I read somewhere that a yogi’s diet should consist of the most sattvic of items, that is, those foods that contribute to the purity of the body, since a healthy body is the best support for an enlightened mind and spirit. These esteemed foods are almonds, honey, milk and ghee.
Ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’ like ‘girl’) is simply clarified butter – what you get when you melt butter, skim off the foam or milk sediment, and retain the clear liquid by pouring it off. Ghee is the word for ‘fat’ in Hindi and clarified butter is the pure butterfat. The point of making and using ghee is two-fold. Firstly, clarified butter has a much lower burning point than regular butter, which lends it well to, say, sautéeing fish or cooking omelets. Secondly, it stores much longer than butter, up to a month in refrigeration.
I’ve never seen an Indian chicken curry or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) recipe without ghee, although they will often give a substitute ingredient, and this is just the tip of the iceberg – most of your favorite Indian recipes use it. You can really highlight the flavor of ghee by making something simple like ghee rice from Southern India.
I typically find it in 8-ounce jars or cans for around $6. A recipe will usually call for four tablespoons, so you’re getting three or four dishes per jar. I am lucky that I live in the Borough of Queens in NYC and can pretty much find ghee in any large supermarket. But if you cannot where you live, I recommend Indiablend.com, where you can find a good variety of ghees plus a nifty stainless steel ghee pot for storage.
I’m going to go cook up some eggs using ghee right now.
Happy hunting . . . Anne