Emadatse Chile Recipe

The national dish of Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan nation, is possibly the most memorable condiment. You don’t have to be Bhutanese to enjoy their spicy but creamy emadatse (em’a dat’se). Yes, 12 serranos are a lot of chile! But the cheese, butter and cooking help moderate their heat and deepen their flavor. If you like chiles, it’s addicting.

Serve emadatse over rice, meat or dal, to top a soup or alongside scrambled eggs.  Or, go Bhutanese, and serve emadatse as a side vegetable dish as you serve broccoli or carrots. There are many variations; Lodoe Sangpo taught me this one.

12 serrano or Thai chilies
2 jalapeno chiles
3 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 onion, chopped
3 mushrooms, diced
4 garlic, minced
2 peeled roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup blue, feta or farmer’s cheese, crumbled
1 cup chopped cilantro

Wearing rubber gloves slice the chiles lengthwise and remove their seeds under running water. Coarsely chop all the chiles. Set aside.

Sauté the onion, mushroom and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the chilies, tomatoes, ginger and salt. Stir to blend and cook for about 7- 10 minutes or until the chiles are soft and have lost their vibrant green color.  Add the cheese and cook and stir continuously for about 2 minutes or until it is melted. Once the cheese is added, do not allow it to boil.  Garnish and serve warm or at room temperature.

Emadatse is best the day it’s made. However, leftovers may be refrigerated, tightly covered, and gently warmed prior to serving.


May you be well nourished!

Rebecca Wood

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