Emma Datschi[1]

		This is a take on what might be called the national
		dish of Bhutan by a western cook.  See notes below for
		more details on original ingredients and the slightly
		contrived "authentic taste" using the ingredients
		readily available in the west.  This is HOT; it is
		supposed to be.


	2-3 TBS usli ghee (My substitute for yak butter)
	[You can use ordinary butter, and while browning the butter
	 and then turning the heat down before adding anything
	 is actually a good idea, burning it is not.  Ghee, in the
	 generic Indian sense will also work.]

	[If you have to, these can be omitted, but please do not.]
	4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
	1   walnut sized piece of ginger, finely minced
	@   lemon zest of 1/2 lemon, grated

	2+  cups  jalapeños, seeded, then longitudinally, and thinly sliced
		[I assume here that in the US you cannot import the
		 appropriate Bhutanese "bird shit" peppers.]
	1   medium onion, peeled, halved and cut in thin crescents

	Spice mixture in a small bowl:
	1/4       tsp ground turmeric
	1/2 - 1   tsp ground Szechuan flower peppercorns [See Note #5]
	1         healthy pinch of ground Cinnamon (Ceylonese)
	1/4 - 1   tsp ground Habanero pepper powder (homemade)
		[My medium choice is 1/2 tsp habanero powder approximately
		 = 2 tsp cayenne powder]

	2   tomatoes, diced
	1   tomato
	1   cup canned tomato purée

	juice of 1/2 lemon
	2-4 TBS water or buttermilk

	1/4 lb crumbled blue cheese
		(Some have also suggested feta,
		but, I think the blue cheese is a better idea, giving
		the dish a characteristic flavor that is then distinctly
		not Greek, as the combination of tomatoes, peppers,
		onions & feta would instantly imply a sauce that often
		comes with the culinary designation, Santorini.
		I also have the the impression that blue cheese is
		closer in flavor to datschi.  See below on its Tibetan

		Try a mix of the two cheeses, perhaps even combined further
		with another white melting cheese, e.g., Cream Cheese.

	skillet with tight cover


	1. Melt and heat the ghee in the pan over a medium heat.

	   All along, here, I am assuming cooking at near sea level,
	   not at the dizzying heights and rarefied atmosphere of
	   Bhutan.  The fires of wood stoves will simply not burn
	   with the same heat and temperature as will a wood stove
	   at sea level: it is the difference in oxygen concentration.
	   Keep this in mind regarding cooking in the Himalayas,
	   generally.  The cooking is with lower temperatures, and
	   most often covered, to conserve heat.

	2. Add and Fry the garlic, ginger, then lemon zest, and spice
	   collection about a minute (or add the zest and spices
	   later at step 4).

	3. Add, mix and fry the onions until the inevitable slices are
	   all separated into cresents, and coated with the now turmeric
	   colored oil.  Remember this is not a stir fry, so keep the
	   temperature moderate; too high and you risk burning the
	   turmeric.  This is Bhutanese style, not Indian and not Chinese;
	   we are not browning anything  Much of Bhutanese cooking
	   involves gentle steaming, though it may not be put that way
	   to a western cook.

	   Now, add the jalapeños and mix and fry for about one or two

	4. Add and mix in the spice mixture, if you didn't in step 1.

	5. Cover, lower heat to barely simmering and cook for about
	   30-60 minutes, until the peppers and onions are nicely softened
	   and no longer crunchy.  You are steaming the vegetables,
	   and the hot peppers are really the star vegetable.  You want
	   the vegetables just cooked and softened, not reduced to mush.
	   Before covering, you may want to add a TBS or two of water
	   to promote steaming and the releasing of their liquids by
	   the vegetables.

	6. Add and mix in the tomatoes, lemon juice and water or
	   buttermilk.  simmer for about 15-30 minutes.  Experience
	   will tell whether and when to cover so that the end result
	   is neither too soupy or too dry.  You will probably want
	   some reduction of liquids along the way.

	7. Add the crumbled cheese.  Stir until the cheese melts into
	   sauce to make a thick creamy sauce.  That is sauce, not paste.
	   If you need to adjust to thinner, simply add hot water TBS by
	   TBS mixing each in at every addition until you have what you

	8. If you feel especially festive, sprinkle a little chopped
	   cilantro and or chives over the top before serving.

	9. Serve with rice.  If you haven't, try Basmati rice with it.
	   The Bhutanese frequently serve a white rice and red rice
	   simultaneously.  This can be a snack, and goes with almost
	   anything, and so is also often part of every Bhutanese meal.

	   It will keep in a cold refrigerator for weeks, and reheats
	   easily without losing its flavors or potency; piquance may
	   even increase in this.  On reheating, be gentle and don't
	   boil it.


	0. This recipe scales very well, and can be at least doubled
	   easily, but expect the cooking times to be longer.

	   The proprtions are rather approximate, and the
	   nature of the ingredients make this recipe much like a
	   musical score by Bach: there is not very much you can do
	   to it to make something ruinous, though you can bring it
	   to pinnacles of excellance.  Experiment to find the
	   set of proportions that suit you personally, using the exact
	   ingredients that you do use.

	   I consider this to be merely an explicit understanding of
	   the dish, not a definition; take it or leave it.

	1. Also variously spelled, Ema Datshi, Emadatze, or Ema Datse.
	   At least a half dozen languages are spoken in this small
	   Himalayan country; the official Sino-Tibetan language (with
	   several dialects), Djongka like the others is not written
	   using the Roman alphabet; different people have different
	   ideas of how to approximate the sounds using the Roman alphabet.

	2. Though not a soup, it is much like some of the cheese "sopas"
	   of Mexico, and also rather like one called Chiles con Queso.
	   Like that, thinning with some sort of broth, or
	   even water can transform it into a soup.

	   Also see the Tibetan cheese soup, Churu.  That is also the
	   name of the cheese used, and it is, I am told, well approximated
	   in flavor by our blue cheese.

	3. I had to do some approximations - and turned to several
	   Bhutanese people's ideas on the matter for guidance.

	   Let's face it, yak butter is not something you find next to
	   the Roadkill Helper in the US.  The "cheese" in question,
	   datschi, is even more impossible: cooked, churned yak whey,
	   further fired and cured for a long - very long time over
	   a fire.  You'll just have to go to Bhutan to get it.

	   The Bhutanese live on hot peppers, and natively, I'm told,
	   this dish is screamingly pepper hot - but then I don't know the
	   palates of those telling the tale.  To me, few things are
	   screamingly hot.

	   It seems that the Bhutanese standard (Capiscum Annum) hot
	   peppers are the same (or very close in appearance, anyhow -
	   resembling a thick serrano pepper) as the Thai hot peppers,
	   hotter than jalapeños, but not near so hot as Habaneros
	   (apparently the very hottest there are).  Simply using
	   jalapeños, with no extra piquance would probably be already
	   more than most westerners could stand; but who cares about
	   them; we do things the way things should be done.

	   This is a hot dish, the way the Bhutanese like it.  Many
	   Bhutanese there figure that if the piquance of the food
	   doesn't make you sweat, it is really not worth eating.

	4. Regarding the Szechuan flower peppercorns: The Chinese spice
	   is Xanthoxylum piperitum, and this is what one usually gets
	   in the US by that name.  There are, however, different, related
	   spices in different countries that are called by the same name.
	   The Tibetan/Nepalese/Bhutanese spice called "Emma" is actually
	   Xanthoxylum alatum, and it has in addition to the common
	   terpene flavoring, components of limalool, limonene, methyl
	   cinnamate and cineol.  Hence, the compensatory addition of the
	   grated lemon zest and the healthy pinch of "cinnamon", which is
	   now rather universally called that, though what you are buying
	   in the US is really cassia bark.  Real cinnamon, from Ceylon
	   (Sri Lanka), if you can ever find it in US would be almost
	   prohibitively expensive.  Fortunately, the cassia bark is a
	   fairly reasonable substitute, and is even more potent (and
	   more biting) than true Ceylonese cinnamon.

	5. While I've tried to be a bit anally clever in reproducing
	   an authentic taste, leaving out some of these clever twists
	   will still give a perfectly good dish with most of the
	   same properties.  What I have definitely not tried to do is
	   assemble some variative simulation that conforms to the
	   Western palate.  To do that would be simplicity itself:
	   just fry up a mess tomatoes, peppers and onions in some
	   soy oil, and add a cup of sugar.

	   Interestingly, I have seen a few recipes for Emma Datschi
	   on the web, and not even one of these bother with the "Emma"
	   part of the dish.  Westerners who have visited Bhutan seem
	   taken solely with the dish's fiery nature, and somehow seem
	   to think that the Emma part is naming the hot peppers, thus
	   missing one of the two essential aspects of Emma Datschi
	   implied by the name.  The hot peppers are implicitly understood
	   and not even suggested in the name.  Even the Bhutanese who
	   have written recipes neglect this essential ingredient,
	   supposing perhaps the it would be unpalatable to westerners,
	   or figuring that there would be no point in calling for it
	   when it is generally unavailable outside of their Himalayan

	   This same spice is also used in Tibetan cuisine, where for
	   some reason in Roman transliteration it is almost always
	   spelled "ema".






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