Ema Datshi – The National Dish of Bhutan


The Bhutanese cuisine is one of the most exotic Himalayan cuisines and is beloved by not only Tibetans but every chili enthusiast! Eating chilies is deep-seated in the Bhutanese culture and every dish is virtually incomplete without something peppery!

Every dish in the Bhutanese cuisine has generous amounts of chilies – so much that you’d need an entire bottle of water to go with your meal! This is mainly because the spicy food helps you to stay warm and toasty during extremely cold conditions.

Ema in Bhutanese means chili. Ema Datshi is their national dish which is a simple stew made of a variety of chilies and a special yak cheese, called datshi.

Since this dish is solely chili based, I’d suggest you add or reduce the number of chilies based on your tolerance for heat!


  • Chili peppers (Thai green/red, Jalapenos, Serranos, etc.) – 250 Grams
  • Red Onion (Diced) – 1 Large
  • Tomato – 1 Large
  • Garlic Cloves (Crushed) – 3 
  • Cilantro (Chopped) – For garnishing (optional)
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 Teaspoon
  • Cheese (Grated) – 300-350 Grams
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water – 1 Cup


  1. In a pan, add butter, sliced onion, tomato, and chilies.
  2. Pour water and add salt as per taste.
  3. Cook for a few minutes or until the peppers become soft.
  4. Take the pan off the flame and add cheese. (You can substitute yak cheese with farmers cheese, blue cheese, Danish feta, etc.).
  5. Garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve with steamed red/white rice or bread!

Ema Datshi

Post By: Sakshi Deswal / Appy Bistro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s