Hot, Hot, HOT: Ema Dashi, Chilis and Cheese

If you can’t warm up from outside, you might as well try and stay warm from within.

I woke up to below zero temps, and it seems they are hanging around. I’m not worried because one bite of today’s stew will keep me warm until July. No joke.

Ema dashi, a chili-cheese stew is the national dish of Bhutan. 

At first glance it doesn’t seem all that unique. After running down my grocery list for this and the red rice (recipe coming up next)- peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro…I had to double check the map to see if I had inadvertently stumbled down to Mexico.


However, the distinguishing ingredient in ema dashi is the cheese-typically homemade from the curd of  yaks.  Since yak cheese is not so plentiful in these parts, my chosen recipe suggests feta does the job just fine.

Multiple sources for this dish warn that it is H.O.T. hot.  While I regularly overdo the Sriracha sauce and dive into any hot salsa, these warnings made me nervous. In order to temper the heat a hit, I subbed out a few of the jalapenos for some poblanos, and took the seeds out of all the peppers but one.


It was still SO hot. I could not fool the ema dashiit will be what it will be.

Served with a red rice pilaf, it was nonetheless delicious.

Recipe adapted from My Fudo


2 jalapeno peppers, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed if you’re heat shy

2 Poblano peppers, sliced lengthwise

1 ½ cups water

1 medium yellow onion, chopped lengthwise

2 tomatoes, diced

8 oz feta or farmer’s cheese

5 cloves of garlic, finely crushed

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp coconut oil

Red Rice or white rice to serve

lime juice, to taste** (Not authentic. My addition.  I come from Florida- we put lime juice on everything)


1. In a medium pot, add the oil, peppers and chopped onions.  Cook about 4 minutes, just to soften them up a bit.

2.  Add the water and boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and boil for another 2 minutes.

3. Add cheese and let it remain for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the cilantro and turn off the heat. Stir. Put a lid on the pot for another 2-3 minutes.

5. Serve on red or white rice.  And plain yogurt if you need to cool it down a bit..



It may be something perfectly different (and vegetarian) to take to your Super Bowl party this weekend.


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  1. We’re Rice Men: Bhutanese Red Rice Pilaf | The Hungary Buddha Eats the World
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