The secret of ghee in fact is not a secret at all – it is a purified butter, the homeland is South Asia and it is typical of the traditional ayurvedic cuisine at these lands. Indian religion considers the butter ghee as sacred and healing food: it is believed that except physically it helps in self-awareness, develops the memory and intellect, cleanses the skin and makes the voice smooth.
They often call ghee a super butter not surprisingly – except for fats, it contains about 2% protein, 18% water and several salt residues. In the process of melting the butter, white particles are typically deposited on the bottom of the vessels, which are actually the milk proteins.
Exactly they easily burn even at low temperature and look and smell unpleasant as a result. In ghee, these proteins, as well as the water from the butter, are removed and as a result pure milk fat is obtained. The latter has all milk’s healthy properties, extremely long durability and remarkable taste.
The butter ghee gained popularity at our lands in the recent years with the increased interest to healthy nutrition and ayurvedic cuisine in particular. Boxes of the butter ghee with its typical golden-amber color, sweet aroma and delicious taste are already present on the shelves in the healthy grocery stores.
Using the same technology, as for the butter from the distant Asian continent, traditionally exactly the same product is made here. Its technology is completely identical as the Indian: frying on medium to low heat for about 45 minutes and periodical removal of the foam. The butter should not be salty. In this process the water content gradually evaporates (which guarantees extended durability of the product), and the milk protein precipitates at the bottom and its light burning gives unique sweet taste. Due to the removal of the milk proteins the butter ghee may be consumed by people allergic to lactose. Although it is saturated fat, the molecular structure of this unusual butter differs from that of the other animal fat – it is composed of fatty acids with short chain, which in simple terms means that it is very easily absorbed by the organism. Ghee is also one of the few unrefined fats, suitable for cooking at very high temperatures, including deep frying. Its point of smoking (the temperature at which the molecules start to decompose) is 250oC which is significantly above the midpoint of smoking for most fats, which is about 200oC. In comparison, the temperature for butter is 177oC.
Although the preparation of purified cow’s butter has been popular at our lands, still sacredness hasn’t ever been given to it, such as to the butter ghee in India where it is used in religious rituals and different health therapies. The homemade refined butter is used for cooking in the Bulgarian cuisine, and when added to paste baking products it gives them unique taste. The butter ghee is suitable for both sweet and salty dishes. It is a certain proof that healthy food can be very tasty as well.