Ghee and here I am talking about desi ghee, not the hydrogenated fat or commonly called dalda ghee. It is one ingredient that you’ll find in every Indian kitchen. Pure desi ghee is clarified butter made from the milk of a buffalo or cow and is one of Ayurveda's most treasured foods. We all know that ghee is an integral part of Indian winters. According to Ayurveda, consuming ghee helps you keep warm from within; which is perhaps why it is extensively used in many winter preparations like gajar ka halwa, moong dal ka halwa, pinni and panjeeri, as they tend to keep you warm.
We are such a big country with so many cuisines that there aren’t many things that are absolutely common across different states and people except for our dal, khichdi to halwas and chapatti.
Beyond our kitchens, ghee finds a coveted space in beauty and hair care products or routine too.
Ghee is a shelf stable fat, and has a long life which means that bacteria doesn’t grow easily.
Since ghee has a high melting point, it does not produce free radicals when used for elaborate cooking times thus reducing the damage to cell function. Also, it consists of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that aid in weight loss. Ghee also plays a key role in balancing hormones and maintaining healthy cholesterol. In fact, swapping ghee with fattening refined oils has perhaps been one of the biggest errors in Indian cooking.
Ghee has incredible healing properties you may not have known:
1. For Clogged Nose
You have difficulty in breathing; your taste sense is hampered, and let's not forget the headache and exhaustion that follows. Consuming ghee will help in warming up your insides and thus helping in clearing off the clogged nose.
2. Good Source of Fat and Energy
Ghee is a good source of energy. It contains medium and short-chain fatty acids. Lactating mothers are often given laddos loaded with ghee, since they are loaded with energy. Talking about weight loss, you may have heard a lot of people coming up with a pro-tip or two. And one of the most common weight loss tips we have all heard is- avoid fats. But doing so may do you more harm than good. Fats, carbohydrates and proteins are three macronutrients that are essential for maintaining a healthy life. Removing any food group from your diet is never a good way to lose weight. But avoiding all bad fats like in junk foods and processed food, and choosing better alternatives in the form of desi ghee, avocados will definitely help.
The serving size is about 1 teaspoon or 5 gms which gives around 45 Kcals and 25 gms of fat.
3. Good For Intestinal Health
Ghee happens to be one of the highest quality food sources of butyric acid, which makes it an ideal pick to support the health of the intestinal walls since the cells of the colon use butyric acid as their source of energy.
4. Decrease Glycaemic Index
In India, spreading ghee over chappatis and parathas is standard practice. And this is good since studies have seen that this practice brings down the glycemic index of the chapatti by some amount, in addition to making it more moist and digestible.
5. Keeps Constipation At Bay
Ghee may come to your rescue when you have a tough time with your bowel movements. The most common remedy we have heard is to take 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of ghee in a cup of hot milk at bedtime to help in relieving constipation.
6. Good for Heart
Contrary to popular belief, ghee is in fact a much safer bet to invest in for heart health as compared to refined oil even though ghee has been guilty of raising cholesterol levels. The fats present in ghee medium-chain, thus they are not associated with heart disease in the way that long-chain fatty acids are, as they are used directly as energy by the body and not stored as fats.
7. Great for Skin
Ghee has been a staple part of various beauty care rituals since time immemorial. Ghee is known to be suitable for all skin types and it also has vital fatty acids that help in hydration of the skin cells. Pure desi ghee is made out of cow's milk and is said to be extremely powerful in giving you soft and supple skin. Its vital fatty acids act as a nourishing agent that can do wonders to infuse life in your dull skin.
Preparing ghee at home
What do you need:
1 liter Heavy Cream / Malai from Milk chilled - Make sure the temperature of the ingredient is cold when you start.
Making Ghee from Cream:
- Take the cream in a large bowl and churn it well with a hand blender. After a few minutes, you'll see the cream will start to separate into butter and liquid. Keep churning for 2-3 more minutes till all the cream has separated.
- Place a sieve over another bowl and cover the sieve with a muslin cloth. Drain the butter in the muslin cloth and collect the remaining liquid or buttermilk in the bowl.
- Collect the edges of the muslin cloth and squeeze out extra liquid from the butter. Now pour half a cup of ice-cold water over the butter.
- Once again, squeeze any extra liquid from the butter.
Now we start with the ghee making process:
- To make ghee, place the well-squeezed butter in a saucepan over the stove and let it warm. Once the butter melts completely, let it simmer. As it simmers, it'll start foaming and splutter. (Be careful to not scald yourself.)
- Continue cooking the ghee on low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk solids don't burn at the bottom. As it cooks, it'll start to change color from a bright yellow to a light golden brown.
- Once the ghee becomes clear, stops foaming and the milk solids at the bottom turn brown, your ghee is ready!
- Let it cool for a few minutes before straining it on a muslin cloth.
- Store it in an airtight jar.
Storing Ghee: Ghee can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 months, it will automatically solidify slightly at room temperature or can solidify completely if you stay in a cool climate. Or in the fridge for up to a year.