For those of us who have grown up with Indian kitchens have special olfactory memories associated with the aroma of ghee, or clarified butter, filling the home once a month or so. Ayurveda recommends the inclusion of this ancient elixir in daily diet because of its vast healing and nourishing qualities. Adding a golden dollop of ghee to daily diet can improve memory and digestion, pacify the air (Vata) and fire (Pitta) elements, and cleanse the gastrointestinal tract. A richer and healthier substitute for butter and oil, ghee can almost entirely replace oil and butter in cooking.
Balancing and Cleansing
According to Ayurveda, the body has seven body tissues (sapta dhatu). These are: muscles, plasma, bone, bone marrow, fat, and blood. Ideally, all seven tissues should be balanced and interconnected for the body to function seamlessly. Prescribed along with other medicines, the catalysing quality of ghee goes a long way towards balancing these vital body tissues.
The cleansing property of ghee drains toxins out of the body by enabling smoother elimination and better digestion. This restorative power is attributed to butyrate fatty acid, which reduces intestinal inflammation by rebuilding intestinal walls. Ayurvedic physicians prescribe ghee for a wide variety of health conditions and concerns, and may suggest consumption along with medicinal herbs to accelerate the absorption of nutrients.
The best way to ensure your kitchen is always equipped with ghee is to ask a family member or your closest Indian friend to tell you how it was made in their home. But if you don’t have someone like that around you, we are here for you! Ghee is made from regular, unsalted butter and can be stored for up to three months on the shelf, and up to a year when refrigerated.
- Place slices or cubes of unsalted butter in a pan or pot on low heat
- Allow the butter to melt till you see a slow simmer. You will notice three layers starting to separate
- If foam forms on the top, skim it off with a spoon. You may need to do this a few times during the process.
- Continue cooking on low heat for a maximum of 30 minutes, until the middle layer starts to appear translucent, and the aroma of ghee starts to appear
- Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a while
- Pour into a glass jar and watch as the ghee turns light yellow and opaque as it cools
Using Ghee in Everyday Life
Replace your cooking oil with ghee, spread it over toast or Indian breads, sizzle your doshas with drops around the edge, sauté vegetables in it, or drop a dollop of ghee into any dish of your liking to restore balance into your life. If you enjoy the unique flavour of ghee more than most, even starting your day with a teaspoon of ghee on its own can boost your body’s healing capacity over a period of time.