What is Ghee and How to Use it?

Have you ever heard of Ghee? Now, it’s time you learn all about it!

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a type of fat that originated in ancient India but is now widely used in many parts of the world. It is especially popular in the culinary traditions of the Middle East and India.

Ghee is made from cow milk butter in low heat until the water evaporates, leaving behind milk solids. The solids are skimmed off or strained, and the remains are clear, golden liquid, aka ghee.

Ghee is traditionally used alongside herbal remedies in Ayurveda, an ancient form of alternative medicine in India. It has been adopted more widely as a healthier alternative to regular butter, and there is growing scientific support for its potential health benefits.

The nutritional composition of ghee can vary depending on factors such as the source of the butter (grass-fed vs. grain-fed), the processing method, and any additives, so it’s advisable to check the specific product’s nutrition label to make sure you get more precise information.
Ghee is a source of vitamins A, D, E, and K, particularly if it’s made from grass-fed cows, so it makes it a better alternative to butter and its by-products. It also contains healthy fats, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may have anti-inflammatory properties.

The Role of Ghee in Yoga Therapy

In the context of Ayurveda, it is believed that ghee can play a role in balancing Vata and Pitta doshas. Ayurveda identifies three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—which are fundamental energies or principles that govern mental and physiological functions in the body.

Vata Dosha is associated with the elements of air and ether and is responsible for movement, communication, and creativity. Imbalances in Vata can lead to conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and digestive nuisances.

Pitta Dosha is related to the elements of fire and water and is responsible for metabolism, digestion, and transformation. Imbalances in Pitta can manifest as inflammation, digestive disorders, and irritability.

Ghee is considered to have grounding and nourishing properties. Its smooth and buttery nature can help calm and stabilize Vata, which is prone to dryness, lightness and cold. Individuals with Vata imbalances can benefit from ghee’s nourishing quality.

On the other hand, as ghee is also believed to have a cooling effect, it can be beneficial for balancing excess Pitta since Pitta is associated with heat and conditions such as inflammation and excess acidity. Ghee is believed to help alleviate these symptoms.


Cooking Guidance for Ghee

Ghee has a high smoke point, typically around 232°C. This means it can withstand high cooking temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful compounds. This makes it ideal for frying, sautéing, and deep frying.

Ghee has a nutty, slightly caramelised flavor that adds richness to dishes. It can enhance the taste of both savory and sweet foods. Also, it has a long shelf life due to its low moisture content and removal of milk solids. When stored in a cool, dark place, it can last for several months without refrigeration.

Also, the clarification process of ghee removes nearly all the lactose and casein, making ghee suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies.

Sautéing: Ghee is excellent for sautéing vegetables, meat, or seafood due to its high smoke point and rich flavor. It adds a delightful taste to such dishes, enhancing their flavor.

Frying: Ghee can be used for deep frying and pan-frying because of its high smoke point. It imparts a pleasant flavor to fried meals.

Roasting: We can add ghee when roasting vegetables or meats in the oven, as it can add flavor and prevent them from sticking.

Baking: Ghee can be used in baking recipes that call for butter or oil, providing a characteristic flavor to baked foods.

Topping for Grains: Ghee can be drizzled over rice, grains, or pasta to add a rich, buttery flavor. It’s commonly used in Indian cuisine for this purpose.

Bulletproof Coffee: Some people use ghee as an ingredient in “bulletproof coffee,” or aka butter coffee, where it’s blended with coffee and MCT oil to create a creamy and satisfying coffee beverage.

Condiment: In some cultures, ghee is used as a condiment. It can be spread on bread, used as a dip for bread or vegetables, or added to soups and stews for a more rich flavor.

Ghee can be the ideal alternative to oil and butter, but it’s important to keep in mind that ghee is calorie-dense due to its fat content, so portion control is key for your calorie intake. Additionally, ghee is primarily saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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