Ema Datsi ( Chilli Cheese)


The most famous dish of  Bhutan is  the classy Ema Datsi ( Ema means Chilli and Datsi means cheese) Fresh cottage cheese would give it more flavor and taste.

People visiting the country are awestruck as they realize that chilli is consumed as vegetable.

I love dried chilli especially for ema datsi. Red or green chillies will always hold a special place in my kitchen as they add so much flavor and texture and chilli never go out of season.

Ema Datsi is ubiquitous. Lunches  and dinners in every special events, festivals and gatherings  be it private or public , Ema Datsi will be served. Indeed, Ema Datsi holds a special place in every Bhutanese homes.

Luckily I have some sun dried red chillies from home. A friend gave me some when she returned from home a few weeks ago.

The images below show the traditional ways of drying chillies in the sun. If you happen to go to rural Bhutan in October and November, you will be greeted by red rooftops and garlands of red chillies hanging from the window facing sun.

Photo Courtesy- google
Photo Courtesy- google

Photo courtesy- google

Serves 4-

Preparation time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients: ( you can add use ginger and coriander leaves)

  1. 6 dried red chillies
  2. 3 garlic cloves- crushed or sliced
  3. 1/2 onion finely sliced
  4. 3-4  cheese slices
  5. salt
  6. 3 tablespoon cooking oil
  7. spring onion



  1. Cut chillies into half as shown in the image below;


2. Finely chop onion, garlic and spring onion


3. Then put all ingredients into a pot ( except garlic), add a cup of cold water,salt to taste and 3 tablespoon of cooking oil. I am using olive oil here. Bring to boil in medium heat.


4.  Add cheese ( 3-4 slices) after 5 minutes of cooking with the lid on.


5. When the cheese starts to melt, add garlic, put lid on for 2 minutes, stir and turn off the heat.


6. Ready to serve with rice. You can also serve it with toast and roti ( Indian bread)


4 thoughts on “Ema Datsi ( Chilli Cheese)

  1. Thank you for the recipe.I tried it and was really delicious.;) Everyone should take a taste of Ema Datsi.It is so delicious. 😉


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