Clarified Butter Vs Ghee
By Dilshani Palugaswewa
Ceylon Today Features
There is a chance you have heard about both ghee and clarified butter and used them interchangeably at times – however, there is a slight difference between the two, and knowing what sets them apart from each other could possibly help you unlock a wonder of potential when you are in the kitchen.
Clarified butter which is derived from butter consists of three ingredients—butterfat, milk solids and water. It is essentially butter that is cooked down to separate the milk solids and water in the butterfat. To obtain translucent butterfat, you have to cook regular butter over low heat until the fat separates and the water is evaporated before straining it through a cheesecloth. Clarified butter has minimal traces of lactose, thus makes for an ideal choice for those who are lactose intolerant.
Ghee, synonymous with the Indian culinary culture, it is classified as a type of a clarified butter used in Indian and Southeastern cooking as the main source of fat. Apart from using it in dishes, ghee is a vital part of Indian medicinal rituals for its characteristics that help reduce inflammation and stomach issues.
Although ghee is made similarly to clarified butter, there are quite a few differences. Ghee is made with buffalo or cow’s milk, and is left cooking longer than clarified butter so that the milk solids would caramelise and increase its flavour while the moisture is removed. The final product is more golden in colour than clarified butter. The caramelisation is credited for the unique nutty flavour ghee gives out. Plus point, it is almost lactose-free.
Both clarified butter and ghee have long shelf lives because the water and milk solids have been extracted making it easy to store at room temperature in the form of semi-solids.
Both ghee and clarified butter have higher smoke points than regular butter, which means you can cook and fry with either. Butter is best suited for baking and low-heat cooking while ghee has about the same amount of calories and fat as clarified butter, but it’s high in omega-3s. Ghee isn’t the only type of clarified butter. Other types include Ethiopian spiced Niter kibbeh, which is clarified butter with spices, and fermented Smen used in North African cooking.