Whether you want to save money, or you don’t have access to store bought ghee, making your own ghee at home is cheap and easy. I’ve always bought my ghee from the Indian store, being perfectly content getting it ready made. I never would have considered making my own…until I noticed the price of ghee slowly but surely increasing. The twenty ounce bottle of ghee I add to my basket every couple months started out around seven dollars and now costs me thirteen. I didn’t think much of it beyond wishing the price would stay put. Then on a trip to India, I saw so many people in the neighborhood making their own ghee at home. To them, store bought ghee was completely unnecessary, a waste of both time and money.
What Is Ghee?
Ghee is clarified butter; butter which has been boiled until all the milk solids separate. The milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and what is left over is pure golden, liquid butter. This means the moisture content is lower, which lets you cook the butter at a higher temperature before it will break down and start smoking. Recipes which use ghee or clarified butter would not work as well if you substituted butter, because the extra moisture in the butter would make the food more soggy.
What To Do with the Milk Solids
Save those milk solids! They are full of flavor and can be added to any dish as a garnish. You could even fry a bit of garlic along with the milk solids for a tasty spread on fresh toast. Throwing those out would be as shameful as enjoying a picnic on perfectly manicured lawn and then shaking out your trash all over the grass when you’re done.
View the full recipe for making your own ghee: Ghee Recipe
Mummy-ji makes her ghee not from sticks of butter, but from the daily delivery of milk. Every morning a skinny man rides up on a bicycle laden with two large metal canisters. Both are filled to the brim with buffalo milk which was milked only a few hours earlier. He ladles the thick milk into small, clear plastic bags; ties them securely and hangs them outside the front door knob. When Mummy-ji arrives home from the temple around 7AM.
She boils the milk until the cream separates. The boiled milk, which has now been sanitized (what we know as ‘pasturized’) is ready for chai, while the cream is scrapped off and kept for later uses. The cream can then be used in rich dishes such as Malai Kofta, Mushroom Tikka Masala or Black Daal, or it can be kept for making ghee. To make ghee, the cream is boiled again until the milk solids separate and a pot full of golden ghee is left over. The milk solids are kept as a garnish (they are full of great flavor) and the ghee is used in the same way you would use cooking oil.
Since I don’t have farm fresh milk delivered to my doorstep every morning, I used sticks of butter bought in bulk from Costco. In fact, I wanted to try an experiment, a bit of a cost comparison, between Costco butter and Indian store ghee. I can buy sixteen sticks of butter from Costco for $8.13. One jar of ghee (20 oz.) is about $13. I began to think,
The answer is a WHOLE LOT.
I did indeed pull out my large pot and melt sixteen sticks of butter. The result was a whopping 40 ounces of fresh ghee. So for practically half the price, I got more than twice as much ghee. That means my homemade ghee only costs roughly $4 a bottle. I’m sure from time to time, I’ll still buy ghee from the store, but it’s good to know I can boil up a bottle full, costing me only thirty minutes of my time, but saving me an extra $16-$18.
Recipe coming next week.