GHEE - a form of clarified butter that originated in ancient India and is a staple in South Asian cookery and is also used in traditional medicine, and as an offering in religious rituals - will soon come in low-fat variants.
The low-fat variant has 85 percent less cholesterol compared to normal desi ghee prepared from cow or buffalo milk cream, a report in The Hindustan Times said.
The research was aimed at improving the health levels of Indians after studies showed that three-quarters of people in the Asian sub-continent have high levels of bad cholesterol, or triglycerides.
"Using a chemical process we have removed the cholesterol content by up to 85 percent," R. K. Malik, director at the National Dairy Research Institute in the northern Indian state of Haryana, said.
"The taste, color everything remains the same. It's just that the cholesterol comes down," Malik added.
A.K. Srivastava, also a director at the research institute, said that the healthy ghee meets all requirements set by Food Safety Standards Authority of India.
The technology is patented under the names of Dr. Darshan Lal, Dr. Vivek Sharma and Dr. Raman Seth from the NDRI's dairy chemistry division.
The institute would make the technology commercially available on a non-exclusive basis.
The leading Indian dairy company in the state of Bihar recently signed a deal with the research institute to make the healthy ghee readily available in the market.
"We are happy that this ghee provides a healthy option to fitness conscious consumers," said Malik.
Following the closing of the Bihar deal, the National Dairy Research Institute decided to encourage milk cooperatives like Vita in Haryana and Verka in Punjab to launch similar initiatives to meet the demand of a growing health-conscious market.
Srivastava said it was the first time that the technology was handed over to a milk cooperative.
"NDRI signed a memorandum of understanding with Vaishal Patliputra Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Sangh Ltd Patna, popularly known as Patna Dairy Project, on Wednesday. Bihar dairy officials have planned to launch the product within two months and it is a major dairy brand in Bihar," Srivastava said.
He said a private dairy company was initially given exclusive rights to utilize the technology.
"After the completion of the contract, NDRI has decided to throw the technology open in a larger public interest," he said.
"It's a simple technology that does not add any extra cost in the production," Srivastava said.