An age old process routinely done in almost every Indian household since ages, and there's nothing new about it. So please do not judge me for putting up this here.
This post is mainly aimed at beginners like me/ or those who think this is a rocket science (again like me)/ or those who want to try this but are scared of failing (yet again, like me). I grew up watching my Grandma churning curd into butter milk every single day, diligently collect the butter (which I'd eat withalmost anything), and every few days when enough butter had accumulated, she'd heat and make ghee!
This was among the first few things that I learnt to make too, with her help. However, over the years, I lost touch because I did not take the effort to make time. I tried a couple of times in between but I managed to burn it, and then completely gave up, resorting to buying ready made ghee. Of late though, I was tempted to restart this process again at home, and began to collect milk cream every day. With umpteen calls to my favorite Aunt before and during the ghee making process (Grandma is hard of hearing now and doesn't talk much on phone), I finally succeeded- full credit to her patience to answer all my queries which might have sounded stupid to her too!
So here's how it goes:
Well, the best way perhaps is to churn curd and collect butter everyday, but in the present schedule, churning curd everyday may not be possible for everyone. So what do you do? Simple. You collect the cream from milk everyday and make ghee. This post tells you how to do so with step-by-step detailing and pictures.
In a clean container, collect the cream/malai from milk every single day. Keep it refrigerated at all times.
It usually forms a hard lump, and hence on the D-day, take it out from the fridge in the morning itself. Let it stay that way till evening.
Evening: Now is the time to add some full fat milk, and to add those few spoons of curd.
Once you add the curd to curdle the cream, leave it that way overnight. The next morning, check it if it's curdled well. If required you can add some more spoons of curd, and leave it that way for few more hours.
Once the curdling is complete, it's time to separate the butter.
Add ice-cold water to the thick curds and start churning. You could use a handblender or even the mixie.
If done correctly, butter separates out beautifully. (mini-success!)
Collect the butter in a separate vessel, and rinse it gently with water multiple times till the water is absolutely clear. This adds to the aroma of the ghee (Pro-tip from my favorite Aunt).
Now, take the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, and start heating on mid flame. Keep stirring. Once it's completely melted, it can rise up and spill out. Hence, keep a watch at all times, with intermittent stirring. This, is the most crucial and time consuming step. Even if you're tempted many times to put the flame on full to speed up the process, do not do it. Patience is the key!
After what seems like a never ending process (but actually only 15-20 minutes), it'll start getting clearer and clearer, till it takes on this beautiful yellow-golden hue, along with which a heavenly aroma starts emanating as well! Jackpot!
Keep stirring and heating for some more time till the residue turns light brown and switch off. It'll continue to boil in the internal heat and the residue finally turns dark brown. Do not disturb. Cover with a mesh lid or leave some space open for the steam to escape; make sure you don't cover with a full lid as the steam generated would vaporize and fall back into the pan (your whole effort would just go down the drain!).
Let it cool completely. Now strain/filter it and store it in airtight bottles. Done!
The satisfaction and the gratifying feeling is on a new scale altogether! Is that what you mean by adulting, that such things give you joy?!