Ghee is a Sanskrit word for a clarified butter used primarily in Indian cuisine. Because the preparation of ghee involves heat, it has a distinctive toasted flavor, often described as nutty. Before the advent of commercial vegetable oils, ghee was widely used for deep frying.
Ghee is considered a saturated fat, since it is derived from animals. Nevertheless, some studies suggest that it is healthier overall than traditional Western fats such as lard and margarine. Ghee uses a natural process to maintain stability without refrigeration, unlike the hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils used in Western cooking.
Authentic ghee can be made at home by using traditional methods, but it can be time-consuming and a bit tricky without an experienced guide. Prepared ghee can be found in the Ethnic Foods section of well-stocked grocery stores and at many Asian markets.