As a young girl, I wasn’t brought up eating a whole lot of hot, steaming, parathas, chapattis, dosas, or vadas for breakfast. As is the case in most Indian households even today. Being Goan, it was more like hard, and soft pao or bread, from one of the three bakeries that surrounded our home in Bandra. This bread was topped with either butter, jam, or eaten with an egg. Anything else was a treat for festivals or special occasions.
On weekends we had plenty of time to play and it was usually when mom prepped meals for the entire week. She worked long hours and would spend most of her Saturday mornings doing so after dad was back from the market. On one such Saturday, as I opened the front door to our home, all sweaty, dirty, and hungry, I was hit with what I then considered the funkiest smell on earth. The smell of butter being clarified. Mum would heat it till the water evaporated and milk solids separated, to form liquid gold otherwise known as Ghee.
Making Ghee was a process. It involved mum patiently collecting the ‘malai’ or thick cream that surfaced to the top after she boiled the milk. Every few days, I would watch her tuck away that cream into a little glass container and place it in the freezer. When she had collected enough, she would go on to make some butter, that was then clarified to make homemade ghee. It sat proudly on her kitchen counter. No refrigeration is required. Improving with age just as long as one didn’t use a wet spoon or let any moisture get into it.
Ghee has been know to be preserved in some cases for many years. Ayurveda uses ghee aged over a hundred years mixed with herbs to treat various conditions and in the past people passed it onto the next generation.
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