Ghee, the Indian version of clarified butter, is a rich, golden oil with a nutty flavor. Like clarified butter, ghee has a higher smoking point than butter, which makes it great for sautéing. But unlike clarified butter, which has a neutral flavor, ghee (pronounced with a hard G) adds its own delicious, slightly caramelized flavor to foods. (The flavor comes from toasting the milk solids before they’re removed from the butter.) You can make ghee yourself, but a delicious commercial version available from The Baker’s Catalogue (www.kingarthurflour.com or 800-827-6836) means you don’t have to. A 13-ounce jar costs $10.95.
I use this ghee when sautéing vegetables and making omelets—I especially like using it to cook mushrooms, which want a high heat that whole butter can’t cope with. I also love to mix ghee into steamed basmati rice. It makes a tender, flaky dough for the Indian turnovers called samosas, and I imagine it would work well in other baked goods.
Ghee is easiest to scoop out of the jar at room temperature and will keep that way for two months. It keeps longer in the fridge, but it will harden and you’ll need to scrape it to use it.