Pure homemade ghee or clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter, to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat. This type of fat, when made from good quality butter, has many health benefits and is recommended to cook with over health-harmful vegetable oils.
Clarified butter is very easy to make yourself at home- I have given an easy recipe below. It should last at least weeks if not months in the fridge, so its well worth the effort to make.
Ghee in Prophetic Sunnah
Suhaib (radiallaahu ‘anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Drink cow’s milk for indeed it is a cure, and its butterfat (ghee) is a remedy and its meat is disease”.
Related by Ibn as-Sunnee and Abu Nu’aym and declared Saheeh by Imaam al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) in Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer (no.4061).
Here, clarified butter (ghee, from grass-fed cows) has been described as both a cure (shifaa) and a remedy (dawaa).
Ghee contains mostly short-chain fatty acids. Around 20% of these are monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids making up just a few percent. This is what gives ghee its benefits for healing and tissue repair.
Short and medium chain fatty acids have been shown to:
- aid weight loss,
- stimulate metabolism,
- aid digestion,
- fortify the body’s immune processes,
- protect against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Clarified butter does not have the negative qualities of polyunsaturated vegetable oils that are highly oxidizable; this means that they turn into dangerous free radicals in the body and cause inflammation.
We strongly recommend that you avoid cooking (and frying) with polyunsaturated vegetable oils because they are very easily oxidizable, highly reactive and are pro-inflammatory. As a result, they contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and inflammation – the precursor of heart disease, and increase free radicals (oxidants) in the body.
Pure ghee (from milk butter fat) has a very high smoke point, and is made of stable saturated bonds, and thus is not as likely to form harmful free radicals during cooking, unlike the commercial vegetable based ghee and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
There is a type of commercial ghee called “Dalda Kyo” used mainly in Indian restaurants and Asian households (India, Pakistan etc.). This is actually vegetable ghee and is made with polyunsaturated vegetable oils, or partially hydrogenated monounsaturated fats (which are trans fats).
Unfortunately this is not the same as pure ghee, and it has many detrimental health effects: in short it shares the characteristics of pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fats, which when heated to high temperatures create free-radicals; the initial factors involved in atherosclerosis (blocked arteries) and heart disease.
Therefore this commercial ghee is NOT recommended because you will be subjecting yourself to the same dangers of pro-inflammatory vegetable oils. It’s best just to make it yourself from good quality (organic) butter. Just a half hour of your time is required to make a few months supply.
How To Make Ghee
Use the best quality butter you can afford- from grass-fed cows.
The recipe below uses 1 kg of butter, maybe make this much for your first attempt and you can increase the quantity as required next time.
- Place the butter in a large pan and on a low heat, slowly melt it.
- When the butter has melted, turn the heat up.
- The butter will start to form a foamy layer on the top- this is the water and milk solids separating.
- Next, add 1 tablespoon of whole-wheat (chapatti) flour for each kilo of butter used. This is to encourage the milk solids to clump together.
- Begin to stir the mixture slowly with a wooden spoon so that the flour is evenly distributed.
- The butter will begin to bubble furiously; turn the heat down slightly but make sure it is still bubbling. This will allow any water to evaporate.
- After 2-3 minutes, the milk solids will now start to fall to the bottom and the butter will turn a golden colour.
- Keep this mixture bubbling for anywhere between 10-30 minutes, until all of the milk solids have clumped together. If you wish to keep your ghee for a long time (more than 1 month), I advise that you heat it for up to half an hour.
- When most of the solids have fallen to the bottom (don’t worry if they don’t all sink, once the ghee cools, they will), allow the ghee to cool for 1-2 hours.
- The ghee can then be poured into containers. Use a sieve to stop any milk solids from getting into the ghee.
- Leave it out to cool at room temperature. The ghee should solidify when it cools. It can then be placed in the refrigerator.
Well done! You now have your own quality home-made real, pure ghee.
You can use this for all of your cooking- and ditch the vegetable oil!