Ghee. Simple as can be, but wonderful beyond description. Made from butter (just butter!), ghee is my favorite fat for any high-heat application. Unlike butter, olive oil, or coconut oil (our other go-to fats) it has a high smoking point and so can tolerate the high heat of sauteing or stir frying. Ghee also provides lots of wonderful nutrients (like the X-factor, or vitamin K2) for healthy teeth and bones. That's the main reason we hit the dairy so hard around here, because of our history with early childhood decay.
Ghee is made by heating butter to remove the moisture and milk solids and it a solid at room temperature. It can be expensive to buy (like many things) but quite affordable if you make it yourself. Here is how I do it:
Begin with your butter. I made my own immediately before making the ghee because that's how I roll, but you can simply purchase good butter at the store. (I hear people do that – buy butter.) Making your own butter is totally unnecessary but adds something special to the whole process. At least for me. But I digress.
However you get your butter, go and get some.
Next, over low heat, melt your butter. High heat will result in burning, which you don't want. So exercise your patience here.
When your butter is melted allow it to simmer steadily. The milk solids will begin to froth a bit and float to the surface. Your butter will bubble noisily away. Skim the solids off carefully so as to not disturb the lower layers of butter. I add these to my dog's food for good fats, but I suppose you could either A) eat them like butter or B) throw them away. All I know is you don't want them in your ghee.
As you skim, keep in mind that there are two things happening in your pan – a sinking and a floating of what separated ghee from butter. Once that stuff is gone you've got ghee. You are skimming the floating bits without messing with the sinking bits. Make sense? Carry on.
Continue to simmer your ghee. You will see the solids reducing in quantity, and the thick yellow boiling butter slowly turn to a transparent amber. Keep skimming any time you see what I see in the photo below.
As soon as your butter is completely transparent and smells toasty and nutty and wonderful, your ghee is done. Skim off any remaining solids or add a tiny pinch of salt to help them sink. Allow to cool a bit before you transfer to your jar.
Not sure if yours is done? One trick is to carefully tip your pan. You will see small bumps sticking to the bottom. My flavor preference for ghee is to wait until these become a light brown, just toasted. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the ghee. If your bumps are still gooey and white and looking like melted cheese, you need to cook it for a bit more.
When your ghee is cooled a bit, carefully pour ghee into clean glass jars and allow to cool completely. Your cooled ghee should be a solid at room temperature and will keep for ages in the pantry.
Pretty. Healthy. And yummy. Can't beat that.
P.S. Our favorite way to enjoy ghee is stirred into a cup of gently warmed raw milk with a drop of honey. Our perfect bedtime treat. My kids call it "Ghee Tea" because it rhymes. There is no tea in there. But it's fantastic.