Homemade Ghee (Clarified Butter) and some beautiful memories!

I use a lot of Ghee or Clarified Butter in my cooking.

I was raised in Kerala where lunch started with boiled rice mashed with ghee and salt. My grandmother used to send me a 3-tiered lunch box to school during lunch break where the first compartment always had this gloopy mash which I hated then. I would send it back with the driver untouched and drool on the neighbouring kid's Kissan jam sandwiched puris. Today, I would love mashed rice with ghee for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All what I loathed in terms of food during my younger days are my favourites now. I don't have memories of cakes or muffins or bread, baking in the oven because in my simple childhood home we never had those oven luxuries in the kitchen nor were we, as a family, cake or bread eaters. What I remember is only the typical Kerala food where Ghee formed a basic ingredient of our existence.



The making of Ghee was also ceremonial in my grandmother's house. She used to skim the cream from milk every day and keep in a jar which never ever gave up its space inside the refrigerator. When the jar was full, it would be taken out to be transformed into Ghee, but it would return to its original space in full glory, within a few hours with the day's batch of cream. The cream taken out to be converted into Ghee would be churned with a hand held traditional wooden churner and that used to be my job as the others pottered around the kitchen with lunch preparation. At one point of constant churning the cream will be separated into butter and water. The butter will be carefully removed from this and made into Ghee. And I would dare not try and describe in words, the aroma that used to waft through the corridors of the house during ghee-making!



I have been buying commercial ghee in Singapore since so many years now. I smear them on dosa, I mix it with rice, use it for traditional Indian sweets so on and so forth. I have tried all major brands that are available locally here but have never been satisfied with the taste, aroma or the price. And I use low fat milk and hardly boil it for cream to happen and claim a storage space in my refrigerator for ghee-making. So, I tried making ghee with blocks of butter available in the stores here and I am very happy with the results. Totally!

I used 2 blocks of 227 grams each of unsalted butter. I melted this very gently on low to medium heat (It is important to maintain low to medium heat or butter will burn). It started foaming at this stage (the whey separating from the butter) and I stirred occasionally just to make sure all is well. Then it started bubbling with a sizzling sound and I stood my ground. Slowly, the butter started clearing off the milk solids into a clear liquid. The milk solids eventually settled into the bottom. I continued stirring for a minute or 2 more for the milk solids to turn dark brown (not burn!) and put the pan off fire for it to cool down. When cool, strain this through a tea strainer or a soft cloth into a clean sterilized glass jar and store for use. The various stages in this whole process has been shown below:


I got exactly that much ghee out of 454 grams of butter. You can start with a small amount if you wish, but do try making clarified butter at home and you may never use a commercial one any more. It is totally brilliant. And full of love. And happiness.




Sangeeta

Comments

Shar said…
You just described my childhood. I was the butter churner. Oh the smell. I love making ghee.

Sangeeta Madhav said…
Thank you so much dear Shar!
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