Though butter and ghee are quite similar, there are key differences between these two sister foods. You may have heard of the benefits of ghee and may wonder what does ghee taste like? Delicious, of course! But more specifically, ghee tastes similar to butter, but sweeter.
Ghee Tastes Sweet
In Ayurveda, all foods are classified by rasa (taste), virya (energy-hot, warm, or cool), and vipaka (post-digestive effect.) What does ghee taste like? Ghee is sweet, cooling, and has a sweet (nourishing) post-digestive effect. In contrast, Ayurveda considers butter to be sour, heating, and purifying (1). When we talk about ghee tasting sweet, it is not a sugary sweet. Rather, ghee has a mildly sweet, and very pleasant, flavor. Rice, fresh milk, and chickpeas are a few other examples of foods with a sweet taste. If you were to do a taste test between ghee and butter, you may notice that butter tastes slightly more sour in comparison to ghee.
Though butter is quite tasty and not without benefit, Ayurveda holds ghee in high regard. It pacifies vata and pitta doshas, and kapha-types can consume it in small amounts. Ghee nourishes ojas (vital life essence), is easily digested, and enkindles agni, the digestive fire. Many Ayurvedic practitioners recommend taking herbs with ghee in order to improve digestion and assimilation. Herbs that may be taken infused in ghee include ashwagandha, shatavari, brahmi, and a number of other herbs, ranging from those that are nourishing to herbs that are bitter and purifying. Taking herbs infused in ghee helps carry the herbs and their beneficial effects into the deeper tissues of the body.
Ghee-licious: How to Enjoy GheeCompared to butter, the process of making ghee involves removing milk solids and lactose, thus producing a lipid that is more pure. Even those who are sensitive to dairy and lactose-intolerant may do fine with ghee. Also, on a health note, ghee has a higher smoke point than butter so it is better for high temperature cooking. Consider ghee when roasting, frying, and to saute your veggies! Here are a few other ideas for how to enjoy the health benefits and taste of ghee:
- Spread it on your toast
- Cook it into your kitchari
- Add a spoonful to your porridge
- Roast your root veggies in it
- Use it for stir fries
- Stir a teaspoon into your morning coffee or chai
- Or, lick it plain of a spoon!
Also, you may want to explore special herbal ghees, which can be obtained from Ayurvedic product suppliers. In fact, our Chyawanprash contains ghee, and our ghruta is a premium Ayurvedic ghee made from the free-range, grass-fed Gir cows in India. If you are still wondering, what does ghee taste like, there is no substitute for experience! Try ghee on your morning toast or stir into your veggies for some ghee-licious nourishment!
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
(1) Lad, V. & U. (2009). Ayurvedic cooking for self-healing. Albuquerque, NM: The Ayurvedic Press.