If you’re familiar with Indian cooking practises, then the term “ghee” is probably one you’ve heard a thousand times before. If you’re not, however, then you’re probably keen to learn a little more about the substance, which we assume is what has led you to this blog post.
Either way, the influence ghee has had on Indian and Pakistani cooking should not be underestimated, and it likely plays a key role in your favourite South Asian dishes. However, despite its obvious health and cooking benefits, its high fat content has a lot of people questioning whether we should eat ghee or not.
Of course, this is a crying shame, because ghee is widely considered to be one of the world’s genuine superfoods, and it’s significantly healthier than standard butter and all the other cooking oils out there.
Let’s start with the basics. Ghee is a form of clarified butter, which is incredibly popular in Indian, Pakistani and most other types of South Asian cooking. What makes it different from other forms of clarified butter, however, is the fact it’s fried longer to coax out its signature flavours. When you combine this with the various nutritional benefits of ghee, using it in cooking really is a no-brainer.
As we said above, ghee is incredibly popular throughout most forms of South Asian cooking. So, the most likely method of consuming it in the UK is by sitting down at an Indian or Pakistani restaurant, where it will have been used to fry meats and sauté vegetables. In fact, sometimes you’ll find ghee sprinkled on top of naan and other breads, as well as plain rice dishes. However it’s eaten, its nutty flavour is always unmistakeable.
Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins which provide you with all kinds of important health benefits. For example, it’s incredibly high in vitamin K2, which is known to improve bone strength and help maintain a healthy heart. Vitamin A is believed to improve the immune system and provide healthier skin, while E is a vital anti-oxidant.
In short, when it’s eaten in moderation, ghee is incredibly good for your health, despite its high fat content.
The digestive benefits of ghee are down to its high butyric acid levels. This fatty acid is known to improve colon health, protect intestinal lining and work as an anti-inflammatory. In addition, ghee has been known to be a fantastic aid to people suffering from Crohn’s disease and IBS, while people without any stomach issues will also see an improvement in their digestive systems.
Although ghee provides all manner of health benefits, its popularity should probably be attributed to the fact it’s just so much easier to cook with than other oils. It has a much higher smoke point than olive oil and regular butter, meaning you’re able to cook with it at much higher temperatures and ultimately improve your cooking technique.
Yes, ghee obviously contains butter, so lactose-intolerant diners might have their doubts over trying to consume any. However, 99% of the lactose is removed through ghee’s simmering and straining process, filtering out the milk solids and ultimately making it suitable for diners with an intolerance to dairy.
Of course, your ability to consume ghee will depend entirely on the severity of your allergy and symptoms, so always check with a doctor before you dive straight into a cheeky tikka masala!
Quite simply, there’d be very little point in trying to cook with ghee if it didn’t taste nice. Fortunately, ghee provides a wonderfully nutty flavour whenever it’s used in cooking, which is one of the main reasons so many people prefer it to butter and regular cooking oils. We all know that South Asian cuisine is packed with distinctive flavours, and ghee plays a big role in helping to create them.
If you want to try ghee for yourself, then why not pay a visit to the best Indian restaurant London has to offer? Ghee is a key component of many Royal Nawaab dishes and, since we’re a buffet restaurant, you get to eat as many as you like!