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 done when we are sending it to someone living far away and it must cover long distances to avoid the spoilage at varying temperatures while traveling.
It is also clarified to be used with a traditional porridge locally known as Mull which is made on child birth and women get to eat this after their delivery. The guests who visit to meet the new born 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 gift to relatives on the wedding ceremony which is used in making sharbat, a traditional dish made only on wedding ceremonies in Hunza.
Usually the butter extracted the traditional way in a cylindrical wooden container locally known as Sagu from fermented milk. The fresh butter extracted this way 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 natural refrigerator. The reason of it staying so cold is that we fill it with fresh water every morning and it is done as a ritual after morning prayers.
Aging Homemade Butter In Hunza:
We, Hunza people wrap the butter in a minimum 2 kg packs in a special sheet known as Hali. We then bury this package of butter in a pit and is then dig it out after years. The aged butter has a pungent smell and we use it to make Sharbat.
Personal 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 living far away. This process is time-consuming and it took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to get the final product.
I started to clarifying 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 checkout the video demonstration to learn purifying/clarifying and storing homemade Hunza in butter.