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!
Recipe by Anita Mirchandani, MS, RD, CDN
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
- Sauté the grated carrots over low heat in ghee.
- Add milk and cook till very soft.
- Add sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. Sprinkle saffron or cardamom powder.
- Garnish with flaked almonds or cashew nuts. Serve hot or cold as desired.