Janmashtami is a celebration to mark Lord Krishna’s birth. In Hindu mythology, Krishna is popular for his mischief, wisdom and valor, idolized and loved by all. But what does Krishna love the most? Maakhan (white butter) – so much that he wouldn’t shy away from even stealing it, all to reward himself with a handful of the divine food and earn the title of “maakhan chor”.
Amidst all the fear that revolves around this pure goodness, I now wonder, what if Krishna lived in 2020? Would he too be worried about the fat and cholesterol in white butter? And what about our kids? Are we stopping them too from enjoying this food of Gods only because we have been conditioned to believe that it is not as healthy?
I remember, as a child my Saturday evenings were dedicated to making fresh butter with amma. I would keep beating the cream for what seemed like hours till I got amma’s approval on its consistency. Once firm enough we would wash it in ice water and store it in a special glass bowl. This was enjoyed with as many meals as possible through the week.
White butter or cultured butter is freshly churned milk cream. The continuous churning gives maakhan a smooth consistency and makes it special in terms of molecular structure and gastronomical benefits.
Once a regular practice, it now seems like a forgotten art. White butter is gradually vanishing from our plates. The many misconceptions around maakhan have masked its true potential. It is one of the most misunderstood fats. White butter is nutritionally equipped with many special properties.
One such is the – Wulzen Wonder. Wulzen factor is a hormone like substance found in freshly churned butter. Chemically wulzen factor is actually a phytosterol called stigmasterol. It has the capacity to prevent joint stiffness and ensure that our bones store more calcium. Also known as the anti-stiffness factor, found in unpasteurized cream, it has the wonder power to reverse calcification of joints (common in osteoarthritis). Making white butter the best aid for joint mobility.
Then why do we fear it? Because it is an obstacle in fat loss? What if I told you that it is, in fact, an aid that helps in fat loss! Yes. Butter has lecithin which is essential for proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fatty constituents in the body. The body is therefore able to use fat more efficiently and avoid its unwanted or excess storage. White butter is what makes you look stronger and leaner.
Lecithin is also significant to all cells of the central nervous system (CNS). It promotes neural activity and nerve function. It is commonly used treat memory disorders. Additionally, Maakhan supports optimal brain function. It is a unique water-in-oil emulsion which allows it to pass through layers of tissue which are otherwise impermeable, like the brain. It is thus the best transporter of nutrients to the brain.
White butter is a storehouse of all fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) and naturally retains calcium and phosphorous. All of these boost our immune system and provide strength to fight diseases. Vit A and E are powerful antioxidants which keep the body young and prevent sickness. Adequate Vitamin D levels make it easier for the body to load up and gain on Bone Mineral Density (BMD). BMD and fat composition in the body are inversely related. Meaning, better BMD = lower fat percentage. Vitamin K present in white butter has a major role in calcium regulation. It mobilizes calcium from blood stream to bones and teeth.
Furthermore, white butter improves the digestive process and diversity of the gut friendly bacteria. A perfect remedy to bloating, gas, frequent burping and acidity.
So, what’s the catch? Simple. For best of the above benefits, maakhan must be made at home. Buy desi cow milk or from local dairy to make sure it hasn’t gone through the process of homogenization and pasteurization. For safety – boil it before using. The next best option is to directly buy pure white butter from a small-scale local dairy.
Freshly churned white butter has been a part of many regional delicacies across India. Being a Punjabi, breakfast at home is incomplete without a dollop of maakhan. It is, to me, that one magic accompaniment that makes every meal more delicious. Melted on parantha, floating in lassi, added to sarso ka saag or had with makki ki roti it adds joy and character to every dish. Have you ever tried nankhatai made using white butter? It’s a melt-in-the-mouth treat to die for! Known as loni in Maharashtra it is enjoyed with bhakri or thalipeeth or amboli as nashta. In southern India, white butter is used to make festive laddoos, seedai and murukku. I’d love to know about preparations that are made with or paired with white butter at your home !
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