Help me Ghee
April 16, 2019 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Am I doing something wrong while cooking with ghee?

I bought a huge tub of ghee from Costco. It's been sitting next to the stove for several weeks, and I've realized that's not good. I'm thinking of storing it in the fridge. I scrambled eggs with it and the smell was overwhelming to me. It felt so greasy and it stuck in the air for hours. I cooked with ghee before and don't remember the unbearable greasiness. Has the ghee gone bad or is it poor quality? I'm thinking of returning it. Since ghee has a high smoke spoint, I didn't "burn" it, right?

I used it with jasmine rise and it turned out fine. I'm thinking of returning it because I don't want to cook with it if it gives off that greasy odor. But I really want a neutral oil to cook with. Last night I pan-fried cod in regular butter and I didn't get a greasy smell.

So am I doing something wrong or is the ghee bad quality or off or am I just not used to ghee?
posted by jj's.mama to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Others will chime in who disagree, I’m sure, but I’ve never gotten used to the smell or taste of ghee. You could try another brand or try making it yourself and see if you still dislike the scent/taste. For me, I haven’t liked any brand I’ve tried. I use a 50/50 coconut oil/ghee blend. I use avocado oil when I need something with a higher smoke point.
posted by pecanpies at 8:40 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Ghee can go rancid. It can be stored unopened in a cool, dark pantry for a long while, but once opened, it's only good on the countertop for a few weeks. I recommend keeping it in the fridge once opened. (But I live in the circles of hell, and even with the AC on, it's rarely cooler than 80F in the house.)

Ghee is (for all intents and purposes) clarified butter with an extra cooking step, so butter with the milk solids removed, but it's still butter. Rancid ghee will smell a lot like rancid butter, and without being there, it sounds to me like it's probably gone rancid.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:02 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

We cooked a lot with ghee when I was a child and sometimes I found the smell unbearable. It can develop a pretty greasy smell and it's not exactly neutral - a lot of people just really like the smell and taste. But over time I've discovered that there's ghee and ghee. Some ghee smells I just love. For example if you feel like doing a rather expensive experiment, I can't get enough of this ghee. Even if you don't go for that ghee (it is kind of atrociously priced) I would experiment a bit - it's most likely just the brand that you don't like.
posted by peacheater at 9:08 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I haven't liked the taste of any of the commercial ghees I've tried, so we make our own. It's easy – butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low, low heat for a long time – and there's the advantage of being able to control how brown it gets (we like it a bit toastier than most commercial ones).
posted by Lexica at 10:28 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Is it the Nanak's Pure Desi Ghee brand? I did a little looking online and you werent the only person who reported not being into it. (21% of the amazon reviews are 1 star and at least some of them arent racist/ignorant)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:29 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

I think ghee smells sort of sweet. I keep mine in the fridge... If you don't like the smell take advantage of Costco return policy. Try a smaller tub from a grocery store - that way you can try different brands if you're really sensitive.
Peanut oil? Avocado oil? Might need to try those as plans c,d,etc...
posted by PistachioRoux at 11:10 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is the Nanak's Pure Desi ghee. The first time I opened it, it was fine. I left it by the stove for a few weeks after opening and that's when it went bad. But it also sounds like it's just not good quality. I used Trader Joe's brand before that comes in a small bottle and stored it in the fridge. I will try to return the ghee since it's from Costco and buy a better quality one in small batches.
posted by jj's.mama at 11:40 AM on April 16

Oh I've tried that one! Didn't like it either.
posted by peacheater at 11:54 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

My guess is that that ghee is not entirely clarified - there are still some milk solids floating around which are going a bit rancid once it's open for a bit. Really good ghee, like the one I linked above, is a poor golden consistent color throughout and has a uniform consistency throughout.
posted by peacheater at 12:00 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

You might also consider, per Lexica above, simply making your own. It's not difficult and you'll get a higher quality product that you control. I always have a jug of clarified butter in the refrigerator.
posted by slkinsey at 12:51 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

If you are buying this from Costco; I would suggest getting their big-tub-of-butter (the 5 pound block) and making your own. If you have an Instant Pot; there are a bunch of recipes online where people have had good results making their own. I like the Instant Pot idea because it provides for good temperature control which will make sure you are not burning the settled milk solids (which are mostly protein).

Although technically, Ghee is clarified Butter so it almost 100 percent Fat and therefore less prone to getting rancid; it does have some unsaturated fats; therefore can oxidize and get rancid. I usually store mine in the refrigerator. Personally, I buy the Amul brand from Desi Grocery stores as it is a mixture of Cow and Buffalo milk and it tastes better for me. I grew up in South India and have always preferred Buffalo Milk to Cow Milk; for some reason.
posted by indianbadger1 at 2:19 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

You can also slow cook butter in a crock pot. It is a lot of ghee. I always keep my ghee in the refrigerator. I overcooked once and ended up with a lot of beurre noisette. It turned out OK.
posted by jadepearl at 3:33 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

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