5 Things to Know About Indian Ghee

Among cooks, clarified butter — known in Indian cooking as ghee — has is becoming a popular alternative ingredient, in part because of its use in Indian cooking, and also its suggested healing properties.

  • Ghee is pure, without preservatives. It has about 14 grams of fat per tablespoon.
  • Ghee contributes a rich flavor to recipes. You only have to use half the amount of ghee as compared to oil or butter.
  • Ghee has been noted to promote anti-inflammatory activities in the body.
  • Ghee has been known to enhance nutritional value in foods.
  • Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid with anti-cancer properties.

If you're interested, here is an easy method for making ghee at home. First purchase unsalted butter. Heat in a saucepan until it begins to boil. Adjust the heat accordingly to maintain a slight ongoing boil. The foam that appears on the top will condense and thicken. Skim that off. Once you hear a frying-oil sound (which should occur anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes later), remove the saucepan from the heat, let it cool, and then pour the remainder into a glass container. Note: The remaining residue is considered milk solids and can also be used in food preparation.
 
Here is one of my favorite recipes that calls for ghee. It's a traditional Indian dessert!


Carrot Halwa

Recipe by Anita Mirchandani, MS, RD, CDN

Ingredients
8 cups grated carrot
4 tablespoons ghee
6 cups milk (for a healthier option, substitute half with skim milk)
2 cups sugar
10 to 15 almonds or cashews, pounded
A pinch of saffron or cardamom

Directions

  1. Sauté the grated carrots over low heat in ghee.
  2. Add milk and cook till very soft.
  3. Add sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. Sprinkle saffron or cardamom powder.
  4. Garnish with flaked almonds or cashew nuts. Serve hot or cold as desired.
Anita Mirchandani, MS, RD, CDN on Twitter
Anita Mirchandani, MS, RD, CDN
Anita Mirchandani, MS, RD, CDN, is registered dietitian and recently cofounded FitMapped, a free "trip advisor for fitness" to help users find fitness easily and connect with fellow fitness enthusiasts. Follow Anita on Twitter.