How to Make Clarified Butter Used in Traditional Indian Cooking

If you want to impress your friends with some authentic Indian cuisine or just dabble in Indian cooking yourself then ghee is a great place to start. Ghee is an easily made, clarified butter long used as a staple of Indian cooking. Once prepared, ghee can be used to create any number of Indian dishes or simply for frying vegetables due to the high smoke point.

Ghee’s origin can be traced to ancient India and today it is used extensively throughout the subcontinent where it is revered as a symbol of nourishment. In traditional Indian medicine ghee is also applied to burnt skin and has been shown to have some benefit by recent studies. The substance occupies an important place in Indian culture and is used as an ointment in some Hindu rituals.

Ghee offers several advantages over regular butter for the health conscience. The result of the process is a substance with more potent taste meaning less needs to be used to achieve a similar taste to butter. Be careful of going overboard just as you would with butter since both are primarily saturated fat.

The other major benefit comes if you or any of your friends are lactose intolerant. Since ghee is a purified form of butter the lactose molecules are left behind during the process making this not only an exotic surprise but also a precursor to lactose friendly dishes.



  • 1. Unsalted butter
  • 2. Medium sauce pan
  • 3. Cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer

The Recipe

  1. To prepare your own ghee start with a medium saucepan and melt the desired amount of unsalted butter using medium-high heat and stir frequently.
  2. Within two or three minutes the butter should be boiling. When this happens reduce the heat to medium. Eventually the ghee will acquire a golden color as the oil and milk proteins begin to separate. Foam will start to form on the top and soon disappear back into the mix.
  3. The ghee should be ready after approximately 8 minutes. At this time a second foam will appear at the top and brown milk solids will have appeared at the bottom. When this happens separate using either a fine mesh strainer or at least 3 layers of cheese cloth. Be sure to use a heat resistant air tight container. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored outside of the refrigerator provided it will not come in contact with moisture. Using an air tight container ghee should keep for about a month.

Ghee is commonly used for frying in place of vegetable oil and can also be spread on bagels or toast as a butter substitute. There are also several easy recipes to try out such as ghee rice.

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