Most Bhutanese love spicy food with sun-dried green and red chillies. The favorite dishes among others are Ema Datshi (chilli with local cottage cheese), Shamu Datshi (mushroom with cheese and chilli), and Kewa Datshi (potatoes with cheese and chilli). I have tasted them all, they are good. They use a sort of semi-dry local cottage cheese (cow), except when served for tourists with imported Indian cheese.
Popular beverages include simple hot water, suja (salted butter tea), ara (home made spirit), and beer. I have tried them, they are good, too. The hard one is the butter tea for the first time, because your brain expects a tea and then you drink a salted soup. Once one got used to it, it is an excellent drink in a cold day.
Some readers asked for the recipe of Kewa Datshi which I also made some days ago. It is, in fact, quite simple:
Kewa Datshi recipe
- Bhutanese cheese (semi-dry cottage cheese or any white cheese that melts easily)
- chopped red onions and, if you want, tomato
- red or green chilli (quantity according to your tolerance)
- rice, if you want to eat more than the potato
Cut potatoes into smaller pieces. Put the potatoes along with the chilli, some oil and salt in a saucepan or pot. Add some water and boil it. You don't want too much water in this dish, but don't let it dry up completely neither. You can add some chopped onions and tomatoes to taste. Cut the cheese into small pieces and when the potato is almost cooked, add the cheese to well melt and mix. Soon it is ready. You can serve it with rice if you wish.
A big bottle of beer or hot water is a must to compensate the chilli feeling.