Introduction: Tips From Mother- In-Law -Making Clarified Butter (Pure Ghee) the Easy Way
Making pure ghee at home has been a tradition that has been going on in my family from generations- so much so that the process of making it has almost reached the level of a ritual. There would be a day set out for ghee making and then all the women of the house would get occupied in this process for hours. Cream would be gathered and kept in pots in a cool spot or the refrigerator. When a sufficient quantity was collected, it would all be transferred to the churn and whipped till the butter rose to the surface. The butter was then collected and heated over a stove till the ghee separated. Not only was the entire process extremely tiring, but also very time consuming.
Once I started working and got married, I discovered that long years of having the fragrant and fresh pure ghee prepared at home had made me addicted to the taste. Store bought ghee had neither the texture nor the delicious aroma that wafted out from the ghee when it was heated. However, I had neither so many helping hands nor the patience. I was thus in a dilemma till unlooked for help came in the form of an excellent alternative process from my Mother- in-Law. The method used by her family for generations is both hassle free and is able to produce a quality of ghee which comes close enough to satisfy my nose and taste.
The best part moreover is that this recipe entirely does away with the churn, giving the classic recipe a modern twist.
Step 1: You Will Need-
Cream collected in a bowl or jug- more cream collected = more ghee at one go. I generally end up storing cream in the refrigerator for a week or two before making the ghee.
Wooden spatula for stirring
Metal bottle to collect the ghee in- I don’t know if there is any special significance or not, but ghee stored in metal bottles does not seem to turn rancid.
Step 2: Empty the Cream-Light the Stove
The first step in making ghee is emptying all the cream in the frying pan and then putting it on the stove on medium flame. (Image 1) The cream will begin to melt in a couple of minutes. (Image 2) I have found that stirring occasionally helps the cream to melt faster.
After 15-20 minutes the cream will have liquefied and will begin to bubble in the frying pan. The ghee will separate and rise to the surface. (Image 3)When this happens lower the flame and stop stirring.
Step 3: Separate the Ghee
After 10-15 minutes there will be two different sections in the frying pan- a white solidish crumbly section which is the milk solids and a clear liquid section floating over the solids which is the ghee. The liquid portion is what we are after and so it has to be carefully separated from the solids using a spoon. (Image 1)This can be done in an easier way by slightly tilting the frying pan.(I already had some left over from the last time that I made it, and so I simply added today’s batch over it)(Image 2)
*The container in which the ghee is stored should be clean and dry.
**Care also has to be taken that no portion of the solids gets removed along with the ghee as this will spoil the texture.
Continue separating till the all the liquid is removed.
Step 4: Repeat Steps
All the ghee does not separate from the milk solids the first time. I generally heat and separate the cream a couple of times to remove all the ghee.
In this recipe it is not necessary to remove all the ghee at one go. I mostly heat the cream in breaks, as and when I get time, making this a very convenient recipe. In between heating sessions, I simply cover the frying pan and leave it in a cool corner of the kitchen.
When no more ghee oozes out upon heating, lightly press with the wooden spatula to remove any remaining oil. An alternative is to leave the frying pan tilted at an angle to allow the ghee to drip out.(Image 1) After removing it, the mixture will appear completely dry. (Image 2)
Step 5: Storage
Storing the ghee does not require refrigeration. My mother simply left the bottle in a cool and dark cupboard. The bottle she used had neither any special seals nor was it air tight. As far as I have observed, ghee remains good as long as it is used on a regular basis, which is totally not a problem in my house. Otherwise, it remains good for 3-4 months if untouched.
It is also a good idea to store it in small containers that fill up completely, not leaving too much space for air as the only way ghee spoils is if it comes in contact with aerial bacteria.
Step 6: What About the Milk Solids?
Not to worry! Nothing gets wasted in this recipe and plus, you get an easy peasy and delicious sweet dish as a bonus.
There are two ways in which these can get used- the lazy way (which is what I do most of the time) and the other way which yields a more authentic sweet dish.
The first way involves simply adding sugar to the milk solids and heating it on low flame till all the sugar melts and the mixture becomes slightly brown. This has a lovely caramelish flavor.
The other method is to take an egg and whisk it well. Sugar is then added to it and whisked again till it all melts. Put the milk solids on the stove on low flame and add the egg to it a little at a time stirring continuously till everything gets combined. If the mixture seems to dry, add a little milk (a teaspoon or so) and stir. This mixture should not become brown.
Let it cool for a while and empty onto a small tray lined with baking paper. Smoothen the surface with a spatula or spoon and cut into pieces.
Serve and enjoy when completely cooled.