The clarified butter is shelf-stable and can handle high temperatures without scalding or smoking.

An age-old ingredient living a second life as a buzzy diet food – typical.

What Is It?

Lately, ghee is everywhere: promoted as a trendy way to add good fat to a Whole30, paleo or Bulletproof diet and billed as a healthier alternative to conventional butter for the average home cook. Created in ancient India, it was originally used in cultural ceremonies and traditional medicine but eventually made its way into the kitchen as well. The clarified cooking fat is made by melting regular butter, which separates into liquid fats and milk solids as it’s slowly heated. The milk solids are removed – meaning ghee has less lactose than butter – and the product is reduced to liquid gold. Its toasty quality gives it nutty and toffee-like aromas, and it’s as practical as it is indulgent. Without those milk solids, ghee can handle high temperatures without scalding or smoking – plus, it’s shelf-stable, so no need to refrigerate.

What Do I Do With It?

Like coconut oil, ghee’s health benefits and healing properties are vast, and it’s as at home in a salve or balm as it is in your skillet. Since we’re here for the food, grab a jar and start cooking. It’s obviously a shoo-in for Indian dishes, but ghee also works as a nutty curveball in baking projects such as quick breads, which typically call for an oil as the fat. Use it to scramble eggs, sauté vegetables and sear meat, or simply slather it on toast. Thanks to its rise to stardom, ghee is available at most local supermarkets as well as international markets.

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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