Any cook worth their salt has used clarified butter and maybe ghee. If you haven’t used the latter, time to get with it. Everybody’s doing it, for good reason!
Here’s the deal: Clarified butter is an oft-used staple in many restaurant and home kitchens. Indian clarified butter, or ghee, is becoming popular in the same kitchens. It fulfills the role of clarified butter in cooking, but adds a more caramelized flavor to any dish while clearing out space in their sacred cold storage due to its shelf stable nature.
Like clarified butter, ghee has a much higher smoke point (around 450-degrees) than most other vegetable cooking oils, is a kitchen essential in many parts of the world and is quickly becoming one here, and is difficult and time-consuming to make. That said, ghee and clarified butter are not the same. Here’s why.
3 Differences Between Ghee And Clarified Butter
1. All ghee is considered clarified butter, but not all clarified butters are considered ghee. Milk solids are removed from clarified butter before they brown; in ghee, they’re allowed to caramelize, giving it a fragrant, nutty flavor.
2. Clarified butter is cooked longer, but the caramelization of the milk solids gives ghee a more golden color.
3. Ghee can be kept unrefrigerated due to its shelf stable nature if maintained in a clean dry environment; clarified butter must be kept refrigerated.
So, the question is: how does a person know when to use ghee and when to use clarified butter? This is an easy one! It depends on the flavor you’re looking to impart to the dish you’re preparing. Another benefit of ghee: a longer shelf life.
We love them both and we haven’t even talked about brown butter...yet! But, we will, because cooking is life and life is more flavorful thanks to clarified butter, ghee and brown butter. Simple as that. Let's consider this issue...clarified.