Ghee is a very popular cooking base in India. It is a clarified butter- the milk solids are separated from the pure butterfat. It is uniquely Indian, though, and differs from the French clarified butter in that it doesn’t strain off the separated milk solids until they become brown and settle at the bottom of the pot. This is what gives ghee its unique nutty aroma. Some cooks in India will add coriander or basil leaves to further perfume the ghee.
Usli Ghee – Indian Clarified Butter
- 3-quart saucepan
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Jar with lid
- 1 lb Unsalted sweet butter
- Cut butter into small dice. Heat in saucepan over very low heat until it melts completely and never sizzles, around 5 minutes.
- As soon as all the butter is melted, increase heat to medium. A thin layer of foam will appear on the top, a good thing. The butter will begin to crackle. Let it simmer, crackling, for 10 minutes. Don't stir. The crackling will stop and foaming will subside, meaning there is no longer any moisture in the milk solids..
- The last step must be watched carefully and stirred constantly. The foam will form again and make it hard to see the butter fat browning at the bottom. As soon as the solids turn brown, move saucepan to another burner and let the brown residue settle on the bottom.
- Strain partially cooled butter through a double layer of cheesecloth or coffee filter into a measuring cup with a spout. Discard solids and pour ghee into a covered jar.
- Ghee can sit on the counter for up-to 6 weeks, in the refrigerator for 4 months, or in the freezer indefinitely.