Same technique, but Ghee simmered longer to bring out butter’s inherent nutty flavor!
Clarified butter is made by melting butter and allowing the ingredients to separate by density. The milk solids and water are separated from the butter fat. As the butter melts and simmers the water evaporates, milk solids sink to the bottom and the butter fat (the part you want) and whey protein rises to the top. You can then very carefully skim off the whey protein and pour the butter fat into a jar and store in the fridge for future use.
When looking for clarified butter you might also see the word ghee. The word ghee originated in India and is commonly used in Iran, Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Sri Lankan cuisine. In some traditions they simmer the mixture for a bit longer which browns the milk solids giving the finished product a more nutty flavor. Most of the time the process of making ghee is no different than clarifying butter, so ghee is mostly just another word for clarified butter.
Why cook with clarified butter?
The primary reason for clarifying butter is to increase its smoke point meaning that it can be used at higher temperatures without burning. The smoke point of clarified butter is 485 °F or 252 °C as opposed to regular butter which has a smoke point of 325-375 °F or 163-190 °C. This is useful when the food you are cooking will benefit from the flavor of butter as opposed to plain old cooking oil. Some foods that benefit from cooking with clarified butter are omelets, fried potatoes and fish fillets. It is also preferred for making butter sauces like bearnaise and hollandaise, as well as making roux.
Lactose intolerant? Not a problem. Clarified butter is good for people who are lactose intolerant. The milk solids that do remain in butter are removed when the butter is clarified. There might be minute amounts of lactose in clarified butter but it is unlikely to be enough to have an effect on those who are lactose intolerant.
Clarified butter is a healthier butter alternative. Saturated fats commonly found in butter products should be consumed in moderation, but clarified butter has been linked to decreased cholesterol levels in lab trials. Other butter products, such as margarine, are hydrogenated and have been shown to contribute to increased cholesterol levels, which is a leading cause in heart disease. Clarified butter has also been shown to reduce inflammation and also contains carotids and vitamins A and E. These antioxidants fight free radicals and promote skin cell growth, good vision and immune system health, as well as reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.