Ghee, the indispensable flavor-packed condiment of the South Indian cuisine, is a class of clarified butter that originated from the Indian subcontinent. Contrary to the discovery of butter, ghee was a well thought out invention to overcome the lack of refrigeration in the olden times. Butter quickly becomes rancid at room temperature whereas ghee is shelf stable and thereby facilitates portability.
If you've ever enjoyed an authentic South Indian meal, then you've probably eaten ghee without even realizing. Ghee has a rich, nutty, strong buttery taste and is used to flavor and fattening foods that would normally require the use of oils.
The term ghee is derived from Sanskrit word 'ghrita' ( the root word 'ghr' means to brighten up / shine ) into Hindi 'ghi' and phonetically 'ghee'. It is known as 'Nei' in Tamil. 'Nei' refers to any semisolid or liquid fat.
Ghee is essentially Indian clarified butter made from rich butter that is heated over a period of time separating the milk solids to produce a golden and clear fat. It is considered more flavorful than animal fats, regular butter, or frying oils when used for cooking. It is a delicious ingredient to work with, a beautifully fragrant fat infused with the flavors of the browned milk solids trapped in butter
Ghee is revered beyond its culinary uses; the yellow substance is considered sacred. It is widely used in religious rituals and traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ghee even serves as lamp fuel, especially during the Diwali Festival.
Ghee Benefits & Nutrition:
- According to Ayurveda, Ghee is rejuvenating and is considered a natural ailment for balancing the heat in the body.
- It is one of the easily digestible fats.
- It is important for our immunity as it helps in absorbing fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin D, A, E & K.
- Used in moderation, ghee is reported to help memory functions, ulcers, burn wounds, and even to slow cancer and certain diseases.
Ghee is partnered with almost every South Indian meal because it reduces the glycaemic index of these meals. "Serve it hot with a spoonful of ghee” is how many Indian recipes conclude, conjuring up that familiar flavor and aroma.
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1. Desi Ghee