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Clarified Butter

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ghee; drawn butter

What is it?

Clarified butter is made by melting butter slowly to evaporate most of its water and separate the milk solids out from the yellow liquid. The liquid is then decanted, leaving the solids behind. The result: fat with the flavor of butter that can be heated to higher temperature without risk of burning, making it perfect for sautéing. Once cooled, clarified butter returns to a solid state.

Ghee is the Indian version; the milk solids in ghee are usually cooked longer to give the butter a more nutty flavor.

How to choose:

Clarified butter is generally something you make at home, and it’s easy to do. You can find ready-made ghee at Indian markets and through mail order.

How to prep:

To make clarified butter: Heat 1/2 pound (two sticks) of unsalted butter in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat. As the butter slowly melts, it will separate into a small amount of milky liquid at the bottom of the pan, a large quantity of clear liquid, and a bit of foamy white residue floating on the top. All you want is the clear liquid, which is the clarified butter. Spoon off the residue from the top and discard it. Without disturbing the white liquid (the milk solids) on the bottom, spoon or pour the clear liquid into another container. If you have time, you can refrigerate the melted butter until the clarified part is solid. The milk solids, contrary to their name, will remain liquid. Pry the solid clarified butter off and pour away the milky part.

How to store:

Because it contains no milk solids, clarified butter will last even longer than regular butter is stored airtight in the refrigerator.


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