Roman poet Juvenal wrote, “Rare is the union of beauty and purity,” and, in the rich culinary world across the globe, there is nothing more beautiful and pure as freshly made Desi Ghee.

Desi Ghee is considered one of the purest foods in Ayurveda, and because of this purity, it is an important ingredient in both religious ceremonies and Ayurvedic medicines. 

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Before we get into the technicalities involved in making desi ghee, let’s delve more into its different avatars around the world. 

While Ghee is widely considered native to Bharat (India), it is also a common part of the Western African diet, especially among the Hausa and Fulanis. They call it Manshanu, meaning cow’s oil. Similarly, Egyptians make a product called Samna Baladi, meaning countryside butter. In Eritrea, East Africa, Ghee is known as Tesmi, and Ethiopians add herbs and spices to it and call it Niter Kibbeh. In North Africa, Maghrebis make things more interesting by aging the spiced ghee, called Smen, for months or even years.

Within India, Ghee is known by different names, such as Neyyi in Telugu, Tuppakam in Tamil, Ney in Malayalam, and Thuppa in Canada.

Knowing its global and ancient history helps us understand that our ancestors were well aware of its benefits, and many cultures have been able to preserve its use even today. 

This article is less of a recipe and more of an instruction manual on how to obtain this purest form of milk fat safely. Please keep the following points in mind while making Desi Ghee at home:  

  1. To make desi ghee, always use a heavy bottom pan.
  2. Desi ghee is highly flammable and can cause severe injuries, hence always ensure
    to make it when kids are not around.
  3. It is best to make it on the back burner on low flame and without leaving it
  4. Ghee produced by the clarification of butter at 100°C (212°F) or less, results in a mild
    flavour, whereas batches produced at 120°C (248°F) produce a stronger nutty flavour1.
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Ingredients :

● 4 X 250 gms of unsalted butter

Instructions :

  1. Add the butter in a heavy bottom pan and switch the heat to the lowest setting.
  2. Cook the butter on medium to low heat until the milk solids sink to the bottom and the water is evaporated, stirring occasionally. The time required may vary between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantity of water present in the butter. It’s important to keep an eye on it throughout the process.
  3. Stop cooking when the liquid is golden yellow. Ghee has a very high heat retention hence it will continue to cook even after it has been removed from the heat source, hence avoid overcooking it.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, strain and store it in a sterilised dry glass jar. Do not put the lid on while the ghee is still in its liquid form, as it will cause the jar to steam up and spoil the ghee. Once solid or completely cool, close the lid and store.
  5. Desi Ghee is not required to be refrigerated.
  6. Always use a clean and dry spoon.

As per Ayurveda, buttermilk butter2 is used for making Desi Ghee, because it contains probiotics, but we are using just normal store-bought butter here. This recipe should yield around 700 to 750 gms of ghee, depending on the quality of milk used in making the butter.

Since Desi Ghee has negligible amounts of lactose and casein, it is safe to consume for most people with a lactose intolerance or milk allergy, however, always check with your physician before including it in your diet.

Desi ghee can be added to cooked foods replacing butter/oil, or can be used as a cooking medium. Its high heat retention helps improve the flavour of the food cooked in it.

  1. You do not need to measure the exact temperature, it is just something to keep in mind. ↩︎
  2. Butter in the west is made from the milk cream while in Bharat it is made by turning milk into curd or yoghurt first and then churning it to obtain the butter. ↩︎