Cheese. Spice. Cheese. Spice. If you’re still with me, you’re going to love Bhutanese Ema Datshi.

Ema Datshi can be prepared a variety of ways. I’m basing mine mostly on Druk Girl‘s recipe.


  • 6-10 mixed red and green chiles, sliced into strips – you can de-seed for less heat or keep the seeds in for a more authentic prep but this can be very spicy depending on the peppers you use.
  • 1 onion, cut into strips
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • about 1/2 tomato, chopped (I used a handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes for a richer flavor)
  • about 1/2 cup fresh grated cheese good for melting (farmer’s cheese, raclette, etc.)
  • about 1-2 tablespoons crumbled bleu, gorgonzola, or other molded cheese – in older recipes of ema datshi a molded cheese would be used but this is less common in modern preparations so I’m using a small amount to preserve the flavor profile
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Rice or naan for serving (pita will work in a pinch) – rice is more traditional

Total prep time for me was 35 minutes (21:15 to 21:50), your time will vary.

Here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Fry the onions and garlic for about ten to fifteen minutes in the oil on medium-low heat
  • Add the tomato, chilies, and water and increase the heat to medium-high
  • Cook covered for 5 minutes
  • Turn off heat and sprinkle cheese on top of the cooked mixture. Re-cover and allow the cheese to melt on the residual heat.
  • Stir and serve over rice or scooped onto naan/pita

That’s it! When I first started this cook I was concerned the heat would be overwhelming but honestly it was damn near perfect; excellent flavor and powerful heat without taking away from the other ingredients. If the heat ends up being too much sip some very cold milk to slowly neutralize the oil residues in your mouth. Total cook time for me was 55 minutes (21:15 to 22:10).