Using ghee is common in many cuisines, including Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern. However, ghee isn’t widely available these days, and it can be hard to know what to use in its place.
Still, it is always better to know what other ingredients to have handy just in case you happen to need them.
What Is Ghee?
Ghee is nothing more than clarified butter, which means that it goes through a simmering process to remove all the water. By cooking it over low heat, the milk solids in ghee can turn a bit brown and caramelize, resulting in a nutty flavor.
Ghee is also shelf-stable and has a very high smoke point, making it very useful in cooking and baking.
Since the milk and water are removed, leaving clarified butter only, the result doesn’t contain any casein and lactose. Ghee is also high in omega-3 and short-chain fatty acids, which promote healthy digestion.
This ingredient is common in curries, sauces, stews, and sauteed vegetables.
Because ghee contains no milk products, it is healthy for those with lactose intolerance. However, since a lot of butter only renders a little ghee due to the evaporation of liquids, this product can be expensive at times.
What Can I Replace Ghee With?
If you can’t make or buy this product, then these ghee substitutes will certainly help you out when preparing many dishes:
For Cooking, Gulab Jamun, and Curry
#1. Clarified Butter
Since ghee is a type of clarified butter, this option makes sense and you can make it at home. Remember to cook it for a while to get that nutty and spicy flavor. You can use one pound of butter to turn into clarified butter, but store it in an airtight container and inside the refrigerator.
You surely have butter at home already, but if you don’t, simply go to the grocery or convenience store. Use clarified butter when cooking Gulab Jamun, curries, stews, and more. For a nuttier flavor, add a dash of olive oil when you prepare the butter.
While this option still contains dairy and water, it is a good second option if you don’t have ghee. Use the same amount of butter, but keep in mind that butter is creamier and sweeter. You can add butter when you saute vegetables and when cooking Gulab Jamun, curries, or soups.
As you already know, butter is everywhere—in grocery or convenience stores. For a closer flavor, add a teaspoon or less of olive oil for a nutty aftertaste and browner color.
See More: Butter Substitutes
#3. Olive Oil
Since olive oil has a nutty and slightly bitter flavor, it can work great in place of ghee. This option is also very healthy, as it contains many monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 and -6. You can use about one tablespoon of olive oil for every ½ tablespoon of ghee.
Add olive oil when you want to prepare curries, soups, sauces, Gulab Jamun, or meat dishes. Keep in mind that for olive oil to withstand high temperatures, it has to be the normal type and not the extra virgin one.
See More: Olive Shelf Life
For Baking, Desserts, and Soups
#4. Avocado Oil
While this option may seem out of place, the truth is, avocado oil is a great substitution for ghee.
The flavor of this oil is a bit nutty and bitter, just like ghee, so adding it to your baking recipes, sauces, and soups makes sense. Also, this option is very healthy and can provide you with omegas and essential fatty acids.
You can buy avocado oil in most health and organic stores, though your local grocery store may also have it. Use about half of what the recipe indicates, as you may overpower the flavors a bit too much.
#5. Coconut Oil
This is the best choice if you can’t use butter when you plan on baking. Coconut oil has a rich flavor and can provide richness to your baked goods and desserts. You can also add coconut oil to any of your savory dishes, like soups and sauces.
Finding coconut oil is not a problem anymore, as this option has become very popular lately. Use the same amount as you would ghee, but consider that it will have a slight coconut flavor.
Coconut oil can also withstand very high temperatures safely, so you can use it pretty much in any cooking method.
See More: Coconut Oil Alternatives
#6. Canola Oil
Canola oil is a very popular fat lately, particularly because it is relatively healthy and has a neutral flavor. This oil is perfect for baking, sauteing, grilling, and stir-frying. Use canola oil when you bake bread, make desserts, cook soups, stews, and more.
You can use one tablespoon of canola oil for every ½ tablespoon of ghee, but consider adjusting the rest of the liquids in the dish. Finding canola oil isn’t hard. You can certainly try your local grocery or convenience store.
See More: Canola Oil Replacements
Olive oil remains the healthier fat to use when cooking, but ghee isn’t too bad. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids as well as omegas. Ghee does contain more saturated fats, but not as many as butter, and it can withstand very high temperatures.
Ghee is still fat and using it in excess can raise your blood cholesterol levels as well as make you gain weight. You should consume ghee, just like other oils and fats, in moderation. However, a bit of ghee now and then won’t do much harm.
Coconut oil contains more saturated fats than ghee, so the latter is a healthier choice. Ghee can help your gastrointestinal tract and gives you a good amount of omega-3. Both are high in saturated fat, though, so make sure you eat them in moderation.
Not everyone knows or uses ghee, but this ingredient is delicious and essential in some recipes. However, finding ghee can be hard or expensive, so using an alternative may be best. Try any of these 6 substitutes for great flavors in your favorite dishes.
See more: Lard Substitutes
Image by depositphotos.com/MAnuta