Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reading Notes: Other people's recipes


I wanted to share to some recent-ish blog posts with recipes ( and great photos) of two Bhutanese dishes: Bathup ( homemade noodle soup) and Hoentoe ( buckwheat dumplings)

 The first is from a blog kept by Andrea, the Australian teacher in Bumthang who I have mentioned in a previous Reading Notes. She write about preparing a vegetarian version of Bathup. If you ( like me!) still prefer your noodle soup with some bones and mustard greens you can find our version on my blog here.

The second is from a blog kept by Matt, another Australian teacher working in Bhutan. He recently wrote about a trip to Haa where Hoentoe are made to celebrate Lomba. In my post on Hoentoe nearly a year ago I wrote about the pleasures of eating these delicious dumplings, Matt however is able to show and tell you how to make them!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reading Note: a nutritional take on Suja

I noticed that someone recently found this blog with the keyword search "calories in bhutaneese suja " ( sic) .  I am sure anyone who has had a cup and seen the way that a shiny layer of oil sits on top of the tea has probably wondered the same thing. I have an answer of sorts.

The wonderful K2 weekend magazine ( hands down one of the most consistently interesting and well-written publications in Bhutan)  that come with the Kuensel on Saturday recently did a really great issue on tea . They included  an interview with a local nutritionist Laigden Dzed  asking just that question. Sadly suja fan are not going to like the answer.  He advises that anything more than one cup of suja once a month is too much!  He notes that a single teaspoon of butter has 45 calories and to put it mildly the average cup of suja has many a teaspoon of butter!

Friday, January 3, 2014

More cheese please!

Bhutanese frequently use cheese in their cooking, particularly vegetable dishes. However many households are now more likely to use imported processed Indian cheese to cook with then the traditional Bhutanese datsi. Datshi is made from buttermilk and frequently described as cottage cheese, except a lot of the moisture you expect in cottage cheese is squeezed out as the cheese compressed into palm-sized white balls. Datsi is still available but quality varies widely. We are loath to eat it fresh unless it made by my aunt who still has her own cows and still make her own cheese.  

One quick and easy datshi dish we ONLY make with our aunt cheese, is fried datshi. Its a go-to-dish in our household when a meat-eater unexpectedly shows up for a dinner that is mostly vegetarian.

Recently Sonny and my cousin Bones who is currently living with us, let me photograph the process of making some emergency fried datshi.

The first step is crush the ball of datshi. You can either use a ladle to do the crushing like my cousin Bones or just use your hand like Sonny on the right.


The next step is optional, which is to finely chop some green chili. Bones removed the seeds to bring the heat down a little bit



The you want to melt butter in a deep frying pan to which you first add some beaten eggs. Then you add the broken up cheese.....





... and shortly after that the chopped green chili which gives the mixture a nice pop of green.



The mixture has to be stirred more or less continuously until it becomes a large sticky mass.  To serve you cut pieces off of it much as you would if you were sharing an omelet.