Is this the year of ghee?
It’s a new year, which means new ingredients to be experimented with! Although ghee is a very old cooking ingredient, traditionally seen in Indian and Asian cuisines, it is creating quite some noise with 2018 nutritional fads. I first became familiar with ghee through one of my favorite Instagram foodie accounts. This account not only cooked with ghee, supported the nutritional benefits of ghee, but also made ghee at home. Now, I love to cook and experiment but this process sounded far too complicated for me. However, I was eager to dive into the benefits behind this product and share my opinions with fellow health geeks.
So, what is ghee? According to an article released in the January edition of Chicago Tribune, ghee is a type of clarified butter made by heating butter, skimming off the milk solids, and leaving the water to evaporate. What remains is a rich, golden butter fat that is nutritious, easily digestible, and flavorsome. The taste of ghee is richer and nuttier than butter, and it has a deep yellow color . Ghee is lactose and casein-free. The popularity of this ingredient and the optional use for the lactose-intolerant crowds made me intrigued. With each new ingredient or product, I like to do some research regarding the item, experiment in the kitchen with it, and then share my findings with everyone else! Jump into my 5-question thought process as I play around with my new friend, ghee.
- What is it? As mentioned previously, ghee is a type of clarified butter. It can be made by heating regular butter, skimming off the milk solids that form, and leaving the water to evaporate. When making ghee, you want to simmer the butter to create that nutty aromatic and flavor.
- Is it a carbohydrate, protein, or fat? It is 100% a fat – basically, a stripped down butter. It is primarily saturated fat (62%), but does contain monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol, and trans-fat. Additionally, ghee provides some vitamin A, E, and K.
- What benefits will it provide me with? Like many fats, ghee will provide you with a source of energy. Per 1 tablespoon, ghee provides 112 calories. It also has a high smoke point (450 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes it desirable for high temperature cooking techniques i.e. stovetop and oven.
- What should I be careful when using this item/ingredient? Like most things, ghee should be eaten in moderation. It is primarily a saturated fat that is high in calories. It is recommended that saturated fats make up <10% of our daily dietary intakes, so be mindful when using this ingredient. Luckily, the flavor is strong and you will not need much when using it.
- Will I recommend this to others? Yes, I would recommend ghee especially for those who are lactose and casein-free. Plus, it does not need refrigeration and is non-perishable!
Fun ways to try ghee:
- Use as a butter substitute for baking
- Toss with steamed vegetables to bring out a nuttier flavor
- Add to coffee (for those who enjoy the bulletproof coffee in the mornings)
- Add a small amount to your whole wheat toast
- Use as a substitute for coconut oil
As always, use good judgement when using this ingredient. Happy New Year!
 Lobel, N. (2018, January 09). Ghee will be the superfood ingredient of 2018, and we are here for it. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/sns-dailymeal-1865805-eat-ghee-will-be-superfood-ingredient-2018-and-we-are-here-it-20180108-story.html
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