Clarified Butter aka Rendered Butter

I was given the recipe for khourabia (shakar lama) by a true confections pro, who’s specialties included this pure white melt in your mouth cookie. In the notes I had written down for her khourabia recipe, she mentioned the importance of using bulgur to make clarified butter aka rendered butter, with the typical explanation of my grandma’s generation.. when the recipes were in their head! I recall her saying “you cook the bulgur with the butter”- short and sweet! This was some 40+ years ago! When I recently embarked on my own khourabia journey, I recalled the note re bulgur and took a look at the envelope the recipe was scribbled on!  

As the khourabia recipe

I was making called for 1 cup of clarified butter/rendered butter, I decided to use 3 cubes for good measure, fully expecting to have some left over for future use. 

I added #4 bulgur (cracked wheat)

to the cubes of butter, melting slowly on a medium low simmer. I added the bulgur gradually, tablespoon by tablespoon, figuring I used approximately 1/2 cup total. Stirring frequently, on a low fire -you don’t want the  bulgur or butter to burn- most of the foam dropped to the bottom, the bulgur soaking up the milk solids and water and like a sponge!  This process took the better part of an hour- leaving a very thin film of foam around the top edges of the intense yellow, clear clarified butter. 

Making clarified butter or rendered butter using cracked wheat/bulgur wheat.

I strained the butter (bulgur included) into a glass measuring cup, and low and behold, just a hair over 1 cup!  Just for reference I used Trader Joe’s unsalted butter-other brands may yield differently. I will be making more Khourabia in the next two weeks so I will try a couple of other butter brands and update this article. 

Straining clarified butter.
Translucent clarified butter- the finished product. Use clarified butter to make delicate and flaky pastries.

The khourabia,

which I have tested every way possible-more flour, less flour, solid butter or clarified butter, powdered sugar, fine baking sugar, eggs, egg yolk, egg whites, baking powder, omit baking powder-you get the picture- finally resulted in the texture and flavor I was looking for.  I will post the recipe in a few weeks, after all of the final testing!

I do believe the one ingredient that is a must is clarified butter,

 no matter which recipe you decide to  use.

Now that ghee is commonly available-even at Trader Joe’s and Costco,

available in glass jars and ready to use, we have another option for clarified butter aka rendered butter, although I think I’ll continue to make my own.

Do you call it Khourabia, Shahkahr Ishsi, Shahkahr Lokhoom, or Shakar Lama?

Clarified Butter Recipe

To yield 1 cup

3 cubes  (1 1/2 cups) butter

1/2 cup bulgur

Put butter and bulgur in a a small saucepan.

Melt on low fire mixing gently, and often, until foam drops to bottom, about an hour. I use low to medium simmer on my gas stove.  Electric or induction may differ. 

Once all (most) of residue /foam settles at the bottom, remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer /sieve, collecting bulgur. You may be able to lessen the bit of residue by adding more bulgur, but this small amount is easy to skim.

Set aside or refrigerate to solidify, and proceed as necessary for any recipe calling for rendered or clarified butter-or ghee. Use immediately while liquid to brush on boeregs, baklava, bourma, or any recipe with a butter coating. A small crock pot is perfect to keep the clarified butter warm while brushing on baked goods. Make your clarified butter ahead of time and refrigerate for future use. 


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