Butter is delicious–we all can agree. But when you take this humble food and heat it slowly, you elevate it to something almost divine.
Not only does this new creation taste great, but by changing it, you actually make it better for you.
Brown Butter Ghee
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
Yield: 2-2 1/2 cups
I must confess that this post was going to be exclusively about ghee, a popular staple used in India, and in South Asian cuisine.
For a few years now I have been making what I thought was ghee–and loving every tasty dollop.
But upon further research, I discovered I had been actually making brown butter (with a twist of my own).
There are three ‘butters’ you can make with butter.
- Clarified Butter: melted butter that has the foam that floats to the top removed, then is taken off the heat immediately. No milk solids are allowed to brown.
- Ghee: similar to clarified butter, except more time is required for the milk solids to collect and sink to the bottom of the pan. Watched carefully, these are allowed to brown, then strained out, giving the butter a light, golden color and a mild, nutty flavor.
- And lastly, brown butter (or what the French so eloquently call ‘Beurre Noisette’ or hazelnut butter), which requires even more time to darken those lovely milk solids to caramelized heaven. Traditionally, these dark brown bits are whisked in and retained in the butter. But in my ignorance (or genius?), I strained out the deeply browned (okay, most were actually black) solids and made something that turned out to be the best of both worlds: Brown Butter Ghee.
Here’s why I started making ghee in the first place:
- Ghee is rich in medium chain fatty acids, the same high-energy properties found in coconut oil. It also contains butyric acid, a short chained fatty acid, great for the immune system, as well as, digestion.
- Ghee is high in vitamins A and E, and, because the milk solids, water, and impurities have been removed, ghee is excellent for those with dairy allergies.
- Ghee has a high-smoke point, making it ideal for cooking and frying, as it does not break down into damaging free radicals like other oils do.
- Ghee does not require refrigeration and has a shelf life of up to 9 months! This is especially helpful if you live an RV lifestyle or have limited space in your fridge.
Did I mention that ghee tastes great?
But, oh my, Brown Butter Ghee is beyond the ordinary ghee with a richly caramelized nutty aroma that you’ll find yourself spreading on so much more than mere toast. (Believe me.)
Begin by heating four sticks of unsalted butter over medium heat in a preferably light-colored* saucepan pan, such as stainless-steel or ceramic-lined, that way you can see the milk solids darken, and can better tell when they are done.
While the butter is melting, gather a couple of glass jars, a spatula, funnel, and a strainer*.
For close to fifteen minutes, the butter will sputter, pop, and sizzle, and you will notice lots of bubbles forming.
But shortly thereafter, the sound changes and becomes quieter (as the water has evaporated), and the bubbling stops, changing into creamy white foam.
Now turn the burner to simmer and watch carefully.
(It doesn’t take long between the time the foam first appears to when the brown butter is complete. Maybe two to three minutes max).
With a rubber spatula, move aside the foam and you’ll see milk solids starting to darken. Begin spooning off this foam into a small bowl, until most of it is removed. (If you have no dairy allergies, you can use this foamy deliciousness later to your heart’s content.)
Once the milk solids are a deep brown, remove from heat, and pour the amber liquid into your prepared jars. Spoon off any remaining foam.
Don’t worry if the milk solids you’ve collected are mostly black–the end result will still taste great. I never had any problem with a burnt, bitter, or unpleasant taste. The blackened milk solids only seemed to heighten the caramelized flavor.
After the jars are cool enough (be aware–they will stay hot for quite some time), store one in your freezer and one in your cupboard, if you’d like. Once cooled, Brown Butter Ghee solidifies nicely for spreading. (Yea! No more cold butter smashing your toast.)
Brown Butter Ghee is delicious atop any steamed vegetable, such as green beans, broccoli, corn-on-the-cob, or cauliflower (my favorite), mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Even meats, like steak or fish, will be enhanced by a warm drizzling of this butter.
Or try a little with brown sugar on your morning oatmeal–yum.
There is a whole array of scrumptious desserts that will sing with the addition of this butter. (I plan to feature several of these in the future.)
*If you don’t have :
- a light-colored saucepan, use what you have, but pay attention. Once the sizzling becomes quieter, and the creamy foam appears, the butter is almost done. Shine a small flashlight or tilt the pan often to check the color of the solids.
- a strainer, use a piece of cheesecloth or try a coffee filter with multiple holes poked through it.
I hope you love Brown Butter Ghee as much as I do. Let me know how it turns out and if you have any questions.
See you next time for another Red Apron Recipe.
(If you missed the previous ones, you can find a list on my Red Apron Recipes page.)
I thank God for the opportunity to share my favorite family recipes with you.
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The post “Brown Butter Ghee” was first published on Desert Rain.