Bhutan Vegetarian Recipes

Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi - Bhutan

Ah, what better way to start this page than with a recipe for ema datshi. Some say that if you have been to Bhutan but have not eaten ema datshi then you have not been to Bhutan. This dish is distinctly Bhutanese and one of our favourites.


  • 250g of chilies (green and of medium hotness)
  • 1 onion chopped longitudinally
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 250g Danish Fetta cheese
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
  • 3 leaves of coriander
  • 2 tspoon vegetable oil


Cut chilies longitudinally (1 chili = 4 pcs). Put these chilies and chopped onions in a pot of water (approx. 400 ml). Add 2 teaspoon vegetable oil. Then boil in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and boil for another 2 mins. Add cheese and let it remain for 2-3 mins. Finally add coriander and turn off the heat. Stir. Keep it closed for 2 mins. And then you are ready for a treat of good Ema Datshi. Serves 3. As always, serve with a generous portion of red rice or polished white rice, along with some other dish.

Note: The cheese that is actually used cannot be found outside Bhutan. They are a local farmer’s cheese with a unique texture that doesn’t dissolve when put in boiling water. None of the Bhutanese outside Bhutan that I know have found a good substitute yet. Other’s have suggested “farmer’s cheese” or a mixture of various kinds of cheeses. This dish is VERY HOT.

Contributer: Kunzang Namgyel. [email protected]

Kewa Datshi (Potatoes ‘n’ Cheese)

Kewa Datshi - Potato & Cheese


  • 4 Potatoes
  • 1/3 cup of cheese, (swiss, farmers or almost any kind of white cheese)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onions
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (vary amount according to your tolerance)


Cut potatoes into small pieces (I prefer them about the size of my little finger but you don’t know how big my finger is). Put the potatoes along with some oil and salt in a saucepan or pot. Add 1 and 1/2 cup of water. Cut the cheese into small pieces and when potatoe is almost cooked, add the cheese. You can add some chooped onions and tomatoes to taste. Don’t forget the chili powder. You don’t want too much water in this dish but don’t let it dry up completely either. Add little water everytime it gets low.

Cucumbers With Onion And Cheeses

Cucumbers With Onion & Cheeses

The Bhutanese serve soothing side dishes like this one to temper pepper laden entrees


  • 1/2 seedless cucumber [about 6 ounces, 170g], cut into 1 inch [2.5cm]
  • 1 medium red onion [about 4 ounces, 110g] peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup crumbled farmer cheese [about 3 ounces, 85g] _
  • 1 medium fresh green chili pepper [about 1/2 ounce, 15g], seeded and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Chop the cucumber coarsely with the metal blade of a food processor, 4 to 5 pulses. Add the onion and chop finely, about 5 pulses. Combine in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.

Makes 4 servings

Hapai Hoentoe (Buckwheat Dumplings With Bok Choy & Poppy Seed Filling)

Hapai Hantue

The spicy filling provides a sharp contrast to the subtle flavor of the pasta.



  • 1 large head bok choy [about 1 pound, 450g], stem removed and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 medium garlic cloves [1/5 ounce total, 6g], peeled
  • Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch [2cm] cube
  • 1 small red onion [about 2 ounces, 55g], peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup crumbled farmer cheese [about 3 ounces, 85g]
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter [4 ounces, 110g]


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour [10 ounces, 280g]
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour [5 ounces, 140g]
  • 1 cup water [240ml]
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting


To make the filling, cook the bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry.

Pulverize the poppy seeds and peppercorns with a spice or coffee grinder.

Drop the garlic and ginger through the feed tube of a food processor with the metal blade in place and the motor running and chop finely, about 5 seconds. Add the onion and chop finely, about 10 seconds. Add the bok choy, poppy seed mixture, cheese, chili powder, and salt and process until combined, about 10 seconds.

Brown the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, about 4 minutes. Cool and strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Add to the filling and process until combined, about 15 seconds.

To make the dough, combine the flours in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. With the motor running pour the water through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball. Dust the ball with flour.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces, dust with flour, and wrap 7 pieces in plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Roll out the remaining piece with a pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, down to the second lowest setting, dusting with flour occasionally to prevent sticking. Place the dough sheet between sheets of plastic wrap. Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner.

Cut the sheets, 1 at a time, into 4 by 2 inch [10 by 5cm] rectangles. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each rectangle. Brush the edges lightly with water and fold the rectangles over to make squares, pressing the edges to seal them well.

Cook the dumplings in batches in a saucepan of simmering water until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Kamrupi Biriyani and Vegetable Fry

Kamrupi Biriyani and Vegetable Fry

From : abin Deka


  • Rice 3 cups (for 6) long grain
  • non-stick Green peas (for 6) 100-200 grams
  • Yellow turmeric powder 1/2 t.
  • Green cardamon 6-8
  • whole cashews 20
  • Black cardamon 4
  • garlic 2 whole flower
  • Whole cloves 10-15
  • ginger 4 inch piece
  • Chicken 4 breasts
  • green coriander 1 bunch
  • one onion (big)
  • Eggplant 5 small
  • broccoli 1 small head
  • Potato 4 parboiled
  • onion 1 Large, sliced lengthwise

Oil vegetable cooking only

1. Cook the rice in two portions:

(a) 3/4 as plain white rice;

  • – add a little oil (1-2 t. oil)
  • – add the green (4) and black (2) cardanoms (smash green and black cardanoms)
  • – add whole cashews (make two pieces each)
  • – add water as appropriate, then flame on
  • – take the cooked rice off to a plate

(b) 1/4 as yellow rice;

  • – add a little oil (1 t. oil)
  • – add 4 whole cloves
  • – add water as appropriate
  • – add the 1/4 t. yellow turmeric
  • – take the cooked rice off to a plate

After the rice is done, mix the two types (a) & (b) together and divide into two portions (1/4 and 3/4). Put aside. 2.

2. Preparation of ingredients:

(c) take the bunch of green coriander;

  • – cut into half lengthwise
  • – one half from root cut into one inch pieces (c)1
  • – other half cut into one and a half pieces (c)2
  • – do not mix (c)1 and (c)2

(d) take the ginger;

  • – use a mortar and pestal to mash (cut into tiny pieces is other option)

(e) take the garlic;

  • – use a mortar and pestal to mash (cut into tiny pieces is other option)

(f) smash green (4) and black (2) cardamom together

Do not mix (d) and (e), and do not mix (f) with (d) (e) (g) cut the onion into long size

3. Preparation of Peas:

(h) fry 100-200 grams peas in little oil – no ingredients needed

4. Preparation of Vegetable:

(j) eggplant and small head broccoli;

  • – cut lengthwise bite size (will be show how)
  • – cut eggplant into bite size (will be show)

(k) choose medium size potato;

  • -wash and cut into bite size (lengthwise), boil and peal the skin (or peal before boil)

Put oil in a frying pan (little more), warm up the oil, put onion, put five whole cloves, put half (c)1, put 1/4 of (d) 1/2 of (e) 1/2 of (f) fry for a while, (will be shown).

Now put (j) stir and cover until done. Take (j) off from the frying pan and fry (k) in the same oil.

If oil is not enough, put a little as needed. After (k) is fried and done add (j) and stir carefully.

Cover for a minute or so in a low flame. Then the fry is ready to serve.

5. Preparation of Kamrupi Biriyani:

(l) choose skin chicken;

  • – burn the skin (light) over flame (important)
  • – now cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces
  • – take half of (d) half of (e) and half of (f) to coat (or mix) the chicken
  • – put oil in a frying pan (large) and warm up – put 1/4 onion and half of (c)1 on oil and fry until reddish-yellow
  • – put coated chicken, put five whole cloves, fry accordingly (need to cover to cook well) at relatively low flame (important) add salt accordingly before covering
  • – chicken is about to done, just before 2-3 minutes or so, add 1/4 of (d), half of (c)2, and fried peas
  • – low flame and put 3/4 rice on chicken and mix
  • – cover for a while (this is Kamrupi biriyani, ready to serve)