Bhutanese Flag

Unusual Fact: In 2010 the UN conducted a test to see which was the world happiest country. Bhutan ended up on top

Courtesy of the Gaurdian
Courtesy of the guardian

So this week we cooked from Bhutan. It was a four course meal. With dumplings, one thing I never knew was how international dumplings actually are. Have a look at this Wikipedia site, you can really see the range.

Dumplings around the world - Ocean Beach Bulletin
Dumplings around the world – Ocean Beach Bulletin

Bhutan is known as the land of the thunder dragon. As the thunder dragon is on their flag. You may have heard of the tigers monastery nest. It is a monastery in the mountains of Bhutan, it was built-in the sixteen hundreds in the Guru Padmasambhava (the second buddha) was said to have meditated.

Tigers Nest Monastry - Pbase
Tigers Nest monastery – Pbase

While the hail storms swept across our front yard we prepared our meal for Bhutan. Unfortunately the hail came one day to early. It would have been great to have been eating a global meal while watching the world go on around us in a very intense way. A bit like we did with Argentina.



So what did we make. As I said earlier, we did a four-part meal. Meal one and two were joined together to form one main course.

The first meal was buckwheat dumpling. As I said before dumplings do wander from the borders of China. In this instance, into Bhutan. Buckwheat flour is a flour that has been ground from buckwheat. We had the option of getting wholemeal or not. We got the or not version as it would be better for dumplings. We bought ours from an organic heath food shop but apparently you can buy it at Coles.

Buckwheat - An Apple a Day
Buckwheat – An Apple a Day
Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat Flour

The filling for the dumpling was delicious, the bok choy was a fantastic base for the other ingredients. We only did 1/4 of a teaspoon of chilli but you can do the full if you so choose. We had some left over so we had it with some asparagus the next day for dinner.

Bhutanese Asparagus
Bhutanese Asparagus

This recipe was from The World Cookbook For Students. Folding the dumplings was tricky. The recipe asks for the dough to be cut into a 5 by 15cm rectangle then folded over. Our dough split when we did it that way so we did it money bag style.








The dish that went with the dumplings was Ema Datshi, the national dish of Bhutan. Ema Datshi is a chilli and cheese sauce over some cooked red rice. The red rice we got from our local organic food shop.

Red rice

The traditional and authentic type of cheese used is only available in Bhutan, so we had to compensate. We used two types of cheese, Danish fetta and mozzarella. The fetta was nice and salty, while the mozzarella was plain but stringy. Together they were delicious. Instead of chilli was used two capsicum and four small green chilli which aren’t too spicy. If you’re a fan of chilli than you can buy two big chilli’s and slice them the same way that we sliced the capsicum. We deseeded our chilli’s. I got my recipe from here but used some different cheeses in the same quantities. We also added come coriander.

The next course was a drink. Butter Tea. This type of tea is enjoyed throughout the Himalayas. I found it quite nice and warming though some of the others didn’t. It is slightly salty and you can taste the butter in the background but I like that. I loved churning it, I poured my mix into a bowl and used a stick mixer to churn it. I loved the froth that was made. I got this recipe from here.

Finally, Mango ice, or Aap ko Kulfi. I loved making this, every step of the way. It was very easy and delicious. Though it makes a lot, our food processor was about 2mm from overflowing. I was very refreshing and yummy. It did taste a little sweet so I added some lime juice to tone it down a little.


Mum 4 “the filling was yum but the dough was really thick and heavy”

Dad 4 “the dumpling skin needed to be thick to hold contents which overcame the taste sensation”

Angus 31/2  “middle bit and the outside was gross”

Me 6 “yum but the skin was too thick”

Ema Datshi

Mum 9 “really interesting combination of flavours, I would like to try it hotter”

Dad 9 ” a fulfilling meal with the cheese combination being the highlight”

Angus 7 1/2

Me 9 “the cheese sauce and the rice worked really well together”

Butter Tea

Mum 2 “not to my liking”

Dad 3 “tasted like tea with butter in it”

Angus 9 “it was scrummy, I love butter, and I love tea, so naturally I loved it”

Me 8 “I quite liked it”

Mango Ice

Mum 9 “deliciously refreshing”

Dad 9.1 “texture was extra icy, and mango is always a hit in this family”

Angus 9 “oo dats cold”

Me 9 “lovely and refreshing”


Buckwheat Dumplings


1 pound bok choy, quartered

3 Tbs poppy seeds

1/4 tsp szechuan peppercorns

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled

1 small red or other onion quartered

1.2 cup crumbled or grated cheese

1 tsp chilli powder

1/4 salt

4 ounces ghee or melted butter


Blanch bok choy in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain squeeze dry.

Grind Poppy seeds and szechuan peppercorns in a mortar or food processor.

Add garlic and ginger, then onion, into food processor and chop fine.

Add the bok choy, poppy-seed mixture, cheese, chilli powder, salt and ghee, process until just combined, for about 10 seconds, not pureed.


2 cups wheat flour

1 cup buckwheat flour (if not available, substitute wheat flour)

1 cup water

flour for dusting


Mix flours and water in a food processor

Mix only until the mixture forms a ball

Remove dough and knead well for 10 minutes until smooth

Buckwheat  doughs are always very heavy and stiff

Form into a ball and let rest for at least 30 minutes

Knead and again briefly, and divide the dough into 4 portions.

Take one portion, and cover the rest with a damp towel to keep moist.

Between floured sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick, dusting with extra flour to prevent sticking

Cut the rolled out dough into 2×4 inch rectangles

Fill each rectangle with 1 tsp of filling

Brush edges lightly with water and fold over seal, pressing edges firmly

NOTE: We did not make our dumplings this way, we did ours money bag style

Place filled dumplings on a floured tray while rolling out the rest of the dough portions

Drop dumplings a few at a time in plenty of simmering water

Let cook for 7-8 minutes (we did 4) after they float

Drain and transfer to individual serving plates

Serve at once

Ema Datshi


2 capsicums
4 small green chilli’s
4 oz danish fetta
2 cups grated mozzarella

water as needed


1. Slice peppers into strips, removing seeds if desired.

2. Cook in oil over medium heat until soft. (Cover your pot)

NOTE: You must cover the pot or you will be smoked out. It will hurt your eyes and throats

3. Stir in cheese off the heat (or risk having curdled cheese – yuck!) and let melt. Stir in water until sauce becomes creamy (I used about 1/3 cup). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now, pour into a serving bowl or directly over cracked red rice.

Ema Datshi and Dumplings

Ema Datshi and Dumplings

Butter Tea


4 cups of water

2 tea bags of plain black tea

1/4 tsp salt

2 TBS butter

1/3 cup milk


Boil water

Place tea bags in water and let steep for a couple of minutes

Add salt and stir

Remove tea bags and add milk or a teaspoon of milk powder

Pour your tea into a bowl with the butter, allow the butter to melt, then churn it with a stick mixer or a whisk for 2 to three minutes

Serve straight away

Butter Tea
Butter Tea

Mango Ice – Aap ko Kulfi


  • 1 cup mango slices in syrup
  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 oz finely chopped unsalted pistachios (or almonds)


  1. Put mangoes with syrup and pulp into a food processor.
  2. Blend to a fine puree.
  3. Add milk, condensed milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and blend well.
  4. Pour into small cone-shaped molds and freeze.
Mango Ice - I know bad photography
Mango Ice – I know bad photography

3 thoughts on “Bhutan

  1. Hi Elly
    Interesting, I always like mango.
    I guess there is a skill to getting the dumpling case just right…so, more practice!
    Love PaMac

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