Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Bhutanese Ema Datshi, Beef and Mushroom Tshoem and Red Rice

I made this dish for Andy and myself on Tuesday, December 8. We both enjoyed this dish, particularly the tshoem and rice. The ema datshi was a little spicy for our tastes, but still good. If you like really spicy fare, I would certainly recommend it. The tshoem, despite its inclusion of jalapeños, was not spicy at all.

Ema datshi is the national dish of Bhutan. I read that because Bhutan is surrounded by the Himalayas, there are not a lot of exports from the country. The chilies and cheese that the recipe calls for are therefore not readily available in the United States. The recipe called for green chilies of medium hotness; I felt that the closest would be jalapeños. The recommended substitute for the Bhutanese cheese was Danish feta. They did not have this at Kowalski's so I just used some feta made in Wisconsin. Not very authentic, but the dish was still good. As I said earlier, it was super spicy, and I even seeded half of the jalapeños. The spice comes from the seeds, so if you're wanting less spice, you could seed all of the peppers. This dish should be served with Bhutanese red rice.

Bhutanese red rice is imported from Bhutan. I found it at Kowalski's. To prepare it, I simply followed the package instructions. The rice is kind of firm and tastes a bit nutty. Andy and I both enjoyed it.

Tshoem translates to curry. I guess that originally "curry" just meant a thick stew; it didn't have anything to do with the spice. This was a really good dish. But then again, what wouldn't be good after being simmered in an entire stick of butter for two hours? It was rich, and the onions caramelized. Kowalski's didn't have any oyster mushrooms, so I used shiitake. This dish is also supposed to be served over red rice.

Ema Datshi (original recipe)

- 1/2 lb jalapeños, cut longitudinally (into 4 pieces each)
- 1 onions, chopped longitudinally
- 1 3/4 c. water
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1/2 lb. (Danish) feta cheese, cubed
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cilantro leaves

1) Put chilies and onions in a pot with water. Add vegetable oil. Boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
2) Add tomato and garlic. Boil for 2 minutes.
3) Add cheese and let it remain for 3 more minutes.
4) Add cilantro and turn off heat. Stir and cover. Let sit 2 minutes.
5) Serve with Bhutanese red rice.

Beef and Mushroom Tshoem (original recipe)

Ingredients:- large onion
- 1 lg. garlic clove, peeled
- fresh ginger, peeled and cut into a 3/4" cube
- 1 stick butter
- 1 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 medium jalapeños, seeded and julienned
- 1 1/3 c. fresh oyster mushrooms, stemmed
- Freshly ground black pepper

1) Coarsely chop the onion in a food processor, about 4 pulses. Set aside.
2) Drop garlic and ginger through the feed tube with motor running. Chop finely, about 10 seconds.
3) Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add beef, onion, water and salt. Simmer over low heat until just tender, about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

4) Add garlic, ginger and remaining ingredients. Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.

5) Serve with red rice.

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