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Ghee is clarified butter without any solid milk particles or water.


[edit] How to Make Ghee

Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all the water has boiled off and the protein has settled at the bottom. The clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk solids at the bottom of the pan.


[edit] Usage of Ghee

Ghee is a very popular cooking medium throughout India and South Asia, as good quality ghee is considered to add great aroma, flavour and taste to food. Moreover, it does not splatter during sautéing, provides increased puff or shortening for pastries, such as samosas and pie shells, and has a long shelf life. In fact, ghee does not need any refrigeration. Be sure, however, not to take out the ghee with a wet spoon or allow any water to get into the container, as this will create the conditions for bacteria to grow and spoil the ghee. It is also purported to have medicinal properties that are said to improve with age. Ghee starts to solidify below 63°F, starts to melt above 99°F and its smoking point is 375°F.

[edit] Daily Permissable Ghee Allowance

Calories from fat should not exceed 10 per cent to 15 per cent of total calorie intake.

Fat is made use of not only during cooking (visible source), but is also present within the food we eat, in seeds, nuts and pulses. Fifteen to 20gm of visible fat (oil/ghee) is recommended per person per day.

  • 1gm of oil or ghee provides 9 calories
  • 1 teaspoon of ghee, butter or oil roughly translates into 45 calories.
  • These days, food manufacturers are churning out more and more low-fat and fat-free products. However, in our attempt to stay healthy, we might be depriving ourselves of some beneficial fats as well. Good quality fats are necessary for the skin, nerves and cells.

[edit] Is Ghee Healthy?

[edit] Fat Facts

First, let us understand a few fat facts.

  • Fats can be sorted into two major categories: Saturated and unsaturated.
  • Saturated fats can further be divided into long-chain fatty acids and short-chain fatty acids.
  • Long-chain fatty acids (most animal fats) cannot be completely metabolised by the body and can lead to cancer and blood clots.
  • Short-chain fatty acids, on the other hand, are assimilated and metabolised so that they release energy.
  • Unsaturated fats can be further categorised into two kinds: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
  • Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are healthy, while polyunsaturated fats are not. The latter become oxidized and create free radicals, which damage the cells of the body.

[edit] Ghee- Mostly Monounsaturated Fats

In the case of ghee, most of its saturated fats are short-chain fatty acids and that renders it easily digestible. It also contains up to 27 per cent monounsaturated fatty acids and only 4 per cent to 5 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Since our body needs both saturated and unsaturated fats, this combination is close to ideal.

Ghee's rate of absorption is 96 per cent, the highest of all oils and fats.

[edit] The Ghee Debate

There are two schools of thought on ghee’s health benefits.

  • Ayurveda and the case for Ghee

According to India’s ancient school of medicine, Ayurveda, ghee is said to have curative and rejuvenative effects. It is used to aid digestion, help eliminate toxins, and prevent blistering and scarring from burns, besides being full of nutritive qualities.

Ayurveda considers it a Rasayana, a rejuvenating and longevity-promoting food. Ghee is also believed to improve absorption and assimilation of nutrients. It nourishes the body’s tissues, strengthens the brain and nervous system, and improves memory. It lubricates connective tissues and makes the body flexible. The coagulated lactose and other milk solids are removed in the process of making it, rendering it suitable for lactose intolerant people.

  • The BMJ and the case against Ghee

The other school of thought maintains that ghee is not good for health and believes that, in the body, it will act the same as regular butter in stimulating cholesterol formation. While practitioners of Ayurveda maintain that the harmful elements of butter are removed in the preparation of ghee, Indians do have high rates of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

Studies in South Asia and England have implicated ghee in the rising rates of coronary heart disease among Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. A study published in the July 24, 1999, issue of the British Medical Journal found that South Asians living in England were more susceptible to coronary heart disease than Europeans, despite apparently fewer risk factors. Of course, the use of ghee in cooking isn’t solely responsible for increased rates of heart disease among South Asians in England and their home countries, but it clearly is a factor that researchers have singled out.

[edit] Reference and Useful Websites