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Bhutanese Recipe : Ema dashi, a chili-cheese stew

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Ema Datshi (pepper and cheese stew)

Ema dashi, a chili-cheese stew is the national dish of Bhutan.

Recipe from Kunzang Namgyel : “Some say that if you have been to Bhutan but have not eaten ema datshi then you have not been to


The distinguishing ingredient in Ema Dashi is the cheese-typically homemade from the curd of yaks.

Ingredients :

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed if you’re heat shy

2 Poblano peppers, sliced lengthwise

1 ½ cups water

1 medium yellow onion, chopped lengthwise

2 tomatoes, diced

8 oz feta or farmer’s cheese

5 cloves of garlic, finely crushed

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp coconut oil

Red Rice or white rice to serve

lime juice, to taste

Directions :

1. In a medium pot, add the oil, peppers and chopped onions. Cook about 4 minutes, just to soften them up a bit.

2. Add the water and boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and boil for another 2 minutes.

3. Add cheese and let it remain for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the cilantro and turn off the heat. Stir. Put a lid on the pot for another 2-3 minutes.

5. Serve on red or white rice. And plain yogurt if you need to cool it down a bit..


This dish is REALLY HOT!
The cheese that is actually used cannot be found outside Bhutan. Farmers cheese or feta cheese are good substitutes.

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