This shows a dragon (Druk in Dzongkha) from Bhutanese mythology. In Dzongkha, Bhutan is called “Druk Yul” meaning ‘Dragon Country’.
DishesEma Datshi, Shamu Datshi
Time 45 minutes
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £5
Capital Thimpu
Population 741, 700
Land mass 38, 394 km2
Languages Dzongkha
ReligionsVarjrayana Buddhism


Bhutan is a land-locked country in South Asia, bordered by Tibet, China and India. Bhutan has actually never been colonised in all of history (yay!), and has a strong cultural identity based in Bhuddism. Bhutan is home to the highest unclimbed mountain in the world (Gangkhar Puensum 7,570 metres), has lush natural diversity and in South Asia it ranks first in economic freedom and ranks as the least corrupt country in the region. The Bhutanese government is headed by the “Dragon King” (amazing title) but is not autocratic in the least, and has been ran on the concept of gross national happiness since 2008. All in all, Bhutan rocks!

Bhutanese cuisine has roots in Tibetan flavours, but has a flair for using homegrown and local ingredients, namely CHEESE! Also chillies, which arrived from South America but are so widely used in Bhutanese cooking that they are considered an actual vegetable, not a spice.

Bhutanese people LOVE cheese and it is a staple of their cuisine. Literally, every recipe we looked at involved cheese (datshi), including the dried yak cheese curds which are eaten like jerky and apparently take 3 hours of chewing to soften. We made 2 flavours of DATSHI – Chilli (ema) and Mushroom (shamu). In our opinion, we didn’t make either spicy enough, so we recommend just going for it when you add the chillies. Bhutan has many natural forests, with mushrooms galore, so locals will go foraging to pick fresh ‘shrooms for this yummy dish. Both Datshi’s were so easy and quick to cook, and of course very, very delicious.


Ema Datshi


  • grated cheese (datshi), for sprinkling *B used vegan cheese*
  • 6 fresh chillis (ema)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 gloves garlic, sliced
  • oil for cooking (traditionally uses butter)
  • S + P to taste
  • 1/2 cup of water


  1. Heat the oil / butter in a pan. Add all the veggies, stir to coat and then add the 1/2 cup of water. Cook with lid on and occasional stirring until the veg is soft. *add as much or as little chilli for your desired heat*
  2. Take off the heat and sprinkle the cheese on top, leaving the lid on to let that cheese melt.
  3. Serve with fresh rice (Bhutan fav is red rice)!

Shamu Datshi


  • 1 packet of mushrooms (shamu)
  • grated cheese (datshi), for sprinkling *B used vegan cheese*
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 5 green chillis, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, sliced
  • oil for frying


  1. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onions to brown them on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat, add all the rest of the veggies and cook them, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. *add as much or as little chilli for your desired heat*
  3. Take the pan off the heat, sprinkle the cheese on top and leave with the pan lid on for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt!
  4. We served this up with fries – a Bhutanese classic!

Kadrin chhe and see you in Bolivia! M + B x

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