Ghee Ghee glorious Ghee
The Super Fat that keeps you healthy!
Today in our Healing Kitchen we are going to look at Ghee. You have all no doubt heard of Super Foods, they are the buzz word in healthy eating these days……well, enter GHEE……the Super Fat!
If you are a fan of Indian cuisine and home cooking you will have come across Ghee. It is a staple in all Indian kitchens, and has been culturally revered in India for centuries, but are you aware of exactly what it is or indeed how easy it is to make this liquid gold?
WHAT IS GHEE?
Ghee is a clarified, unsalted butter with the milk proteins removed which means that it is lactose free and does not need to be refrigerated. Homemade Ghee will keep for weeks in a dry dark place without going rancid.
Ghee is ubiquitous in Ayurvedic medicine and cuisine because of its extraordinary health benefits. According to Ayurveda, Ghee promotes learning and memory retention. In addition ……….
NOT ALL FATS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!!!
As the milk proteins have been removed it is almost 100% fat and of course ok for those with a lactose intolerance. FAT has been demonised in our society with emphasis on weight loss and lowering cholesterol however you should know, we have been sold some porky pies!!! Not all fats were created equal!
Ghee contains medium and short chain fatty acids, namely Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyric Acid respectively omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids which are easier for the body to process and use as opposed to long chain fatty acids. Furthermore they actually help reduce cholesterol.
HEALTHY HEART, WEIGHT MANAGEMENT & LOSS
In particular CLA is known to protect against artery plaque, congestion and diabetes. Who would have thought it? A fat that unclogs the arteries and thereby helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. It is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure for those suffering with high blood pressure and believe it or not LOWER body fat!!
WHAT????? Eating fat helps you lose weight???? – medium chain fatty acids are easily processed by the liver and burnt as energy and therefore do not become adipose tissue. They give the body an instant boost of energy.
Tests have shown that CLA is also effective in reducing tumours in the body and protecting the body against carcinorgens.
IMMUNE BOOSTING, DETOXIFING
Butyric Acid produces T-cells, the hard hitting cells of the immune system, you might say it super charges your immune system. It also aids the body in the absorption of vitamins and minerals which ensures you are actually receiving the goodness from the food you eat.
It stimulates the secretion of stomach acids to aid in digestion. As I mentioned in last weeks Healing Kitchen, any food that aids the digestive process is considered a medicine in Ayurveda.
It is known to remove toxins from the colon and reduce inflammation and is recommended for those suffering with leaky gut syndrome, Crohns , colitis, or pancreatic disorders.
IMPROVES VISION, REPAIRS DAMAGED SKIN, STRENGTHENS BONES AND TEETH
Ghee is a very good source of Vitamin A, E D and K.
Vitamin A and carotenoids are very good for your eyes. They eliminate free radicals that attack macular cells and thereby prevent cataracts and are also good in treating glaucoma and improving vision. It is also a very good antioxidant and works with the CLA and Butyric Acid to eliminate free radicals in the body.
Vitamin E is used by the body to repair damaged skin. It is included as an essential ingredient in many skin care products.
Vitamin D – essential for strong bones, necessary to protect against osteoporosis/brittle bones. The sun is a very good source of vitamin D as such, we in Northern Europe can often be deficient, so spread it on your toast, lob it on your kitchari, use it frying your onions and spices, just get the Ghee down ya!
Vitamin K – plays a crucial role in facial and dental development, it keeps bones healthy and protects against tooth decay.
HIGH SMOKE POINT
Finally, Ghee has a very high smoke point compared to other oils (250 degrees C), this means it is ideal for frying or cooking at high temperatures. It does not separate into cancer causing free radicals.
Wow!! All that and I haven’t even begun to talk about how Ayurvedic medicine uses Ghee! This I will save for another day. You see, Ghee is the Super Fat that just keeps giving:)
Right, down to business……
HOW TO MAKE GHEE
I am working with a lovely girl from India at the moment. Her name is Sanchali. We speak often about India together and when I mentioned I was going to talk about Ghee in my post today she told me how she remembered her Grandma making a big batch of it every week and the whole house smelling of Ghee. How wonderful!
I am cheating a little with the below method because I start with butter, of course traditionally it would start with milking the cow, and then churning the milk into butter before then turning the butter into Ghee. This is of course the way Sanchali’s Grandma did it. However as most of us don’t have a cow in the backyard, homemade Ghee begins with butter.
Ghee can be made from butter made from buffalo milk or goat’s milk but traditionally and particularly for medicated Ghee used in Ayurveda, butter made from milk from grass fed cows was used and is considered the best.
The quality of your Ghee is dependant on the quality of the butter you use so source good quality butter from grass fed cows, or where that is difficult to get locally for you, the best organic butter you can find.
You will need 500g of good quality butter made from grass fed cows, cut in cubes.
Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat to melt. When all the butter has melted you can lower the heat to medium/low so that the butter is simmering. The butter will start to separate into three layers, a top layer of foam, the clarified butter in the middle and the milk proteins will rest at the bottom of the pan.
The Ghee will go through several stages now. It foams, then it starts to bubble, the bubbles get bigger and bigger, after a while the bubbling will almost stop and a second foam will form on the top. Depending on the heat of your stove this can take between 15-25 minutes.
When the second foam forms, if you scrap it back a bit you will notice that the milk proteins at the bottom of the saucepan have started to turn brown and caramelise, there will also be a wonderful nutty Ghee aroma wafting through the house! The Ghee is cooked now but if you want an even stronger, nuttier flavour you can cook for a little longer, this is personal preference.
Scrape absolutely all the foam off the top of the pan.
Slowly pour the liquid through a fine sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth, and………. TA DA……..you have just made Ghee. It takes about 24 hours at room temperature before it solidifies again.
Sanchali tells me her Grandma used to mix the caramelised milk proteins with sugar and some rice to make a fudge like substance and eat it as a treat. Having only just learned of this practice I have never tried it but if you give it a go, let me know how you liked it!
So that’s it from the Healing Kitchen for this week. If you don’t want to make your own Ghee, you will find it in any Asian supermarket. I can also buy it in my local EDEKA here in Germany, alternatively you can also get it online.
Join the Super Fat revolution, whether homemade or shop bought you want Ghee in your kitchen.
Until next time beautiful souls.