Clarified butter, known in Hindi as “ghee”, will be our foundation, the base from which all the coming Indian delights will spring. Especially when we temper spices in the ghee when its hot and make “chonk”, it’s almost like magic is being performed. Flavor magic.
What does it mean to clarify butter? We’re going to separate and remove the milk solids from regular butter, leaving behind pure golden butter fat that preserves longer, and can handle sauteing at high temperatures.
You could file this luxurious dairy recipe under the nomad section, but the Persians carried it with them into civilized life, and called it Kaymak. Pure, heavy cream is cooked low and slow overnight to separate the milk fat. The resulting product is like a cousin to butter, only creamier and a deeper, toastier flavor from the oven.
The technique takes some time, but is ridiculously simple and easy. Clotted cream is most famously put on Biscuits, scones, and bread but why stop there? Use this spreadable, dairy delight in anything you butter on or in! Continue reading “Kaymak (Clotted Cream)”
-1 pint heavy cream -1/2 teaspoon salt -Quart sized sealable jar
Pour cream into jar, not more than halfway full, and seal. Shake vigorously for 10-15 minutes (or whip in a stand mixer) until the fat separates and butter is former. Remove butter, pressing out excess buttermilk and rinsing with ice water. Fold in salt, form into shape, and serve immediately (or later if you can stand the wait)
Next week, Episode 2 of the Anthrochef podcast, Gardeners of the Neolithic, will be released. To learn more about the first villagers and settlers who planted the seeds of modern civilization, you will have to tune in on October 9.
But what I can tell you for now is that this is the era where we see the birth of domestic farm animals, and the beginning of human’s love affair with dairy. Lactose tolerance is one of very few ways we are NOT identical to ancient humans. Like most animals, humans used to drink breast milk as babies, then lost the ability to digest dairy as they get older.
But as people began putting pens around wild goats and cattle, and the first herding societies took off around 10,000 years ago, that all began to change. Genes mutated, human evolution continued, and soon enough, many Neolithic people could drink milk into adulthood, and things would never be the same.
Soon enough, we will be taking on fermented milk (yogurt) and cheese, but today we’re going to keep things more basic, with a simple recipe for milk-fat, aka butter!
Butter is just the solid fat of milk separated out. It was very useful to ancient people because it could be stored long term, a great way to extend the life of very perishable milk. All you need to make it is a jar with a lid, ten minutes, and some muscles.