Ghee is a form of clarified butter that is widely used across the globe for reasons that include health benefits, taste and culinary preferences, and religious beliefs.
The process of making ghee involves gently boiling, then simmering butter until the butter fat separates from the milk solids and the water evaporates; the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and caramelise, giving the ghee a delicious nutty flavour. What's left is pure butter fat.
The colour, taste and overall quality of ghee depends entirely on the quality of the butter used, so rather than buy ghee from the supermarket where the quality is unknown, it's quite simple and cost effective to make your own ghee using a high quality butter. Ghee has a long shelf life and can be kept in an airtight jar or container in a cupboard.
Don't be put off by the fact that ghee is composed almost entirely of fat; when used in moderation (no more than 10% of your total daily calories), studies have shown it will actually help lower your body's cholesterol levels, particularly if other fats consumed are from plant sources. And because the milk solids are removed during the clarifying process, it is usually suitable for people with a lactose or dairy intolerance.
Ghee has stable chemical bonds, and a higher smoke point than most other fats, meaning it is less likely to form dangerous free radicals during cooking. It is most commonly used in Indian cooking but different versions are used in multiple countries within Asia, Europe and Africa. The Ayurvedic medicine tradition uses ghee as a remedy for many ailments including burns, ulcers, constipation, chronic fever, anemia, enhancing intelligence and memory, and preparing the body for detoxification.
Safe for frying and cooking at high temperatures
high in antioxidants
aids digestion by stimulating the secretion of stomach acids
good source of vitamin A which optimises eye and skin health
good source of choline, an essential nutrient vital to brain development, memory, cell function, metabolism and lipid (fat) transport