For people and places named Ghee, see Ghee (disambiguation).
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Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in South Asia and is commonly used in South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Sri Lankan, and Pakistani) cuisine and ritual.
The word ghee comes from Sanskrit: घृत (ghṛta, IPA: ɡʱr̩t̪ə 'sprinkled') and has several names around the world ( Marathi/Konkani: तूप tūp, Bengali: ঘি ghi, Punjabi: ਘਿਓ ghio, Hindi: घी ghī, Gujarati: ઘી ghi, Maithili/Nepali: घ्यू ghyū, Urdu: گھی ghī, Oriya: ଘିଅ ghiô, Kannada: ತುಪ್ಪ tuppa, Malayalam: നെയ്യ് ney, Tamil: நெய் ney, Sinhala: Ela-ghitel or Ghitel, Telugu: నెయ్యి neyyi, Somali: subag, Arabic: سمنة samna, Persian: روغن حیوانی roghan-e heiwâni, Kurdish: ڕۊنِ دان řün-i Dan, Georgian: ერბო erbo, Indonesian: minyak samin, Malay: minyak sapi, Hausa: man shanu).
2 In Hinduism,
3 Culinary uses,
4 Clarified butter vs. ghee,
5 Traditional medicine,
7 Outside South Asia,
8 See also,
10 External links,
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is prepared by boiling butter and removing the residue. Spices can be added for flavor. Ghee has a long shelf-life and needs no refrigeration if kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. The texture, color and taste of ghee depends on the quality of the butter and the duration of the boiling.
Traditionally ghee is always made from cow's (considered sacred) milk Sanskrit: गोघृत go-ghṛta) and is a sacred requirement in Vedic yajña and homa (fire sacrifices), through the medium of Agni (fire) to offer oblations to various deities. (See Yajurveda).
Fire sacrifices have been performed dating back over 5,000 years. They are thought to be auspicious for ceremonies like marriage, funeral etc. Ghee is also necessary in Vedic worship of mūrtis (divine deities), with aarti (offering of ghee lamp) called diyā or dīpa (deep) and for Pañcāmṛta (Panchamruta) where ghee along with Mishri (Mishri is different from Sugar), honey, milk, and dahī (curd) is utilised for bathing the deities on the appearance day of Lord Krishna on Janmashtami, Śiva (Shiva) on Mahā-śivarātrī (Maha Shivaratri). There is a hymn to ghee.
Ghee is widely used in Indian cuisine. In many Indian states, including Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa, rice is traditionally prepared or served with ghee (including biryani). In Rajasthan, ghee is eaten with baati. All over north India, people dab roti with ghee. In Bengal (both West Bengal and Bangladesh) and Gujarat, ghee is served with kichdi, which is an evening meal (or dinner) of rice with lentils cooked in curry made from yogurt, cumin seeds, curry leaves, ghee, cornflour, turmeric, garlic, and salt. Ghee is also used to prepare kadhi and used in Indian sweets such as Mysore pak, and different varieties of halva and laddu. Punjabi cuisine prepared in restaurants uses large amounts of ghee. Naan and roti are sometimes brushed with ghee, either during preparation or while serving. Ghee is an important part of Punjabi cuisine and traditionally, the parathas, daals and curries in Punjab often use ghee instead of oil, to make it rich in taste. Different types of ghees are used in different types of cooking recipes, as for example, ghee made from cow's milk (Bengali: গাওয়া ঘী gaoa ghi) is traditionally served with rice or roti or just a generous sprinkle over the top of a curry or daal (lentils) but for cooking purposes, ghee made from buffalo's milk is used generally.
Ghee is ideal fat for deep frying because its smoke point (where its molecules begin to break down) is 250 °C (482 °F), which is well above typical cooking temperatures of around 200 °C (392 °F) and above that of most vegetable oils.
Clarified butter vs. ghee:
Ghee, although a type of clarified butter, differs slightly in its production. The process of creating traditional clarified butter is complete once the water is evaporated and the fat (clarified butter) is separated from the milk solids. However, the production of ghee includes simmering (see Sautéing) the butter along with the milk solids so that they caramelize, which makes it nutty-tasting and aromatic.
Ayurveda considers ghee to be sāttvik or sattva-guṇi (in the "mode of goodness"), when used as food. Ghee is the main ingredient in some of the ayurvedic medicines. Ghee is included under catuh mahā sneha (the four main oils: ghṛta, taila, vasā, and majjā) along with sesame oil, muscle fat, and bone marrow. Ghee is used preferentially for the diseases caused by Pitta Dosha. There are many Ayurvedic formulations containing ghee, for example, Brāhmi ghṛta, Indukānta ghṛta, Phala ghṛta, etc. Though there are 8 types of ghee mentioned in Ayurvedic classics, ghee made of human breast milk and cow's ghee are claimed to be excellent among them. Further, cow's ghee has medhya (intellect promoting) and rasāyana (vitalizing) properties. Ghee is also used in Ayurvedas for constipation and ulcers.
In Sri Lankan indigenous medical traditions (Deshīya Cikitsā), ghee is included in pas tel (five oils: ghee, margosa oil, sesame oil, castor oil, and butter tree oil).
Ghee (clarified butter)
Nutritional value per serving
469 kJ (112 kcal)
1 mg (0%)
Percentages are roughly approximated,
using US recommendations for adults.,
Like any clarified butter, ghee is composed almost entirely of fat; the nutrition facts label found on bottled cow's ghee produced in the United States indicates 8 mg of cholesterol per teaspoon.
Indian restaurants and some households may use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (also known as vanaspati, dalda, or "vegetable ghee") in place of ghee because of its lower cost. This vegetable ghee may contain trans fat. Trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease. The term shuddh ghee, however, is not used in many regions as partially hydrogenated oils are marketed as pure ghee in some areas. In India, the sale of fake ghee is stopped by law enforcement agencies whenever a complaint is made. Ghee is also sometimes called desi (country-made) ghee or asli (genuine) ghee to distinguish it from vegetable ghee.
Outside South Asia:
Several communities outside South Asia make ghee. Egyptians make a product called samna baladi (سمنة بلدى IPA: ˈsæmnæ ˈbælædi, meaning "local ghee"; i.e., Egyptian ghee) identical to ghee in terms of process and result. In Ethiopia, niter kibbeh (Amharic: ንጥር ቅቤ niṭer ḳibē) is made and used in much the same way as ghee, but with spices added during the process that result in a distinctive taste. Moroccans (especially those of the Amazigh ethnic group, known to Westerners as "Berbers") take this one step further, aging spiced ghee for months or even years, resulting in a product called smen (Oedie in the Amazigh language). In northeastern Brazil, an unrefrigerated butter very similar to ghee, called manteiga-de-garrafa (butter-in-a-bottle) or manteiga-da-terra (butter of the land), is common. It is also widely used in Europe. For example, Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally fried in a version of ghee called Butterschmalz. In France, it is called beurre noisette due to its nutty flavor, and used in making some pastries. Among pastoralist communities in East Africa, such as the Nandi, Tugen, and Maasai communities, ghee and flocculated byproducts (kamaek) from ghee-making were traditionally used as cooking oil. In Japan, ghee was mentioned in the Nirvana Sutra, and inspired the creation of Daigo, created from so, a milk skin cheese.
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