More and more lately, people are beginning to experiment with using different kinds of fats and oils in the kitchen. One fat you may be seeing here and there is ghee, which is also sold as ghee butter in some areas. With its yellow color and soft texture, it certainly looks like a nice fat to cook with. But what are ghee butter products, and how do you use them?
What is ghee?
To understand what ghee is, you first need to understand a few things about butter. While butter is a fat, it is not 100% fat. It does contain some other substances that are sometimes called butter solids. These other substances have a tendency to brown and scorch when the butter is cooked at too high of a temperature.
Ghee, then, is butter that has had these other substances removed. (Sometimes the substances are called impurities, but that terminology is not quite right since the substances are a natural, normal component of butter.) Ghee, unlike butter, is nearly 100% fat. That means it can be cooked with and you don't have to worry about it browning. Ghee will also not go rancid nearly as quickly as butter. You can leave it at room temperature for much longer without worrying about it spoiling.
How is ghee made?
The process is quite simple, really. Manufacturers simmer butter at a low temperature until all of the other substances in the butter evaporate and only the fat is left. Because of this process, ghee is sometimes called clarified butter. You can make ghee at home via the same process, but you have to be very careful not to get the butter too warm, or else you will just scorch the solids. Because the process is so intricate, most people find it easier to just buy a jar of ghee from the store.
How is ghee used?
Ghee can be used in the same way that you would use coconut oil or canola oil. You could use it in baked goods, but there's no real point — normal butter works just fine here. Ghee is, however, a really good choice for stir-fried dishes. It gives them that buttery flavor, but without forcing you to keep the heat low. It's a common choice for Indian dishes, especially. Ghee's smoke point is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can fry in it without concern.
Now that you know a bit more about ghee, go out and buy yourself a jar! Ghee butter products are a good way to add butter flavor to cooking without the risk of browning your butter.