Monday, December 5, 2011

Ghee (Clarified Spiced Butter)

Yield: 1 ½ cups
Unsalted butter consists of oil, solids and water. Clarifying butter evaporates the water and separates the oil from the solids. The butter oil will keep indefinitely, unrefrigerated, without turning rancid. Ghee may be substituted for oil to add richness and flavor. I was first introduced to clarified butter in Morocco. It tasted a bit rancid to me, but is a delicacy in this part of the world. I haven’t noticed the same rancid flavor in Eritrea, so I have either acquired the taste, or adding the spices masks the rancidness.

1 pound unsalted butter
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
¼ teaspoon dry basil
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon fenugreek
1/8 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric 3 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon coriander

1. Melt the butter in a pot over a low heat. Add the other ingredients and cook uncovered over an extremely low heat for 45 minutes. Check the pot occasionally, but do not stir.
2. Skim off and discard any froth or spices floating on the surface. Remove the garlic and ginger pieces and discard them.
3. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature for 30 minutes. The white butter-solids and the spices will fall to the bottom of the pot and collect as sediment.
4. Dip the clear, golden butter out of the pot with a ladle, leaving all of the sediment behind.
5. Pour the clarified butter through a clean piece of cotton cloth stretched over the mouth of a jar to remove any remaining spice particles.
6. Store the clarified butter in a jar in a cool place.

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