Every food connoisseur knows butter. This delicious dairy product is the key ingredient in many beloved dishes, from melt-in-your-mouth biscuits to rich and creamy sauces. But did you know that there’s an even more intense version of this delectable treat? It’s called butter oil, and it’s as versatile as it is flavorful.
Butter oil has been around for centuries, with traditional Chinese and Indian recipes calling for the use of this extraordinary ingredient. In fact, these cultures have a long history of creating specialty concoctions and infusions that strengthen and enhance the flavor of butter.
Butter oil differs from the traditional butter we’re all familiar with in a couple of ways. For starters, it has a thicker and more concentrated consistency. It’s also more intensely flavored; its taste is described as having a sweet, nutty flavor.
In terms of its production process, butter oil is made by heating butter until it melts. This melting process causes the water and milk solids in butter to separate from the fat, resulting in a substance that contains an incredibly high concentration of butterfat. By removing the water and other elements from the mix, the butterfat content is increased, making it much richer, more flavorful, and more intense than regular butter. As a result, the oil created is both more concentrated and more aromatic than traditional butter.
Plus, since butter oil’s concentrations of saturated and unsaturated fats are so much higher than in regular butter, its shelf life is much longer. It also has a higher smoke point than regular butter, meaning it can handle higher temperatures without burning or turning unpleasant. This makes it especially useful for sautéing, deep-frying, and other types of cooking that require high heat.
Because of its intense flavor, butter oil is commonly used to add intense, robust flavors to dishes. Its nutty taste is especially favored in Indian cuisine; it is frequently used in the preparation of methods like chhutney, curries, marinades, and sauces. It can be used to add an extra depth of flavor to vinaigrettes, to gild seafood such as salmon or trout, and even to glaze whole-wheat pastas to make a thick, creamy sauce. And its texture makes it a popular choice for baking; it can be used to give pie crusts that little extra bit of flaky crispness, or to make rich, buttery shortbread cookies.
Butter oil has a number of other culinary uses as well; it’s suitable for both savory and sweet dishes. The oil’s nutty flavor and robust aroma can enhance the flavor of stew, rice dishes, soups, and even desserts. And because of its thickness and high fat content, it can be used as a substitute for heavy cream when making custards, flan, and puddings.
As with most gourmet food products, butter oil is not particularly cheap; it will typically cost about two to three times as much as regular butter. But if you want to really kick your dishes up a notch and deliver an intense, nutty flavor unlike any other, butter oil is definitely worth seeking out. With a little bit of this special ingredient, you can take your cooking game to the next level.