Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to make Ghee/ Clarified butter/ Beurre noisette/ Brown Butter - Basics

With navrathri getting over, following closely is Diwali! Diwali can mean only one thing SWEETS! To make sweets we need a very key ingredient.... Ghee. Ghee is a staple in every Indian household's pantry. We use it on a daily basis to do tadkas for dishes, use it to make sweets, use a nice dollop on hot  rotis / rice or eat by the spoonful! And off late brown butter seems to be the latest trend in the baking world. So let us go on to make some ghee and  recipes that use ghee will follow ...

  Ingredients & Tools needed:

Butter - 1 Lb,Unsalted,  use the best butter  you can get your hands on
A tall heavy bottomed sauce pan - nonstick works for me
A stainless steel tea filter - I tried using plastic once and it resulted in disaster
A clean glass jar


  • Chop the butter in 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces of butter in the pan you will be using to make the ghee in. Set over the counter top till the butter comes to room temperature. 
  • Keep the glass jar with the stainless steel tea filter over its mouth
That chotu container was added to my collection thanks to M's grandma!!

  • Once the butter has come to room temperature set over the stove and keep on low-medium heat, uncovered.
  • The butter will melt and once all the butter has melted you will notice a white bubbling foam with a crackling sound. Don't worry this only means that the butter is boiling/ Cooking. Basically what is happening is that the water in the butter is getting expelled. Do not stir it with a spatula

  • You will notice that gradually the intensity of the crackling comes down.

I've moved some of the foam to show you the color of the ghee  at this stage.

  •  The white foam  slowly will develop brown specs

  • Once the crackling stops be very careful. Turn the heat lower and just allow the ghee to be over heat for just less than a minute. There are different schools of thought on this. Some people like to take it off the heat as soon as the crackling stops. In my house my mom makes a slightly browned ghee, that is very aromatic and  flavorful. And that is pretty much the brown butter that is called for in recipes.
At this stage this is the color of the Ghee.
  • Remove of the heat and pour the boiling hot ghee over the stainless steel filter. Once a friend  and I made ghee at her house and she used the plastic variety for straining tea and like geniuses we pour the hot ghee over it and it just melted! what a waste of ghee and a perfectly good filter!!

  • The brown stuff is tasty but extremely unhealthy!  
  • Let the ghee cool down and then you can close it with a tight lid.Ghee has a long shelf life if you avoid contamination. I have a small container that I use to fill ghee as and when I need from the big bottle just to avoid any water going into it or some food particle accidentally falling into it while serving or cooking.

There is a very fine line between perfectly browned butter and burnt butter so from the start to the finish be around your ghee do not wander away trying to multitask! (I've learnt my lesson very well!!!!)


  1. The aroma that wafts when Ghee is made is intoxicating! I esp. used to love the kasandu (not too browned) mixed with rice flour and sugar! That's the only kind of sweet tooth I die for. Even now, at times, I go mix some rice flour, ghee and sugar -- aaah HEAVEN in every spoon and every tiny morsel melting in my mouth (and hips, thighs, backside and what not! sigh!)

    1. I sooo know what u mean!! Sadly the ghee in the US isnt as strong as the aavin butter ghee.... the closest comes from organic butter. Even today I eat sugar+ghee for idly!!!*suddenly felign very shy!*

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