Nei or ghee is an integral part of Indian cuisine. A few spoons of it and the flavours of the food come to life!

While the market is flooded with all kinds of ghee, nothing comes close to the aroma, texture, and flavour that a good homemade ghee has to offer.

Mumbai resident Nitya Ganapathy realised this gap in the market and jumped on the opportunity using her mother Jayalakshmi Ganapathy’s recipe.

She launched her company ‘Nei Native’ in 2021. Today, she earns around Rs 10 lakh monthly.

“While most entrepreneurs do their research work and due diligence into the market they want to enter pre-launch, I dived straight in. The reason the brand got so much appreciation was because of the top-notch quality that it offers,” says Nitya.

The company uses the traditional bilona method to make the ghee. Although it is laborious and time-consuming, the flavour makes up for all the effort one puts in.

As part of the process, full cream A2 milk is first boiled in a large pot over a wood fire. Once the milk is boiled, it is allowed to cool down before being transferred into an earthen pot. The milk is then set to curd and allowed to rest overnight in a cool place.

“My mom still carries out the next step in the wee hours of the morning, when the sun’s rays have not yet touched the earth,” says Nitya. The curd is churned using a wooden ladle to make it into butter. This butter is then carefully separated from the rest of the buttermilk.

Using an uruli (traditional south Indian brass vessel), the butter is heated on a slow flame. The ghee obtained after this stage is strained and stored in glass jars — ready to be dispatched after a quality check.

To get one litre of nei, it takes approximately 25 to 30 litres of full-cream milk, says Nitya. When she had just begun in May 2021, she was shipping around six to eight orders a day. Presently, the number has increased to about 90, which is around 2,500 jars a month.