As an Indian, I've grown up consuming ghee. I remember my mom drizzling this golden liquid over countless homemade dishes. Sometimes, she rubs it on hot chapatis and serves them with curry. It's believed that ghee makes us healthy, so mothers and grandmothers cook food mostly in ghee. Ghee is primarily used in Indian kitchens, but now it's becoming more popular in rest of the world thanks to its many health benefits. Some of my international friends make a blank face when I say "ghee," but don't worry if you're still unaware of this divine butter. What is ghee? Let me explain.

What Is Ghee? 

Ghee is generally called clarified butter because it’s made by melting butter and skimming the solid particles suspended in the butterfat off of the top. It's the golden liquid that's left after you've simmered out most of the water. It has high smoke point and gives a nutty, rich flavor to any dish. 

Ghee originated on the Indian subcontinent. According to Bon Appetit, ghee originated roughly 1,000 years ago in India. The country's warm climate needed something that was more shelf-stable than butter. Ghee was the perfect solution, as it can be stored at room temperature for months.

Ghee and Hinduism

For years, ghee has been used for cooking and religious ceremonies in Ayurveda. Supposedly, Prajapati, who's the Lord of Creatures in Hindu mythology, rubbed his hands together and created ghee. Then he poured ghee into a fire and created his children. Ghee is used in fire sacrifices for ceremonies like marriages, funerals, etc. The ancient seers saw ghee as a substance holding sattvic, or pure energy. Sattvic foods also support physical strength, a strong and pure mind, good health, and longevity.

Health Benefits of Ghee

Ghee is good for sautéing, frying foods, coating rice before it's cooked, and searing meat. Ghee should be used in moderation, as it's high in calories and fat. One of the many benefits of ghee is that it's a good moisturizer. It can be rubbed on hands, feet, and on scalp before going for sleep. It's also gentle on the digestive tract, as the fat in ghee helps your body digest protein more easily. 

Ghee is also supposed to be good for treating burns. Once, my mom applied ghee when my hands got burnt with hot tea. It's also used to treat swelling in different parts of the body, all you have to do is apply it in affected areas.

#SpoonTip: There's no scientific evidence that butter is good for burns or inflammation, so use at your own risk. 

Is Ghee Better Than Butter?

Ghee is 99% fat, while butter contains milk solids and water, too. Ghee is better than butter for cooking at high temperatures as it has higher smoke point.

Ghee is also a smart option for anyone who's lactose-intolerant.  Butter has a minimal amount of lactose, but enough to irritate those with a sever intolerance. However, ghee contains little to no lactose and is unlikely affect those who are lactose intolerant.

Although ghee is better than butter in many aspects, my love of butter is forever. Now that you know about ghee, you can make this golden liquid part of your cooking. Coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are going to envy ghee for its richness.