Friday, October 4, 2013


You are what you eat.

The internet is full of information about the importance of ghee in Ayurveda and the many health benefits of ghee so I won't get repetitive about it. But I will say that ghee is one of the best fats your mind and body can have.

This ghee with aromatic spices is wonderful for cooking, in rice dishes, and drizzled over oats or a warm fruit compote. One of my favourite winter breakfasts is rice with ghee, a bit of cayenne pepper, and salt. The spices in the ghee add roundness and warmth to the flavour of food - perfect for the cooler months of the year!

I use 4 cooking fats: ghee, cold expeller-pressed coconut oil, olive oil, and grape-seed oil, in that order. Of the 4, olive oil has the lowest smoke point so I almost never use it for cooking unless I'm sauteeing something at a very low heat or adding it to a soup or stew later in the cooking process and heating everything together.

Ghee and coconut oil have a higher smoke point and don't oxidize easily, and they taste divine in sweet and savoury foods alike.

Spiced Ghee
Makes: approximately 8 oz./1 cup

- 8 oz. organic cow's milk butter, preferably unsalted but salted will do just fine
- 1 tsp cloves, whole 
- 1 tbsp cardamom, whole
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, whole
- 1 tbsp black Tellicherry peppercorns, whole
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds ("shah jeeru" in Gujarati)
- 1 stick cinnamon, 3-4 in. long

- stainless steel pan (cast-iron and enamel may be ok, but definitely not non-stick or aluminium)
- fine mesh strainer

1. In a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the peppercorns, cardamom, and fennel.
2. In the same pan that you will use to make ghee, add all the spices and turn on the heat to low and gently dry-roast the spices till aromatic. This will happen within a minute so keep an eye on things or you'll have burnt-tasting spiced ghee. If you are distracted or short on time, skip this step and add the spices and butter together to the pan. Unroasted spices will affect the final flavour far less than burnt spices!
3. Add the butter, turn the heat up to medium-low and let the butter melt completely.
4. Turn the heat to very low, for the remainder of the process, 25 - 30 minutes. The butter will start to foam and you will hear the butter crackle and pop - this is water evaporating from the butter.
5. Periodically check the butter without stirring: tilt the pan slightly or use a stainless steel or wood spoon to separate the foam so you can see the butter solids and spices. As the butter cooks, the solids will separate and settle, and the butter will get clearer.
6. As more and more water evaporates, the crackling and popping will reduce and the solids at the bottom of the pan will turn caramel in colour. Around 20 - 25 minutes after you start cooking the butter on low heat, the crackling and popping will almost completely stop. The solids will also turn a deep golden colour (not dark brown!).
7. TURN OFF THE HEAT! Deep golden to burnt takes no time at all and that's most definitely going to make the ghee taste burnt. 
8. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the ghee into a completely dry container. Let the ghee cool completely before putting a lid on the container.
9. Store in a covered container at room temperature. Ghee at room temperature is straw coloured with a semi-liquid texture. If correctly made, it will be easily spoonable at room temperature, no scraping required. Always use a clean spoon to scoop out ghee for use. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated and if it is not exposed to contaminates, it will keep for over a year, even outside the fridge.

1. If you don't have a strainer with very fine mesh, improvise by putting a paper towel inside the strainer and strain the ghee through that.

No comments:

Post a Comment