It’s a wonder what a difference that clarified butter can make – at least if it’s organic. I first made the acquaintance of Pukka’s good-for-you ghee when testing out an ALKALINE DIET for foodzine, Flavour First, and I turned to Anu at Jivita Ayurveda for some advice…
‘Two thirds of our diet should be alkaline,’ says Anu Paavola. ‘If you change your diet according to the seasons – as in. eat what the harvest produces at any of the three main seasons of produce, which are spring, summer and autumn – you automatically keep your acid alkaline balance correct. However, if you have excess acidity in your body you can favour foods that grow in spring and summer which are all alkaline, cut down or avoid acidic foods mainly meat (especially red), grains, pulses (unless sprouted), most of the citrus fruits (except lemon), raw tomatoes and vinegar and related products like mayonnaise and ketchup. Obviously the use of white sugar and flour should be reduced if not cut off completely. They have a strong acidic effect in the body.
Ayurvedically speaking, you shouldn’t have one kind of diet all year round. Usually we recommend a seasonal diet for everyone unless there is a strong imbalance of doshas (bio-energies responsible for all the functions of the body). If acidity levels are high during a season when food is naturally acidic the recommendation is to favour some foods from other seasons and use some cooking tricks in the kitchen to reduce acidity like use of certain spices and herbs, use of right kinds of fats (ghee or coconut oil) and correct food combination.
Making ghee is very easy. Melt one pound of unsalted butter in a thick bottom sauce pan on a very low heat. Remember, the better the butter, the better the ghee, so use organic butter if you can. As the butter melts two layers appear (white and organge). Do not stir and do not let boil. Skim off the white milk residues settling on the surface. Line a strainer with some muslin cloth and strain the ghee into sterilised jars. Discard the sediment. The ghee will turn hard when cooled and look yellow in colour – it melts quickly when exposed to heat.’
The good news is that ghee can also be used to make cakes – and Anu’s home-made healthy ones are now available in Minkie’s… Pictured.
‘The cake is made out of organic ingredients, sourced from the local shopkeepers. Secondly, I’ve used ghee instead of butter as it is the healthiest of fats and does not turn to trans fats (those most evil of fats) when heated. Therefore it will not go to storage when eaten but helps your metabolic functions and improves gut health. (The gut in fact itself already produces ghee, or butyric acid, and without it it does now work well.) Ghee gives the cake its special taste of sweetness and nuttiness. Combined with rapadura sugar, the rawest sugar you can find, the taste becomes like caramel. And yes, there is a considerable amount of sugar but at least this variety has not been stripped out of its nutrient content. This is a cake you can enjoy with good conscious as it not only help the local shopkeepers but also gives you some good fats and a great taste sensation.’
Anu is based at Jivita Ayurveda at 89 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 (020 89644 993). You can tuck into her tasty cakes without a guilty conscience, across the road at Minkie’s Deli.