What in the world is Ghee?

Dosa (rice pancake) with a cup of ghee (clarified butter) at Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore. (Wikimedia)

What in the world is ghee? Perhaps, you’ve heard about it in passing but never took the time to find out. Well, just sit back and  let MCCN give you a few facts on the subject.  Ghee is a form of clarified butter originally from South Asia used in Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Pakistani cuisines. It is made by simmering unsalted butter in a cooking vessel until all the water has boiled off, the milk solids (milk proteins) have settled to the bottom, and a froth has floated on top.

The foamy and watery froth is then removed and the clarified butter is spooned out as not to disturb the milk solids that have settled on the bottom. Chefs often use the clarified butter because it does not burn down. Refrigeration is not required as long as as it is kept in an air tight container. It must be kept dry…so even dipping a wet spoon in ghee can cause oxidation.

What foods are cooked with ghee? Well, it is a staple in the Indian culture when cooking rice and biryani dishes. Naan and roti are also brushed with ghee, and  the clarified butter is also used in making many desserts. If you think that South Asia has a lock on ghee, you are mistaken. Other countries which use their own form of ghee include Egypt, which has a very similar process; Ethiopia, also uses a similar process except spices are added during the process that result in a distinctive taste, and Brazil uses an unrefrigerated butter very similar to ghee  called manteiga-de-garrafa (butter-in-a-bottle) or manteiga-da-terra (butter of the land). Morocco has a very unique process in making their clarified butter, aging spiced ghee in the ground for months or even years, resulting in a product called smen.

Ghee is very high in Vitamin A and Vitamin D content. It can be supportive for eye and bone health and helps the absorption of not only vitamins and minerals but also phytonutrients. The downside to ghee is it  contains a approximately 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, so moderation is the key when using as ingredient or using directly on your food.

The Benefits of Ghee

1.  Ghee stimulates the digestion (Agni) better than any other oil.

2.  Ghee has a high smoking point and is excellent for frying unlike vegetable oils

3.  Ghee increases the medicinal properties of spices when spices are sautéed in ghee

4.  Ghee is said to be more alkaline than other oils and resulting in a smoother skin tone and makes one look younger

5. One needs less ghee (half or two-thirds) as compared to oil to achieve the same goals.

6  Ghee balances both Vata (the Ayurvedic mind/body operator that controls movement in mind and body) and Pitta (the operator that controls heat and metabolism).

7.  Like aloe, ghee is said to prevent blisters and scarring if applied quickly to affected skin.

8. A high concentration of butyric acid, a fatty acid that contains anti-viral properties, is believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

Information obtained from: Wikipedia, Associated Content and Indian Foods Co.

King Tut Exhibit & FRANK Restaurants


King Tut

King Tut exhibit is currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto.  Visitor have the opportunity to see the famous exhibit then eat like an Egyptian at FRANK at the museum for delicious Egyptian Food until April 18.

The Menu:

Egyptian cuisine on the menu includes  medjool dates, figs, pomegranates, pomegranate molasses, oranges and lamb on all the menus.

Star.com got a chance to interview Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich. “More than serving traditional dishes, or being true to ancient Egyptian cuisine or even modern Egyptian cuisine, it’s about evoking the flavours of that part of the world,” explains Yarymowich. “(King Tut) being royalty and whatnot, abundance and an exotic feel will be part of the experience.”

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs runs until April 18, so there’s lots of room for creative dabbling. Yarymowich will change the prix fixe menu at Frank daily (lunch is $36, dinner $56), remaining mindful of the restaurant’s focus on local, seasonal and organic fare.

One thing that will get regular play is a dry nut and spice mixture called dukkah. Egyptians dip fresh bread into olive oil and then into dukkah. They also sprinkle it on salads and veggies, or rub it on meats.

About FRANK Restaurant:

In Addition to the Toronto location, FRANK has locations in New York, Austin, New Jersey, Salt Lake City and Shanghai.

FRANK, the new AGO restaurant, is a distinct Frank Gehry-designed space. Its casual, chic décor includes modern Danish furnishings and a contemporary installation of Frank Stella’s work. Executive chef Anne Yarymowich collaborates with chef de cuisine Martha Wright to create contemporary comfort cuisine: food that is warm and inviting,

This Year’s Schedule for the The King Tut Exhibit:

San Francisco: Now until March at DE YOUNG Museum

New York:  Late April

Denver: July 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011

For more information & Ticket info visit: http://www.kingtut.org/home

Food History: Egyptian Cuisine

(From Wikepedia)

Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, Kushari, rice-stuffed pigeon, Mulukhiyya with rabbit, and Feteer Meshaltet, while sharing similarities with food found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean like rice-stuffed vegetables or grape leaves, Shawerma, Kebab, Falafel, Baba Ghannoug, and Baqlawa. Bread forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. Bread is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals; a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, glutenous pita bread called Eish Masri or Eish Baladi (Egyptian Arabic: عيش ʿēš) rather than the Standard Arabic خبز khubz. The word “Eish” comes from the verb “ʿāš, yuiʿīš” meaning “to live” indicating the centrality of bread to Egyptian life. In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread، dating back to a Nasser-era policy; as of 2008[update], however, a major food crisis has caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none; the occasional fight has broken out over bread, leading to fear of bread riots.[1] The bread subsidies are also viewed by political observers as a means by the government of mitigating opposition by the lower-classes to an authoritarian domestic political system.

Some Egyptians consider Kushari, a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni, to be the national dish. Ful Medames (mashed fava beans) is also popular and is used in making Ta’meyya (also known as Falafel), which Egyptians consider to be superior to elsewhere in the Middle East where chickpeas is the major ingredient of this dish, although chickpeas have been grown by Egyptians for thousands of years.


Kushari served at an Egyptian restaurant in Cairo.

Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onion in their everyday dishes. Fresh mashed garlic with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and is also stuffed in boiled or baked aubergines (eggplant). Garlic fried with coriander is added to Mulukhiyya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or (preferably) rabbit. Fried onions can be added to Kushari

For more information, visit Wikepedia.

Per Request here is the Kushari Recipe: http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/recipes/item/329-kushari-recipe.html