Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat. Typically, it is produced by melting butter and allowing the components to separate by density. The water evaporates, some solids float to the surface and are skimmed off, and the remainder of the milk solids (casein) sink to the bottom and are left behind when the butterfat (which would then be on top) is poured off or separated with a separatory funnel or a gravy fat separator. This butterfat is the clarified butter.
Clarified Butter (Ghee)
Ghee, which is also known as clarified butter, is a great alternative to cooking oil. Homemade ghee is fragrant and is used in countless cuisines including Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, along with Holland, Australia, and Scandinavia. Regardless of how it’s used, ghee adds an incomparable richness to any dish.
Clarified butter is basically pure butterfat – no milk solids, no water, just pure butterfat. Ghee is the Indian name for clarified butter; it is also pure butterfat. Unlike clarified butter – cooked to the point where the water evaporates (yes, butter contains water!) and the milk solids separate. Where, ghee is cooked until the milk solids begin to caramelize, a wee bit longer than clarified butter to draw out ghee’s nutty flavor. So, the main differences are smoking point, dairy sensitivity and shelf life (refrigerated and room temperature) – ghee lasts longer.
Ghee doesn’t burn like regular butter because all of the flammable milk solids have been removed. It has a delicious rich, creamy taste. “We call it liquid gold,” says Meeru Dhalwala, owner of Shanik restaurant in Seattle and co-owner of Vij’s and Rangoli in Vancouver.
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