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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back in Ghee

I've been holding off on cooking Indian food lately because I didn't have any ghee in the pantry, but now I'm good to go. The other day I made a good-sized batch of my own in the old slow cooker. This may be my one great contribution to the world of food: slow-cooker ghee. It's in the little book I wrote, but basically all you do is
Ghee: Put 3 to 4 pounds unsalted butter (frozen is fine) in a 6-quart slow cooker, turn it on low or high (it really doesn't matter, I've found), cover with the lid slightly askew, and don't touch it or jostle the pot for many hours, until the foam on the top is a bit crusty and browned around the edges and it smells good. Skim the foam off and save it for spreading on fresh bread. Gently pour the clear ghee into a jar, leaving the solids on the bottom behind (discard those solids). This makes whatever this jar is—1 quart, I guess.
Don't imagine that melted or even clarified butter is the same as ghee. It's not even close. Ghee has a distinctive flavor that can only come from long, slow cooking. Usually this is done in a low oven or on the stovetop, which is so tedious and, frankly, wasteful. It's much easier in the slow cooker. Just buy a bunch of butter when it's on sale, and freeze it until you want to make ghee. For some of the really delicious Indian sweets you need a lot of ghee, so it's nice to have a lot on hand without having to buy expensive ready-made ghee.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

You are a saint to share the Ghee recipe. My Indian friends NEVER tell me how to make this stuff nor my other favorite Rasmali - "it'll take too long, making the cheese curd and all, don't bother."