Ghee is a healthy, shelf-stable food that is the best alternative to plain butter or other cooking oils. Ghee is used as an ingredient in traditional dishes, as an ideal fat for frying, and even in Ayurvedic medicine!. Ghee is collected from evaporated cow milk solids.
Ghee is prepared by a traditional process of melting and simmering unsalted butter until all the water evaporates and the milk solids settle at the bottom. The remaining butter oil is very stable, giving it a high smoke point which makes it an excellent choice to use for frying. Ghee can be stored without refrigeration for several months. In Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, it is also known as Desi Ghee, Pure Ghee, Asli Ghee or Ghritam. Ghee is a dairy product and as such it is gluten-free.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee contains short- and medium-chain fatty acids, both of which are linked to heart health. Butyric acid, in particular, is a type of short-chain fatty acid that’s associated with a strong immune system and known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Because it does not contain milk solids—lactose, casein, and whey protein—ghee may be a good option for those who are sensitive to dairy. Ghee isn’t technically dairy-free, but it can be considered lactose-free as long as the milk solids have been successfully removed.
What’s more conflicting, however, is the question of whether or not ghee is vegan. While ghee doesn’t contain milk solids, it’s still derived from an animal product—milk. So if you are a strict vegan, then likely you would want to avoid ghee.
Despite the potential health benefits, keep in mind that ghee is pure fat and should be consumed in moderation. When the milk solids are removed from butter, the fat becomes more concentrated. As a result, ghee has slightly more calories and fat per teaspoon than butter. Ghee is also high in saturated fat, which is generally discouraged over healthier fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.
How to Use Ghee
Because of its high smoke point, ghee (or clarified butter) is great for searing meat or cooking vegetables
Use it like you would any other cooking oil like canola oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil. You can also spread ghee over toast, drizzle it over popcorn, toss it with croutons Use it like you would any other cooking oil like canola oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil. You can also spread ghee over toast, drizzle it over popcorn, toss it with croutons or incorporate it into baked goods like cakes and breads. Don’t be afraid to get creative—use ghee instead of butter to make a jazzed-up roux to thicken sauces and creamy soups. To spark your inspiration, here are our favorite ways to cook with ghee