Here’s Karma’s recipe for Emadatse, slightly adapted for the non-Bhutanese palate. (If you want to hire Karma to cook some Bhutanese food for you, I’ll send you her number.)
Good Karma’s Taste of Bhutan
(feeds one Bhutanese; five non-spice fans)
Chillies – about 10 pieces (serano, jalapeno, bell peppers – these all can be used depending on the level of hotness one wants to have)
Cheese – Monterey Jack shredded – 1 cup (some like it cheesier so you can add half cup or more depending on how cheesey you want it)
Olive oil or butter – (2 T. olive oil or 1/2 stick of butter- butter helps to tone down some of the spiciness of the chillies)
Salt to taste
Optional additions to absorb the heat:
Potatoes (5 small, very thinly sliced – makes this recipe kewa-datse)
Mushrooms (10 of any kind; chanterelles are common in the summer around Bhutan but are pricey here)
1 medium onion – julienned
2 medium tomatoes – chopped in bite size pieces
3 garlic pieces – not the whole clove – it would make it too garlicky
Warm the oil or butter. Turn heat down to low.
Chop the chillies, add the grated cheese, salt, and any optional items you desire.
Stir for 10-15 minutes, depending on how “al dente” you like veggies. Serve over heaping plates of white or pink Bhutanese rice.
Sake or Soju is as close as you’ll get to Bhutanese rice wine, ara. Or have a beer to cut the heat!
NOTE: DO NOT put chillies in boiling water – it enhances the spiciness of the chillies – also it will blanch green chillies. Always put chillies in cold water to cook if you do not want them to be spicy.
Traditional emadatse is just the chillies and cheese.