Ghee has officially made a comeback. You see it being recommended by nutritionists and dietitians and lately it has made its way into coffee as well. Ghee, as it is known in the South Asian Subcontinent, is clarified butter, which simply means that butter is boiled to separate the liquid fat from the milk solids. The milk solids sink to the bottom and the liquid fat can be strained and stored in a cool dry place for later use.
Growing up, I remember it being the fat of choice for my grandfather’s famous Semolina Cake and the generous dollop used to moisten the stack of rotis (The Pakistani version of the tortilla) made by our cook. But that was as far as ghee usage went. By the time I was born, the Pakistani consumer had already been introduced to the cheaper, more cost effective vegetable ghee or vanaspati in every day cooking and ghee was saved only for special dishes like the korma or sautéing nuts for desserts like Sheer Khurma.
Then came the liquid oils and advertising campaigns centered on promoting vegetable oils as “heart healthy” and ghee as the bad guy with artery clogging properties. Soon oils like sunflower, corn and vegetable became the norm in most homes.
What we didn’t know however, was that these liquid oils are extremely damaging to our health.
Well, oils or fats that are unsaturated (corn, canola, olive oil and most liquid oils) by their very nature have a low smoke point and are fragile and unstable so when we fry or cook with one on high heat, we break the fat down and release free radicals into our food. These free radicals once eaten, can create inflammation in our bodies and inflammation leads to disease. In fact, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a pioneer in wellness medicine, it may affect every aspect of our health.
We must also keep in mind that oils like Corn and Canola are highly refined and processed. Canola oil is made using the rapeseed plant which has been genetically modified to make it edible. Today 90% of the world’s Canola crop is genetically engineered .
Fortunately, after years of believing this lie, people are waking up and ghee is once again considered to be a superfood, sitting right alongside kale, the date and coconut oil. There are many studies to back up the fact that there is no link between consumption of saturated fats and cardiovascular disease. Read more here, here and here .
Many wellness gurus such as Lee Holmes of Supercharged Foods recommend its use to help heal ones gut. It seals the mucous lining of the digestive tract that gets porous due to our modern lifestyle full of processed foods and high stress levels.
good to know about ghee
It is loaded with vitamins A,e and D;
it is high in omega 3 fatty acids in addition to conjugated linoleic acid
WHICH IN TURN :
protects against cardio vascular disease
boosts the immune system
boosts energy level
aids in maintaining heart health
helps to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract
prevents macular degeneration and development of cataracts
So, the next time you cook dinner, do consider using ghee. It can be used in place of pretty much any oil and has a high smoking point (above 400 degrees) making it a great medium for frying sautéing and even baking!
One thing to keep in mind when buying ghee though, to derive all the health benefits one must make sure it is from 100% grass fed cows. And lactose intolerant friends rejoice! Due to the absence of milk solids, ghee can be enjoyed by you too!
Have you tried cooking with ghee? Share your experience below!