I began traveling to India in 1995.
At that time, the charming royal city of Mysore in South India, was still quite old-fashioned.
Today most people in India cook with cheap oil made from GMO corn, canola and soy (what is popularly called vegetable oil – but is as far from vegetable-like as veggies could be). And to make it even less appealing (or food-like) these oils are sold in plastic bags that often sit out in the hot sun. I am not exaggerating when I say – that oil tastes like plastic. Not good.
But in 1995, and for many years following, many people cooked with traditional and delicious ghee. I purchased home-made ghee from a nearby grocery stall. That ghee was made from a blend of both water buffalo and cow butters. The butter was churned at a nearby churn – that was drawn by a bull. It is all kind of dreamy and trippy when I think back on it – as in – did I really pass by that corner lot where a bull walked on a shaded path as he turned a churn? Yup I did.
My two liters of ghee were stored in a large glass jar. The ghee was russet colored, like the color of the sky at dawn. Like the color of the God Shiva at the holy hill of Arunachala, South India. Arunachala means russet colored mountain. And Shiva appears at Arunachala as dawn, bathing the holy mountain and it’s villagers, animals and pilgrims in a red and amber glow of startling beauty.
My ghee was unimaginably beautiful. As for the taste and smell? Roasted, toasty, nutty and delectable. That ghee inspired me to cook at home daily – even under the challenging conditions of lighting and controlling a kerosene stove and toiling in a windowless kitchen with no running water! The water tap was out-of-doors, which is where I washed dishes (scrubbing away dirt and grime with brown tufts of coconut fiber in place of a sponge) and where I filled a water jug to keep nearby the smoky kerosene stove for cooking. Very old-fashioned indeed!
Now more and more people all over the world are using ghee, and I hope giving up poor quality degraded cooking oils for this amazing super food (yes, really).
I am very happy to share my newest article for Bon Appetite Magazine with you. It shares more, more, more about inspiring, nutritious and ghee-licious ghee.
Keep your ghee jar far from that steaming pot on the stove.
1. You Can Totally Make It Yourself
Ghee is butter, simmered. It’s easy to make. It’s also easy to burn. Keep an eye on the pot. As it simmers, the butter’s milk solids separate from the oil while evaporating out water. After about 15 minutes, spoon out the milk solids. What’s left is ghee: a clear-golden cooking oil with a high smoke point, long shelf life, and fancy reputation.
2. Lactose Intolerant People Eat Ghee (So Do Paleos and Whole 30s)
Because ghee is clarified, it’s both casein and lactose-free. People who are officially lactose intolerant (or lactose-free) eat it and digest it. Most ghee recipes instruct discarding the milk solids. Seriously? Discard organic, grass-fed milk solids? If you or some one you live with isn’t lactose-averse, keep them. Sprinkle them on a salad, toss them in a smoothie, or spread them on toast. Because salty, creamy, crunchy milk solids belong on really tangy sourdough or a crusty baguette.
3. Ghee Has a High Smoke Point
To keep reading…follow this link.