Monday, June 11, 2012


Blog's Category: International, My Staple Food, USSR-era Recipes

I love butter! Is there anything better than fresh butter with a crusty country bread?! Although, out of that numerous warnings about cholesterol and such I am careful about using it on a regular basis. That is why idea of using ghee instead, whenever recipe calls for cooking with a butter, is very appealing to me.
Ghee is a pure butter fat, so-called clarified butter. It has high smoking point which makes it ideal for cooking. It has distinctive somewhat nutty flavor you may need to get used to. In a different cultures, it was with us for centuries.
It's commonly known as ingredient in South Asia cuisines. Also I remember that my Ukrainian aunt always had this bright lemon-yellow stuff in a pint-size jar in her cupboard. Back then, as a child, I didn't appreciate much taste of this "thing", that must be why my mom never made or used ghee. Things have changed now. I make ghee myself and use it, mostly for frying or cooking sauces such as bechamel, or for baking (as it often used in France!).
I have a great yoga's cooking book "Kundalini Cooking" where ghee is used often in its recipes. In fact, one of my favorite desserts from this book, Oats Apple cake, is made with ghee.
My recent use of ghee is yesterday's bechamel sauce I made, where I replaced 3 tablespoons of butter required by recipe with 1 tablespoon of ghee and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Besides its nutritional qualities, there are couple more reasons to make your own ghee: first, it's easy; and second, you are saving some money versus store-bought ghee (all whole food stores here carry ghee).
So, are you ready? If yes, then buy 3 packs of unsalted butter on sale and go ahead!


For about 4 8-oz jars:


3 boxes of butter, 1 lb each. Total 3 lb of butter (approximately 1.4 kg)

- Unwrap butter sticks, place all of them into a medium size pot.

- On a medium heat, melt butter without stirring it. Then switch heat to the lowest setting and let butter to simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours. You will see how foam on a top of butter will solidify eventually, part of it will fall down on a bottom of the pan and part of it still stay on a top. Do not stir!
- When crusty foam on a top of butter will become thinner and beige in color (in about 2 hours), turn off the heat.

- With a spoon, carefully remove and discard the crust from a top. Presumably, that's where all that "bad" cholesterol is.

- Using a sieve lined with paper towel or cheese cloth, gently strain ghee into glass heat-proof jar/dish.

- Let it cool for 5 minutes and distribute ghee between your jars. Make sure your jars are clean and dry. Do not cover jars with a lid until ghee cools completely.

- Your ghee can be kept without refrigeration. Although I prefer to have it in my fridge as,  inadvertently, you can get some bacteria into it while using a ghee.

- Enjoy your cooking!

Foam will rise up a little bit. Do not stir it anyway. Just turn heat on a lowest setting.

While simmering it will form small fountain in a middle.

In 1 hour clarified butter will become darker and foam - thinner.

When almost done, I have made clear area wider, pushing foam to the edges with a knife. This foam pieces will stick to itself making job of removing it easier.

Well, I guess that's it and I will turn heat off right now.
Getting rid of "evil" part of butter.
Good to go for straining.

This is the final product.

What was left on paper towel..

"Bad" stuff in a bottom of a pan - discard it!

Next day. At room temperature it is in a half-solid state. When I get it in a fridge it will be very solid. Usually, I use knife to get piece of it from a jar for cooking. Small piece of it goes a long way.

Partially solid at a room temperature.


  1. I love ghee. The foam you see is the water content being evaporated. You can continue to cook very low until the part on the bottom all rids itself of water, which keeps it from spoiling. (If you take it out early, there can be water left in it, and it can go rancid). If you cook too hot, you can get an effect that chefs call, "Brown Butter," where they clarify butter at a higher temperature which then turns brown and nutty. Your descriptions of working gave me a warm feeling of happiness. I dream of a happy blue-eyed lady by my side, making disposable art in the kitchen. I will share my 'Todays' project, I took the two chickens I had made chicken stock with, but overcooked, so couldn't use the meat in meals. (Have you ever bought a can of soup with meat? Never any stock left in the meat, and the stock is just flavored gum). I had some mirepoix that I had in the fridge, and had boiled for stock, and I did a second boil for stock. A gallon of that set aside, I poured 2 cups in a pan, added onions, celery, carrots, broccoli, and a thick slice of the tomato I had been using for sandwiches. (I like to leave tomatoes out of the “Fridge”, or refrigerator, and cover the cut surface with plastic. I cut off a thick portion of this ugly surface and throw it in for cooking, so there is a fresh surface for salads and such). I added some fresh roasted chicken breast from the whole chicken I roasted, and boiled the bones in stock. Turmeric, fennel, mustard seeds, (I love their popping in my mouth), and chipotle chile powder, sea salt, and cracked Tellicherry pepper, and some left over rice, a dollop of ghee and a dollop of chicken fat. (The, “Fat is bad,” myth is false. One just needs to avoid too much of a good thing to stay in shape). When it was done, I squeezed a half of a lime into it, and toasted a slice of rustic bread for the bottom of the soup bowl. It was great, but it could have been better. It could have been shared with someone special. ©Tom Condon 2014

  2. wow! This looks super delicious. I love to eat ghee on chappatis and making breakfast in it. It gives a very distinctive taste to every dish.


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