I never know what I’m going to find at the Slow Food Winter Farmers Markets held at Tre Piani (see post of January 23). At the one I recently attended, I found organic ghee. Ghee is the clarified butter used in Indian cooking. It’s pretty cheap in the Indian or Asian supermarkets, but of provenance unknown.
So it’s nice to find an organic alternative, produced by a company based in Princeton Junction (the ghee is made in New Jersey). Lala Khoobram Agarwal founded his ghee business in northern India in 1889, and was the great-great-grandfather of today’s owner of Pure Indian Foods. Their ghee has a delicious nutty flavor, because when you make ghee you cook the butter just a tad longer than regular clarified butter, in order to caramelize some of the sugars. And these cows are grassfed. Right now the ghee is available to order on the Pure Indian Foods website (or at the next two Winter Farmers Markets), but look for updated information about availability in local stores soon.
Ghee, like clarified butter, is handy because it has a high smokepoint and doesn’t burn easily. Clarified butter is a staple of restaurant kitchens, and takes a bit of patience to make, although it’s really pretty simple. So it’s handy to have ghee on hand if you’re going to do any frying in butter. It does not need to be refrigerated and has a long shelf life although I will refrigerate mine if I’m not using it up quickly. It cost $8 for a 7.5 ounce jar, which lasts me a while.
A lot of Indian cooks today cook with olive or other vegetable oils, but there just are some times when nothing but butter will do, so it’s nice to find Pure Indian Foods.