Indian Clarified Butter



Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1Β½ cups

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

Ghee is made differently from European clarified butter. Rather than being slow-melted and skimmed, butter for ghee is simmered until it clarifies. Any impurities and milk solids adhere to the bottom of the pot. It becomes slightly golden brown, and acquires a light nutty flavor. Pure butter ghee is also known as β€œusli ghee,” and if you do not want to make it yourself, you can certainly buy some at Indian markets labeled as such.

Ghee is actually so prized in the Indian culture that it is used in ceremonial lamps as fuel, given to Brahmin (highest caste) newborn babies and children daily by the spoonful to promote intelligence, and of course, used in cooking, such as to roast spices for the topping of the coconut chutney.


  • 1 lb. (454 g.) Unsalted butter


  1. Heat butter in 2 to 4 qt. (2 to 4 L.) saucepan over medium-low flame until melted.
  2. Cook at a gentle simmer until the watery liquid at the bottom boils off, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the simmering butter, as it has a tendency to boil over. The milk solids should stick to the bottom and begin to brown.
  3. Strain through fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container.