Sorry about that title. But it did get your attention.
Terry from UK writes:
‘Dear Kurma, I saw a tub of something called ‘vegetable ghee’ today and as it had written on it ‘no cholesterol’ I thought I would try it. What do you think of vegetable ghee? I notice it also has ‘ghee flavour’ added….. warmest wishes, Terry (waistline still expanding).’
‘So-called ‘vegetable ghee’, also known as vanaspati, or dalda, is rubbish. I would strongly recommend you throw it away.
This “vegetable ghee” is actually polyunsaturated or monounsaturated partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a trans fat. Trans fats are increasingly linked to serious chronic health conditions. Not only is “vegetable ghee” implicated in causing high LDL, it also lacks the health-promoting benefits claimed for “Shuddh” (Hindi for Pure) ghee.
Ghee is also sometimes called desi (country-made) ghee or asli (genuine) ghee to distinguish it from “vegetable ghee”.
When cooking, it can be unhealthy to heat polyunsaturated oils such as vegetable oils to high temperatures. Doing so creates peroxides and other free radicals. These substances lead to a variety of health problems and diseases.
On the other hand, ghee has a very high burning point and doesn’t burn or smoke easily during cooking. Because ghee has the more stable saturated bonds (i.e., it lacks double bonds which are easily damaged by heat) it is not as likely to form the dangerous free radicals when cooking.
But, all is not rosy in the world of ghee. Imported ghee from India should be carefully screened. Often it is mixed with cheaper oils. But there is worse news. There has been some recent exposes of a mass contamination of many brands of Indian ghee with animal fat – not only dairy fats from buffaloes, but actual ANIMAL fat from dead animals. It is a disgusting scandal.
Here in Australia we have locally made Allowrie, QBB (Queensland Butter Board, pictured above) and Fern’s ghee (New Zealand). If you see any of these, buy them. They are very nice. Any Indian ghee should be considered highly suspect. And throw away that ‘vegetable ghee’ rubbish.
If in doubt about the quality of shop-bought ghee, make your own. It is so easy to do, and freshly-made pure aromatic ghee distilled from lovely Danish-style unsalted butter is sweet, fragrant and heavenly. Hope this sheds some light.’
Terry just replied my letter:
‘Hi Kurma, thank you so much for the good advice – the tub of trans fat is in the garbage! Please keep up your wonderful blog and I will try homemade ghee, kindest regards, Terry’.
Posted by Kurma on 1/9/07; 10:48:25 AM