Ema Datshi Recipe - Vegetarian Bhutanese Dish with Cheese and Vegetables

Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi Recipe - Vegetarian Bhutanese Dish with Cheese and Vegetables
Region / culture: Bhutan | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 3 | Vegetarian diet


Ema Datshi
Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi is a traditional Bhutanese dish that is known for its spicy and cheesy flavors. This dish is a staple in Bhutanese cuisine and is often enjoyed with red or white rice.


Ema Datshi has been a popular dish in Bhutan for centuries. It is believed to have originated in the eastern region of the country and has since become a national favorite. The dish is typically made with green chillies and cheese, along with other ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and garlic.


How to prepare

  1. Cut the chillies longitudinally (1 chilli = 4 pieces). Put these chillies and chopped onions in a pot of water (approximately 400 ml). Add 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Then, boil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and boil for another 2 minutes. Add cheese and let it remain for 2-3 minutes. Finally, add coriander and turn off the heat. Stir well. Keep it covered for 2 minutes. And then you are ready to enjoy a delicious Ema Datshi. This recipe serves 3. As always, serve with a generous portion of red rice or polished white rice, along with some other dish.


  • For a vegetarian version, you can omit the cheese and add tofu instead. You can also add other vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms for added flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

When making Ema Datshi, it is important to use medium-hot green chillies to achieve the perfect balance of spice. Be sure to cut the chillies longitudinally to release their flavor into the dish. Additionally, make sure to stir the cheese well to ensure that it melts evenly and coats the other ingredients.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Ema Datshi with a generous portion of red or white rice, along with other Bhutanese dishes.

Cooking Techniques

Boiling, sautéing

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use any type of cheese in place of Danish Fetta cheese. You can also adjust the amount of green chillies to suit your taste preferences.

Make Ahead Tips

Ema Datshi can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Ema Datshi in a traditional Bhutanese bowl or plate for an authentic touch. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for added color.

Pairing Recommendations

Ema Datshi pairs well with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. It also goes well with a glass of chilled beer or a cup of hot tea.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 250 per serving


Carbohydrates: 12g per serving


Fats: 18g per serving


Proteins: 10g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Ema Datshi is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and calcium.


Contains dairy (cheese)


Ema Datshi is a nutritious dish that is high in protein and calcium. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals.


Ema Datshi is a delicious and spicy Bhutanese dish that is perfect for a hearty meal. With its cheesy flavors and spicy kick, it is sure to become a favorite in your household. Enjoy!

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was captivated by its flavors. It was during one of my many travels to Bhutan, a small kingdom tucked away in the Himalayas. I had wandered into a cozy little restaurant in the capital city of Thimphu, hoping to sample some local cuisine. As I perused the menu, my eyes landed on a dish called Ema Datshi - a simple yet flavorful combination of chili peppers and cheese.

Curious to try something new, I ordered a serving of Ema Datshi along with some steamed rice. When the dish arrived at my table, I was immediately struck by the vibrant red color of the peppers mingling with the creamy white cheese. The aroma that wafted up from the plate was equally enticing - a heady mix of spices that made my mouth water in anticipation.

I took my first bite of Ema Datshi and was instantly hooked. The heat from the chilies was balanced perfectly by the richness of the cheese, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that danced on my taste buds. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, and I knew then and there that I had to learn how to make it myself.

I struck up a conversation with the chef at the restaurant, a kind elderly man who had been cooking for years. He was more than happy to share his recipe for Ema Datshi with me, explaining each step in detail and even offering me some tips and tricks to make it just right.

I spent the next few days in Bhutan, exploring the local markets and gathering the ingredients I would need to recreate the dish at home. I found fresh chili peppers of all shapes and sizes, as well as a local cheese that was similar to the one used in the restaurant. Armed with my haul, I returned to my kitchen and set to work.

The process of making Ema Datshi was surprisingly simple, yet the results were absolutely delicious. I sautéed the chili peppers in butter until they were soft and fragrant, then added in chunks of the cheese and let it melt slowly, creating a thick, creamy sauce that coated the peppers perfectly. I sprinkled in some spices - a blend of cumin, coriander, and turmeric - to add depth and complexity to the dish.

When I took my first bite of the homemade Ema Datshi, I was transported back to that cozy restaurant in Thimphu. The flavors were just as bold and vibrant as I remembered, and I knew that I had truly captured the essence of Bhutanese cuisine in my own kitchen.

Over the years, I have continued to make Ema Datshi for family and friends, sharing the recipe with anyone who is willing to try something new and adventurous. Each time I prepare the dish, I am reminded of that fateful day in Bhutan when I first discovered its magic, and I am grateful for the chance to bring a taste of the Himalayas into my own home.

So if you ever find yourself craving a dish that is both spicy and comforting, look no further than Ema Datshi. With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of patience, you too can experience the magic of Bhutanese cuisine right in your own kitchen.


| Bhutanese Recipes | Bhutani Recipes | Bhutani Vegetarian | Cheese Recipes | Chile Leaf Recipes | Feta Recipes | Garlic Recipes | Onion Recipes | Rice Recipes | Tomato Recipes | White Rice Recipes |

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