Butter that has been slowly melted, thereby separating the milk solids (which sink to the bottom of the pan) from the golden liquid on the surface. This form of clarified butter is taken a step further by simmering it until all of the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramellike flavor and aroma. This extra step also gives ghee a longer life and much higher smoke point than regular clarified butter. Because the smoke point is raised to almost 375°F, ghee is practical for a variety of sautéing and frying uses. Although it originated in India, the best commercially available ghee comes from Holland, followed closely by products from Scandinavia and Australia. It's quite expensive, but can be purchased in Middle Eastern, Indian and some gourmet markets. Whereas ghee was once made only with butter derived from water buffalo milk, today it can be made with any unsalted butter. Making it at home is not a difficult task, and flavored ghees are created by simply adding ingredients such as ginger, peppercorns or cumin at the beginning of the clarifying process. Tightly wrapped ghee can be refrigerated for up to 6 months and frozen up to a year.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.