Article by The OfSource Team
In recent years ghee has exploded in popularity – gaining super-food status in kitchens in countries as diverse as Brazil, Russia and Italy. Claiming its place as a favourite ingredient among the cream of the culinary crop in the west, ghee is used liberally by famous chefs and health industry professionals alike.
Ghee’s health benefits are often undervalued in modern India
Yet ironically, ghee is often ignored by middle Indian society – many of whom are reluctant to use this traditional store cupboard staple due to a misguided fear of fat. The multiple health benefits of the golden nutrient-packed Indian super-food are often overlooked in favour of low-fat, low-quality, over-processed cooking oils.
For a long time, many in India and abroad were sold on the concept of trans fats – artificial fats found in industrially produced products like margarine – once thought to be healthier. But it’s not the 1980s anymore, and with trans fats increasingly being linked to heart disease, more and more people recognise the nutritional benefits of wholesome, traditional foods like ghee.
Fats aren’t all bad, Ghee has multiple health benefits
We all know too much fat is bad for you, but did you know our bodies actually love small quantities of fat?Not only do they give us energy and keep us warm, fats nourish our nervous system and build nerve tissue, helping to counter stress & anxiety. Fats are a soothing balm for skin and a great lubricant for stiff joints.
Eating ghee is a simple way to incorporate healthier fats into our diet. Made by skimming impurities from the surface of simmering butter, the still, clear liquid fat is retained and the solid residue that settles at the bottom is discarded – making ghee a purer form of butter which can actually lower cholesterol levels when consumed regularly in small quantities. Check out Of Source’s recent video on making ghee at home.
If you would like to know more about superfoods in India, you should definitely buy Rujuta Diwekar’s book ‘Indian Superfoods: Change the Way You Eat’.
This is what makes ghee better than cooking oils
Whilst sunflower & olive oils can actually start to burn at around 160 degrees – adding potentially harmful charred particles to your food – ghee can withstand much higher temperatures and has a far higher smoke point. The golden super-food doesn’t even need to be stored in the fridge – just keep it cool in a dark cupboard.
The texture, colour, and taste of ghee depends on the quality of the butter used in the process and the duration of the boiling. Herbs, spices and salts can be added to ghee during preparation, creating endless possibilities for new and interesting flavours.
Ghee has a rich historical legacy in Ayurvedic medicine & wellness
Ghee has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine and even in religious ceremonies in India. Today in the search for natural healthcare, more and more westerners are turning to the wisdom of Ayurveda, embracing native Indian ingredients like ghee and haldi and incorporating them into their own diets.
Did you know that in Brazil – that huge country all the way on the other side of the world – they have even adopted indigenous Indian cows and revere traditional desi Ghee for its strength and nutritional value?
Yet many Indians still prize European cow ghee made from Jersey cows which is actually more prone to disease and delivers less nutrition that its Indian counterpart.
Movements like SaveIndianCows.org are working hard to save threatened breeds of Indian cows and promote the benefits of the traditional Indian cow; as consumers we can play a part and support this movement by only buying natural grass-fed ghee made from traditional desi cows.
Introduce new flavours into ghee: The possibilities are endless
Here are some of our favourite flavours to blend into delicious desi ghee – it’s best to add the infusions once the ghee has been taken off the stove and strained. Mix the infusion through and allow to cool.
- Smoked salt, garlic & rosemary – delicious smeared on toasted bread
- Honey – add to energy balls or blend into coffee to sweeten
- Haldi & cracked black pepper – haldi becomes bio-available in the fat of the ghee & black pepper assists its absorption in the body – so this is both a tasty and healthy combination! Black pepper is also an aromatic with many varieties ranging in flavour from floral to spicy.
The possibilities are endless!
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