THE CHILI AFFAIR
Ema Datshi, the national dish of Bhutan is a deliciously spicy stew made of chili peppers, onions and locally produced yak cheese. Bhutanese have an undying love affair with chili peppers. Their journey with chilies begins from their infant age. Every dish in the Bhutanese cuisine invariably has copious amounts of chilies. People don’t touch the dish if it is not spicy enough. known widely as the “national dish of Bhutan.” “Ema” means chiles, and “Datshi” means cheese. It is a simple stew made of a variety of chilies and a special cheese, yak cheese, called datshi. Variations of this dish include potatoes (kewa datshi), beef, beans (semchung datshi) or mushrooms (shamu datshi). But just chilies and cheese are their favorite! The chilies that are used in the ema datshi are really spicy and this dish is served over a bed of red rice, another staple food of the Bhutanese. To balance the heat quotient in the dish, tomatoes, butter and cheese are added. In spite of this, it is hard to have one spoon without rushing for a glass of water. The Himalayan has a rare and unique kind of cheese named chhurpi.
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