Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

The history of ghee dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished about 8,000 years ago. Dairy appears to have played a significant part in the local economy, according on lipid residue study on ceramics found at archeological sites. Buffalo milk was highly valued at the time because of its high fat content, which made it ideal for ghee production.

Read More: Jharna Ghee

The Sutras, which are old Indian writings that are thought to have been written between 800 and 300 BCE, attest to the common usage of ghee on celebratory occasions. Om Prakash, the author of Food and Drinks in Ancient India (From Earliest Times to C. 1200 A.D.), notes madhuparka, a sweet dish made with honey, yogurt, or ghee that was served as a visitor welcome or object of devotion. Clarified butter was a favorite food of early Buddhists and was provided as a remedy to sick monks.

How can I prepare ghee at home?

Indeed. Cooking at home has several advantages, according to cookbook author Nandita Godbole, who was born in India: “It is holistically inclined and free of preservatives.” It’s similar to having total control over what you consume. It is also reasonably priced; eight-ounce jars of ghee often run you between $12 and $20 online. Furthermore, handmade ghee tastes significantly better than the majority of commercially available mass-produced kinds.

However, urban Indians are turning to store-bought ghee due to their hectic lifestyles. Due to the overwhelming demand and the growing business, some producers decide to create it with cream, or malai, which is milk fat, rather than curd. Adulteration is widespread as many players use animal fat or hydrogenated vegetable oil.

However, the procedure appears laborious. Is there a simple solution?

Get your hands on the finest cultured butter available, unsalted. It saves time and labor by doing away with the need to make curd. Because organic products are known to have a lower water content and to not sputter throughout the process, Godbole advises using them. Godbole adds, “It’s my understanding that Amish butter produces superior results. I have my own recipe for ghee.”

What can I do with the remaining brown bits after straining ghee, if I decide to make it?

The residue left behind by ghee has a somewhat crunchy texture and a pleasantly acidic flavor. It tastes just as nice on toast with a dash of sugar or over steaming hot rice with a dash of salt. You may use it to make desserts like ladoo or barfi. (Food blogger and photographer Kankana Saxena has a ton of ideas if you need more.)

Can ghee spoil if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated?

Not really. When kept in a cold, dry place, it can last for over a year. If you plan to store it for longer periods of time, refrigerate, or use it in moderation. Ghee should always be removed from the jar using a clean, dry spoon, regardless of how it is stored.

What additional uses does ghee have?

Ghee is a staple of Indian cooking that is comforting in other South Asian kitchens and crosses national boundaries. The miracle fat is used by communities all throughout Pakistan to make the finest breads, including the bridal delicacy naghan, a huge loaf that is three to four feet wide. The bread is piled high in a karahi, or wok, bathed in ghee, and then covered with extra ghee, according to Maryam Jillani, a cuisine writer who was born and raised in Islamabad and currently resides in Manila. She goes on to say that ghee is used to layer baqerkhani, a crisp flatbread, and to make busri, a delicious morning roti made with ghee and jaggery.

Ghee is only used to make unique desserts in Bangladesh. “It is more of an upscale ingredient,” London-based British-Bangladeshi culinary writer Dina Begum claims. She makes bibikhana pitha and roshbhora, a class of steamed or fried sweets produced with freshly harvested rice, and she fries chunks of ash gourd to make chalkumrar morobba, a sweet preserve. She does this using her own ghee. Begum also like mixing it with date molasses and fruits on holy days to make shinnis, which are sweets prepared by toasting rice flour in ghee. She continues, saying that the smell of ghee brings back memories of her mother’s kitchen.

When used in sweets, ghee is associated with decadence in nations farther west. It gives the delicious Turkish baklava a sharp bite and the Egyptian basbousa a profoundly rich flavor. The crunch of the Palestinian knafeh comes from ghee-glazed filo dough strands.

How did ghee come to be in style?

Ghee holds a special position in Indian cookery since it has long been an essential cooking oil. However, it was scrutinized after the USDA’s 1977 low-fat dietary recommendations connected saturated fat (of which ghee is a major component) to heart disease. Vegetable oil companies followed suit by the 1980s, marketing their goods as “heart-healthy” substitutes. Considering that “Western ideas,” in particular health and lifestyle trends, have long influenced Indian society, the change was unavoidable.

After reviewing its guidelines in 2015, the USDA declared that there was not a significant health risk associated with dietary fat and cholesterol intake. Ghee was listed as “one of the healthiest foods of all time” by TIME magazine in that same year.

The next year, ghee received even more exposure when Bollywood celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar released Indian Superfoods, a book that listed ghee among the numerous meals that ensured overall health. Diwekar has been a vocal supporter of ghee for a long time, having gained notoriety and influence by helping a number of A-list stars with their weight-loss regimens. She used the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda to support her claim. Ghee quickly gained popularity in India, a celebrity-obsessed country where show business frequently influences society.

The West picked up on the trend quickly. Ghee’s lactose-free status was emphasized by several severe exclusion diets, including Whole30, Keto, and Paleo. Celebrities, including Kourtney Kardashian, were spotted consuming it on a regular basis as though it were an elixir of life. The custom of using it in religious rituals and its ancient roots were used to influence buyers even further.

“This whole concept of the cow being sacred and ghee having supreme status in Hinduism, which had religious overtones, made for an intelligent marketing campaign,” says Aditya Raghavan, a chef and cheesemaker from Alberta who has advised many Indian dairy farms.