Thursday, September 20, 2018

Instant Pot Ghee using Unsalted Butter

The Instant Pot and 20 minutes is ALL you need to get a bottle of Liquid Gold in your kitchen. Follow this method to make ghee at home! 




Have you tried making ghee at home? The liquid gold of the kitchen pantry that makes Indian food even better! If you have not tried it yet, here is a post to make sure you make it at home ALL THE TIME! 

Making ghee may sound like a daunting task if you start it from churning cream. That is the method my mother used years ago. Then it was simplified by using Unsalted butter off the rack and making it on stovetop. And now with the Instant Pot, it is SO SIMPLE.



I have been making ghee for the last few years. It takes a few minutes but I make it so that it lasts me a couple of months. Since I got the Instant Pot I started using that to make ghee and now it is so easy to make it. With no fear of burning it or not cooking it enough, this version is my favorite way.

An ingredient that is widely used in Indian cooking, ghee can easily be bought from any Indian store. However, it is really simple to make it at home. Plus, with a long shelf life, you can make a big bottle and consume it for DAYS. No need to refrigerate ghee as it is great at room temperature. Just make sure it is in a clean jar to avoid contamination.


What is the difference between Clarified Butter and Ghee?

When you heat unsalted butter, it starts to boil and turn transparent. The milk solids separate and this is the stage that clarified butter is obtained. 

Once clarified butter is obtained, it has to be boiled further till the milk solids turn brown and settle at the bottom of the pan. This gives out a nutty flavor and smell. That is the stage that you know that ghee has been made! 



Uses of Ghee

As I mentioned above, ghee finds uses in tempering various dals, rice, curries and more. Plus an important ingredient in many Indian sweets, ghee is rightly called liquid gold of the kitchen pantry. 

If you are looking for recipes to use ghee, try one of these: 


Variations

I have been making ghee with just unsalted butter since the time I started making it at home. However, my mom was here this summer and told me to add a pinch of salt to the ghee. It changes the texture from a smooth paste to granular ghee. I have been using that method now and there is no looking back. If you want, you can add salt or leave it out.

The unsalted butter from the store works well with the recipe. Use organic or grass fed or regular unsalted butter. The method remains the same for all kinds of butter. I use the Organic butter from Costco or Kerry Gold Butter. They work equally well for me. 

With all this information, it is time to check out the recipe of ghee using the Instant Pot. If you would like to try the stove-top version, find it here: Stove-top method to make Ghee



Ingredients


Unsalted Butter 1 lb (organic or regular)
Salt a pinch (optional)

Method

Thaw the butter for a couple of hours. This step is not mandatory, only to make ghee faster.

Set the Instant Pot mode to sauté, adjust to normal and set timer to 10 minutes. Add the unsalted butter and let it melt.



In about 5-6 minutes the butter will melt completely and start bubbling. The residue will settle at the bottom and the top will become clear slowly. 

Once the top is clear, shut off the Instant Pot. Add a pinch of salt (if using) and mix well. Though the pot is off, the heat is enough to make the residue turn dark brown and settle. So do not remove the insert yet. 



Let the ghee cool in the Instant Pot insert and transfer to a clean bottle through a fine mesh strainer. Cover and store at room temperature. The ghee can be refrigerated too (though not required).



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rava Modak | Semolina Modak

An easy to make recipe for Ganpati; this Rava Modak needs a few ingredients and comes together pretty easily. Filled with a sweet coconut filling, this is AMAZING, I promise! 


We have been celebrating Ganpati in full swing for the last few days. We have a few more days to go before the Elephant God departs for this year. While he is still here, let us make something YUMMY for him. 

For those who do not know about the festival, Ganpati is a God we worship and we celebrate a festival for ten days each year. People get home or make an idol of the Lord and place the idol in their house, worship Him for 10 days with flowers, yummy sweets and lots of decoration. 

Though it has been a few days since the festival started, I made this lot for offering at a friends' place, so I decided to shoot it and post it here. I was juggling between saving it for later and posting it today; but decided to post it instantly! Probably a few readers will be able to make it this year! So the post is made, shot, offered and written really quickly to ensure it makes it on time. 


What is MODAK?

Modak is the sweet that is made in almost every household to offer to the God. It is made in various ways for the Elephant God as it is considered his favorite! The festival of Ganesha ends with an offering of 21 modaks to the almighty! 

There are various types of modaks; fried, baked, steamed, no cook and what not! I have been updating the blog with a couple of recipes each year, it is amazing to see how the list is growing. If you would like to see the different versions; check these out:


After all these types, I wanted to make something different this past weekend. So I converted the well known Indian dessert Sheera to modaks. Sheera is a sweet dish made from roasted semolina. I started off with a similar recipe and added some sweet coconut in the middle. 

The filling I made was from jaggery and coconut and given that it would be sweet, I skipped adding sugar to the semolina cover. The sweetness was balanced well in the entire modak and we LOVED it. 


Variations

I made a simple version with no additions to the rava. Adding saffron strands or flavors like rose or cardamom is also a good idea. Add some sugar once the milk is boiling if you would like a sweet cover. However, balance with the filling sweetness to achieve the right mix. 

The filling can be modified by adding dessicated coconut instead of fresh, adding some poppy seeds or extra nuts like cashews and raisins.

Making these is fairly simple and there is little to mess up in the recipe. However, just make sure the jaggery does not become super hard while making the filling. It is the worst to make it all and not be able to bite into it! 


These modaks can be made before hand and refrigerated. They taste amazing at room temperature so it is best to remove from the refrigerator a few minutes before having it. 

If you are making these for any other occasion, you can convert the same into ladoos or pedas. It is all about the shape; the taste will be just as great however you make it! 

Here are the sweets I made over the weekend to offer. The other recipes included in the photo are:



Ingredients

For the filling

Fresh Coconut 1/2 cup
Jaggery 1/4 cup, crushed or cubed
Ghee/Clarified Butter 1/4 tsp
Cardamom Powder 1/8 tsp
Almonds 2-3, minced

For the cover

Fine Semolina/Rava 1/2 cup
Milk 1/2 cup, room temperature
Water 1/2-3/4 cup
Ghee/Clarified Butter 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder 1/8 tsp
Salt a pinch


Method

For the Filling

In a pan add the ghee and heat. Once it melts, add jaggery and coconut. Let the jaggery melt for a couple of minutes. Do not cook it for too long else the filling will become hard. 

Add cardamom powder and almonds, mix well and turn down the flame. Transfer to a plate and set aside. 


For the Cover

In the same pan that the filling was made, add the rava/semolina. Dry roast for 7-8 minutes on medium flame, till it becomes aromatic. Transfer to a plate. 

In the pan add milk and 1/2 cup water. Heat the two for two minutes on medium flame and then add 1 1/2 ghee and salt. 

Mix well and bring to a boil. Once it boils, slowly add the roasted semolina and keep mixing till it all thickens up. It takes about 7-8 minutes to thicken. If it feels very hard, add some more water. The amount of water depends on the rava and each time you might require little extra or less water. 

Once the mixture thickens, turn down the flame and remove in a plate. Let the mixture cool a little till it can be touched by hand. 

Grease your palms with some ghee and knead the mixture to a smooth dough. Also grease the modal mold and keep ready. Divide the coconut jaggery filling in 8 parts. 

Pinch a small piece of the semolina mixture and press it in the mold. make sure it covers the sides. Then place a coconut jaggery ball and seal using the semolina mixture. 

Remove from mold and repeat to make the remaining modaks. I could make a 8 medium sized modaks from the quantity mentioned above. 

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate and enjoy for 4-5 days.