Every culture has it’s special cuisine, the different herbs being used, different vegetables and different oils.
Yet when you compare ingredients from different cultures, you’ll find that certain foods are used in every cuisine, albeit in a different manner.
Cabbage can be found in Korea in the form of Kimchi, in Europe in the form of sauerkraut and in the middle east in the form of marinated cabbage. All those societies have figured that the cabbage has nutritional benefits and combining it with spices produces a healthy dish.
Same with cooking oils and butters. For generation European’s used animal fat for cooking. They called it shmaltz and was the ingredient that added the distinctive taste to the dishes. Lard is used in other cultures, made of animal fat, and butter was used in Europe, made of cow’s milk.
With modern science and the progress of research, the butter was declared the culprit to all things bad in the cardiovascular system. So people turned to margarine, made of vegetable oils.
Later, the margarine was declared unhealthy. It’s not so much the animal fat the produces the problems, the thinking went, it is the hydrogenated oils that cause the problems. Today we settled on olive oils being the healthiest and their price went up accordingly.
But now the west is discovering the ghee, which has been used in Indian cuisine for generations.
Why Does Ghee Have Health Benefits?
Ghee is made from milk that has been churned into butter. The process of making ghee separates the water, oil and solids in the butter. The water is allowed to evaporate, the milk solids sink to the bottom and the clear yellow oil between them is the ghee.
Ghee is composed of saturated fat, but unlike the other saturated fats has a short chain fatty acids. This makes it easy to digest and it absorbs vitamins. It coats the stomach without irritating it. That is the reason why ghee has been used as stomach medication as well.
- Ghee contains fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.
- Ghee does not contain lactose anymore because the lactose sugar is broken down during clarification. That is the only animal based product that lactose intolerant people can use.
- Ghee helps absorb the vitamins from other foods it is added to, and helps absorb them in the body.
- The smoking point of ghee is very high, more than regular vegetable oils , olive oil or butter.
- Ghee does not go rancid when heated like some other oils do.
- It is the ultimate survival food because it will keep unrefrigerated for a long time.
Ghee has approximately 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, but it has no other additives or chemical to extend it’s shelf life. Ghee is considered one of the best oils for baking, sauteing and drizzling over vegetables.
In ancient Indian medicine, called Ayurveda, ghee has been used to treat many ailments. It says that ghee is a vital food for healthy skin, clear mind and good digestion. It contains conjugated linolenic acid with is said to help in weigh loss, especially mid section, stubborn fat. Some use ghee as a supplement, taking 2 teaspoons a day as an immune booster.