For That Extra Dose Of Ghee Try These 7 Classic Dishes

Ghee is clarified butterButter is simmered over a low heat until the milk solids separate from the fats, releasing a nutty smell that is typical of ghee. The milk solids are strained out, and one is left with the clarified ghee. Butter burns easily, but ghee does not, making it ideal for many dishes that need heat for an extended period of time or just need a high amount of heat. This is because its smoking point, around 252°C, is higher than butter's, around 177°C. 

When it comes to ghee, one might imagine sweets like the rich Motichoor Laddos, Ghevar, Mysore Pak, or even the savoury mutton Haleem. Ghee is an indispensable part of the Indian pantry. In addition to gracing the kitchen, it also has other non-traditional uses such as skin care, hair care, dental care, and perfume. But let’s focus on the delicacies that ghee enriches, some of which are cult classics of Indian cuisine:

1. Hyderabadi Haleem

Hyderabadi Haleem is known for being extremely spicy and dripping with ghee. Ghee helps enhance the flavours of the spices used in haleem and imparts a rich, creamy texture to the haleem. The ghee also helps the haleem stay moist even after refrigeration. Since haleem is a hearty dish meant to break the fast during Ramadan, using high-quality ghee provides extra nutrition and energy. The fat from ghee, along with the protein from meat, helps keep people full for longer. 

2. Ghee Roast Dosa

A hallmark of the south, the crispy Ghee Roast Dosa is a delicious affair, served like a standing cone on a plate, accompanied by its trusted sambar and coconut chutneys. Dosa’s origin is still contested, with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka staking claims to inventing this crispy deliciousness. Usually served plain, it is also served with a trademark aloo filling in some places. The exterior is crispy, and the interior is soft owing to the gee and the hours of fermentation of the batter consisting of urad daal and rice. 

3. Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast

Ghee is the hidden star of the Mangalorean Chicken ghee roast. The unique flavours of this dish come from cooking the chicken with a masala made from ground spices added to the ghee. The ghee helps roast the masala on a low heat until aromatic and also helps cook the chicken, infusing it with rich flavours from the spices. As the chicken cooks in the ghee-based masala, it absorbs the tangy and spicy flavours of both the ghee and the spicy masala, making this a truly delicious dry chicken curry dish unique to Mangalorean cuisine. 

4. Ghee Rice

It is the ultimate comfort food for many homes, and depending on the region, the preparations also vary. In West Bengal, plain ghee is added to steamed rice with a pinch of salt, and devoured with an accompaniment or two. Another style is from Kerala or the Malabar coast, where the cooked rice is either stir-fried with ghee and onion, or leftover rice is just added to ghee and cooked exactly like Indo-Chinese fried rice, but instead of meat and vegetables, nuts and dried fruits are added. 

5. Daal Fry

This type of daal dish typically uses ghee instead of oil to roast the spices. As mentioned earlier, the high smoke point of ghee helps it withstand high cooking temperatures without burning. This allows the spices to release their full flavours and aromas. Ghee also adds its own richness and flavourful depth to the dal. After the boiled daal and water is added to the roasted spices, a teaspoon or two, depending on the quantity of daal, is added as garnish to the dish. 

6. Moong Daal Halwa

Ghee is the essence of moong daal halwa, without it the rich flavour and aroma will be nonexistent. When the ghee is heated with the moong daal, it allows the daal to soften quickly and helps release its natural sugars. The ghee also brings out the best of other ingredients like milk, sugar, and cardamom that are used in the sweet. Like oil, it prevents the mixture from sticking to the pan and imparts a sweet, rich, creamy texture when cooked. A generous dollop of ghee is also added at the end as the final flourish.

7. Motichoor Ladoo

Ghee might not be the steadfast ingredient in this rich laddoo, but is does bring out the best in this ball-shaped sweet dish. The ghee in the motichoor laddoos helps bind the gram flour and sugar together into balls. Being clarified butter, ghee stays fresh for a long time without refrigeration. This allows motichoor laddoos made with ghee to stay fresh for weeks. Ghee also adds a rich, creamy flavour and aroma to the sweet treat. 

Whether used for cooking, skin care, or simply enjoyed on its own, ghee remains an integral part of Indian cuisine and culture. Its versatility and ability to bring out the best in both savoury and sweet dishes is why it deserves a prized place in every Indian pantry.