is not so essential. However, it will extend its life, so it's worth keeping opened shop-bought ghee or homemade ghee in the fridge.
Use to fry ingredients for any Indian dish, especially meat dishes.
Try vegetable oil or sunflower oil.