Down my memory lane with Ghee

So, I have never told you that I was brought up by my maternal grandparents till I was 8 years old. I was fortunate to live in a small town with plenty of family around and in the midst of nature in my formative years. It is a simple life with no hustle bustle.I lived with my grand mom (Ammamma as we call in Telugu) and grandfather (Tathayya) with their brothers and sisters living in the neighborhood. It is a small town along the coast of AP with rich history like the origins of Kalamkari (Motifs handcrafted on clothes with ink)

My grandfather's twin brother who lived adjacent to our house had a passion for gardening. In a lot of ways, he influenced my grand parents to have a garden though not as elaborate as his. The house perimeter was lined with trees like Mango, Jasmine, Curry leaf, Roses, Geraniums and plenty of Marigolds. They also used to have non-flowering, multicolored leaf plants which they used to call them 'Crotons'. We more or less used the home produce to make pickles or flower garlands out of the home grown flowers. When I was very young, I remember a wooden gate to protect the trees from animals barging in. Yes, Buffaloes and Cows were our prime views in the mornings and in the evenings.People walked up and down the road leisurely with absolutely no vehicles but for Rickshaws which were manually peddled in the residential lanes.You could have spotted a small scooter, just might, but nothing more! People talked while leaning over the walls be it a request for some curry leaves or about the milk guy delivering watery milk. The Vegetable seller would hang 2 baskets filled with different vegetables, suspended with Strings on either side of a stick.For that matter, a woman who does the balancing act so gracefully that the basket of greens on top of her head never topples.She never failed to impress me. Life is predictable with not many surprises and even if there were, they were fairly mild. You would come across a temple every few hundred feet which most women visited in the mornings with a a handful of flowers and a coconut.I used to frequent the temples with my Ammamma over the weekends.

The evenings were occupied with my homework while sitting next to my Tathayya. I recall him lying on his old fashioned reclining cloth chair while he listened to a small transistor radio hugging his chin. With not many programs, his favorite used to be 'Aakasavani' (News back in the 80s), the sound and the voice of which still cross my mind. I never knew eating out and watching Television until I was 8 years old. It was all home made and home bound, which is very nice when I look back.

There were not many ready made products at the time and most of them were prepared in the houses including Ghee and Pickles. The Ghee was always made in the house with the freshly churned Cream using a wooden stirrer/whisker called 'Kavvam'. I remember vividly to this day that the ghee in my grand mom's house was brown in color with a distinct flavor and aroma. Typically, ghee is pale yellow to golden yellow in color. I like the darker brown hue to the ghee which takes a couple of more minutes to get but has such a pleasant fragrance to it.

All you need-
1lb Unsalted Butter
  • Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed vessel for 3 minutes on high heat
  • When the butter has melted completely, bring the heat to Medium and continue to boil
  • The boiling will clarify the butter and milk solids. You will see the foam appear on top and when you blow the foam gently, you can see the milk solids settling at the bottom of the pan.
  • Simmer for 7 minutes for light yellow color. When you dip the spoon into the butter, you will see light golden color
  • For brown color, simmer for 8 - 8.5 min; Keep an eye as it can get burnt smell very quickly if not taken care. A spoon when dipped will have a light brown color.
  • Place a cheesecloth or a thin cotton cloth like Indian bath towel (preferably), on top of a wide mouthed jar (for easier pouring)
  • Pour the Ghee into the jar
  • Let it cool down completely which can take up to half an hour
The mesh strainer will work well too but it may not strain all the impurities depending on the size of the holes in the strainer.
Based on the size of the Simmer ring, the time may vary. Therefore, keep checking for the color change. Smell is a good indicator as well. If you think it is aromatic enough, then you should stop.
When in doubt, reduce the time to 8 min instead of going over the specified time.


Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Oh what a lovely story about your childhood. Reminded me of my grandma's house...
Getting that brown color on that ghee without burning it is an art! lovely!

Priti said...

Lovely writeup and so the pics ....nothing beats homemade ghee

Tina said...

beautiful clicks nd post..

Spandana said...

Your memories brought back my memories at my grand-parents place, the cloth chair(padaka kurchi, as we call it) and the Aakasavani programs!!!!!

Nice pics !!!

Priya said...

Remind me of my grandma's home, freshly homemade ghee, wow love it.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Lovely memories! Ghee is a wonderful ingredient.



spicehunter said...

cool blog..nice read,keep it going..

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