What is ghee made from and why is it not vegan?

Channel Four cooking show Sunday Brunch was forced to issue an apology after accidentally serving vegan guest Jon Richardson dahl which contained ghee.

Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s typically made from cow’s milk – meaning that it’s not vegan.

It’s a traditional Indian ingredient that’s found in many curries, and when it’s produced in this manner it is typically not vegan – which is why it’s often wise to ask about ghee even if you’re ordering a vegetarian dish in an Indian restaurant.

How is ghee made?

Ghee is made by simmering butter really slowly to remove any milk solids and water.

You’re left with a solid product that has a rich nutty, almost caramel flavour.

It’s actually heated for longer than other types of clarified butter – which is what contributes to this deeper, more distinctive flavour.

The removal of the milk solids means that ghee is suitable for people who avoid foods with lactose and casein. But, again, not vegan.

How to make ghee at home

Simply use regular unsalted butter.

Melt the butter slowly and skim off the solids when they gather on the surface.

Heat the butter until all the milk solids have sunk to the bottom and the liquid is clear.

Cook the liquid for a few more minutes until the milk solids at the bottom turn brown. The cooked milk solids give the ghee its flavor and color.

Then sieve the liquid into a jar and let it cool and turn solid.

How can you use ghee?

Ghee higher burning point than standard clarified butter, which makes it perfect for frying or sautéing foods – but you can use it in the same way that you’d use butter or most types of oil.

Use in baking in place of normal butter or oils, or use it as a spread, or mashed into potatoes or smothered on warm vegetables.

Basically, anything you do with butter, you can do with ghee.

How healthy is ghee?

The nutritional value of ghee is similar to that of butter – so it’s healthy enough in small amounts, but you don’t want to drink the stuff.

Ghee contains almost 50% saturated fat, so too much of it can put you at risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.

Ghee contains butyrate acid, which is a fatty acid that plays an essential role in digestive health. It may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

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