A Ghee Virgin's Review of Ghee
I was a ghee virgin. Until this review I’d only heard about ghee, but never bought, tried, or really knew what it was, outside of being a butter substitute. At least I knew that much, because when you travel in the kind of on/offline culinary circles as I do, one hears things.
As a foodie, I love trying new foods, so I was thrilled when The Gourmet Ghee Co. requested my review of their gourmet ghees. I received two samples (ok, full jars, thank goodness!) of their Classic Ghee and Medjool Date Ghee. With no knowledge or experience with ghee’s taste or usage, I realized I might be the perfect candidate to review ghee, offering completely honest and unbiased opinions.
WHAT IS & WHY USE GHEE?
Ghee is a step beyond clarified butter. While heating (preferably unsalted) butter, milk fat is skimmed and discarded and the remaining clarified butter is further cooked until it’s nonfat solids settle, turn a toasted-brown color, and are strained out. The remaining liquid is ghee, which will become a soft-solid when at room temperature. Ghee is used as a very healthy substitute for butter.
Benefits: The process makes it lactose free, casein free, and results in higher smoking point than butter.
To understand what ghee does, or doesn’t do to a food, I remade dishes that typically use butter (which for me is a store-brand, unsalted, sweet-cream butter.) and that I’ve made before and am very familiar with.
Each of these five dishes, remade with ghee, will answers questions posed in the Specific Reviews.
1. Steak with garlic & herbs (Classic Ghee).
2. French Toast (Classic and Medjool Date Ghee)
3. Grilled Cheese (Medjool Date Ghee)
4. Cheese Omelet (Classic Ghee)
5. “Buttered” Coffee (Classic Ghee)
Dish1: Bistro Style Steak: Pan Seared with Garlic, Herbs and Ghee
Method: Sirloin seasoned/pan seared in ghee, removed. Garlic and herbs added to remaining ghee. Steak placed back into flavored ghee to finish cooking.
Goal: Compare taste & texture to standard butter.
Question: Would ghee act and taste the same or better?
Result: Steak was great with a buttery feel. I would not have known it wasn’t butter- which is good! The steak flavor is pretty overwhelming, so I wouldn’t expect or want the ghee to add a conflicting flavor, and it didn’t. However, I felt better knowing the ghee wasn’t adding more bad to the already decandent steak.
Conclusion: Thumbs Up for Steak
Assumption: Thumbs Up for Meats
Dish2: French Toast: Cooked on a Ghee-Slathered Griddle
Ghee: Classic for piece1; Medjool Date for piece2
Method: Artisan white bread, soaked in eggs, almond milk, sugar, pure vanilla and cinnamon.
Goal: Compare taste & color with standard butter.
Question: Would ghee create a familiar browning? Would it add or distract from the French Toast?
Result: Both pieces browned nicely and quickly (piece1 over-browned from me waiting too long before flipping). For piece 1, I would not have known it wasn’t butter by taste. For piece 2, there was a distinct sweetness, which I know was the date, and was quite complimentary for the toast. For both, there seemed to be a subtle crispness to the outside which I believe is the way ghee reacts with a bread item. It created a bit of extra texture to the slightly loose inside.
Conclusion: Thumbs Up for French Toast
Assumption: Thumbs Up for pancakes, waffles and any similar item
Dish3: Grilled Cheese (Cooked in a Toaster Oven)
Ghee: Medjool Date
Method: Artisan white bread. Ghee spread on both slices with chipotle gouda.
Goal: Compare taste with standard butter.
Question: Would ghee add or distract from the Grilled Cheese?
Result: Grilled cheese tasted excellent. Ghee spreads easily on soft bread (bonus!). The sweetness was obvious and helped balance the spicier chipotle (I like using strong cheeses). The ghee was on the inside, so color and texture were not factors here.
Conclusion: Thumbs Up for Grilled Cheese
Assumption: Thumbs Up if using milder cheeses
Dish4: Cheese Omelet (Cooked on Non-Stick Frying Pan)
Method: 1 tsp ghee melted. Two-egg omelet with Colby Jack cheese folded in.
Goal: Compare taste, color, texture with standard butter on a mild dish.
Question: Would ghee act the same as standard butter? Is 1 tsp enough?
Result: Eggs tasted as expected. Ghee melts very fast, browned the eggs nicely and did not overwhelm the flavor of the milder cheese.
Conclusion: Thumbs Up for eggs
Assumption: Thumbs Up for any egg dish
Note: I might not use the sweeter Medjool Date ghee with eggs
Dish5: Coffee with Ghee (aka: Bulletproof Shot)
Method: 1 tsp ghee melted in to 12oz coffee (Newman’s Special K-Cup in Keurig). No sugar or dairy added.
Goal: Assess taste, texture
Question: Does full butter taste better?
Preface: Coffee with butter (fat) is touted as a healthy alternative to using any sweetener (real or articial). Bulletproof shots are used for weight loss and hunger control. I occasionally try coffee with butter to acclimate myself away from sugar, and as a substitute for heavy cream, though at this point, I still prefer my standard preparation for taste (it is just really hard to get away from sugar!)
Results: Possibly a bit sweeter than regular butter. The texture is quite different - it leaves more of an oily-slick on top of the coffee, and leaves a hint of slipperiness on your lips. This happens in part with regular butter.
Conclusion: Acceptable substitute for butter in coffee. If you can avoid sugar, sugar substitutes and the pitfalls of regular butter with ghee, I’m all for it.
Note: I might prefer the Medjool Date ghee with a stronger coffee in need of balance.
OVERALL REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS
There seems to be no dish that ghee cannot be a butter or clarified butter substitute for. It has a familiar, yet sweeter butter flavor, with similar browning abilities. Ghee excels in melting time, smoking point, and creating a subtle crispy texture on toasted breads.
Since can attain all your butter needs with a product that is healthier and friendlier to people with sensitivities, I can do nothing but give ghee in general a big thumbs-up and strong recommendation. I will continue to use and report on my use of ghee on my unsuspecting family and friends, testing if they can tell!
It is certainly possible to make quality ghee at home, so long as you start with quality butter and have some patience. However, I can recommend the purchase of ghee from The Gourmet Ghee Co. because their interactions with me have been welcoming, they have a large selection of ghee flavors, and they went above and beyond, providing me with enough ghee to run these tests. Conveniently, they also have an Amazon presence. Spend a few minutes to learn more about The Gourmet Ghee Co. and what sets their Ghee apart.
I made many more dishes and quick implementations with ghee not mentioned here…such as reheated ghee-browned muffins (Yum!) and baking with ghee-slathered pans (which works very well in lieu of butter or spray)
I hope this review was informative and useful!
FYF is always ready to provide independent and honest reviews of food products & equipment.
The Facebook Foodie