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Food item of the day – ghee

I’m surprised that more American households don’t have ghee in their pantry.

What’s ghee, you ask?  Ghee is clarified butter that has had the milk solids and excess moisture removed through cooking. The milk solids sink to the bottom, the water rises to the top and the middle layer is removed and allowed to cool. Once cooled, it has the texture and body of a soft butter spread. If prepared properly, it can be stored in an airtight container and doesn’t have to be refrigerated.  It has a sweet, nutty flavor that goes well in a lot of cooking, plus, it has a much higher burning point than many oils, so it’s useful when frying. It’s also considered a little healthier than many poly-unsaturated oils. It’s a “saturated oil”, a non-trans fat. It’s basically the essense of butter.

I like it because it can be stored in the pantry and doesn’t have to go in the cooler. It’s always at room temperature (read spreadable) and I actually prefer the flavor to regular butter. It’s a staple of Indian cooking (the name ghee is derived from Sanskrit). Naan bread is best when made with ghee. Ghee is also a great substitute for oil when making rice. I like to use on bread and toast just as I would regular butter.

Ghee isn’t difficult to make at home but you have to use typical canning techniques to avoid contamination. I prefer to buy it. It’s a little expensive but it goes a long way because it’s more concentrated a flavor than butter is. This is the brand that I find most often, but there are other brands that you might see in international markets:


Stay away from “vegetable ghee”, which sounds healthier because of the name, but isn’t because it’s a trans fat, which we know isn’t very healthy at all. It’s actually less healthy and is used because it’s cheap. You can be sure that it’s real butter ghee if it has “cow” somewhere on the label. the Ziyad is made from butter, so it’s good to go.

Ghee – it’s something you should consider making a special place in your pantry for.