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Clarifying Homemade Butter

Clarifying homemade butter

Livestock is one of the major sources of living in Hunza and therefore consumption of dairy items like homemade butter has common use in most of the traditional dishes we make.  Clarifying homemade butter is time-consuming, and is, therefore, done when we are sending it to someone living far away to avoid the spoilage at varying temperatures while traveling especially in summers.

It is also clarified to be used with a traditional porridge locally known as Mull which is made during childbirth and women get to eat this after their delivery. The guests who visit to meet the newborn are served with mull and clarified butter.

Other than the above two reasons we do not clarify the butter. It is custom to give a huge batch of homemade butter as a gift to relatives at the wedding ceremony, which is used in making sharbat, a traditional dish made only at wedding ceremonies in Hunza.

Usually, the butter extracted the traditional way in a cylindrical wooden container locally known as Sagu from fermented milk. This freshly extracted butter is called maska Maltas. It is stored in a well locally known as Gulq. The gulq is properly built with four walls and roof and we use it as a natural refrigerator.

The well is filled every morning with fresh stream water and this is done as a ritual after morning prayers.

Aging Homemade Butter in Hunza:

People of Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan wrap the butter of 2kgs in a special sheet known as Hali and bury it in a pit. This a traditional butter storage method and they keep the butter in the pit for years. The aged butter has a pungent smell, and we use it to make Sharbat.

Opinion on clarifying homemade butter:

I only recommend clarifying homemade butter if you are planning to use it for a long time or sending it to someone far away. This process is time-consuming, and it took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to get the final product.
I started to clarify homemade butter with the thinking that it is an easy process. At a point, I didn’t understand what was going on with my butter and then I had to call my mom. She taught me how to do it. Please check out the video demonstration to learn purifying/clarifying and storing homemade Hunza in butter.

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