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Bhutan Cooking School by Diki @ MK Musk Restaurant at Centre Point, Clock Tower Square, Thimphu

You know right, one of the pro-tips for a travelling foodie is to enrol in a reputable local cooking class. You get a get quick hands on introduction to the country's cuisine and likely even the best foodie stall / restaurant tips from knowledgeable locals.

So I am enrolled in cooking class personally conducted by Diki, chef and owner of Musk MK restaurant at Centre Point, Clock Tower Square in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

Diki showed me how to make five traditional Bhutanese dishes. She made it look easy 🤭 and generously gave me the recipes which I used for this article.

Clockwise from left, spinach stew, pork pa, chili cheese, trout stew, and chicken stew.

Bhutanese cuisine is one of the most delicious in the world. No kidding.

PORK PA

I love fatty pork in Bhutan and how they cook it 😋

Ingredients

Pork
Onion
Tomato
Spinach
Salt
Oil
Dried red Bhutanese chilli

METHOD 

Heat oil 

Put onion and fry till golden brown

Put tomatoes and fry till it's a little cooked

Put pork and then put water, and let the water reduce (dry). Once the pork is cooked, put spinach and dried red Bhutanese Ema (chili pepper) and cover it, let it simmer for a short while.

Our pork pa is ready 😋

Bhutanese cuisine uses no spices (no cinnamon, no star anise, no clove, no, no, no), no sauces (no fish sauce, no soy sauce, no ketchup), no vinegar, no alcohol, no MSG (needless to say).

All flavours come from fresh or air dried produce, herbs and aromatics which are either stir fried in oil, boiled, sautéed, simmered or stewed in its own juices and / or water.

Bhutanese cuisine has a kind of refreshing, healthful feeling clean taste. We get a more direct connection with the fresh ingredients and so, enjoy it more.

JHASA MARU (CHICKEN STEW)

Ingredients

Chicken
Onion
Garlic
Ginger
Tomato
Oil
Butter
Chilli powder
Salt
Green chilli

METHOD 

Cut the chicken into small pieces

Heat oil 

Put onion and fry till golden brown

Put the chicken and fry for some time till the chicken looks a little brown

Put ginger and garlic paste, tomato and chilli powder. Fry is for a minute 

Then, put water just enough to cover the chicken

Once it comes to a boil put the minced green chilli, salt and a small piece of butter

Let it boil for another 2 to 3 mins.

You may garnish with minced coriander leaves (it is optional}.

RAINBOW TROUT

Ingredients

Rainbow trout
Onion
Tomato
Garlic
Butter
Oil
Ealt
Coriander
Chilli powder
Green Chilli.

METHOD 

Cut the trout into equal sizes

Put the trout in a pan. Put onion, tomato and garlic over the uncooked trout

Pour water over it till it covers the ingredients

Then, put oil and chilli powder

Bring it to boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes

Stir the trout with a very light hand (so as not to break the delicate fish meat)

Once the onion tomato and trout is almost cooked put butter and garnish with coriander leaves

Add salt 😋

EMA DATSI (Chilli Cheese, national dish of Bhutan)

Ingredients

Bhutanese green chilli
Garlic
Tomato
Cottage cheese
Processed cheese
Salt
Oil
Butter

METHOD

Cut the fleshy chilli into lengthwise strips and put it in a pan 

Cut the garlic cloves into two halves and put over the chilli. Add diced tomatoes too

Put cottage cheese and a slice of processed cheese

Put salt and pour water till the chilli is covered

Bring it to boil

Add a small chunk of butter.

Let it cook till the cheese melts

Once the cheese melts, stir it and ema datsi is ready 😋

JHAJU (SPINACH STEW)

Ingredients

Spinach
Tomato
Onion
Ginger
Milk
Butter
Oil
Salt

METHOD 

Cut spinach into small pieces

Heat oil in a pan

Put onion and fry

Put tomato and ginger, and fry for 2 mins

Put the spinach and fry for a while

Put water, salt and butter.

Once it boils put a little milk and bring it come to boil

Our spinach stew is ready 😋

All five dishes done. Let's eat!

Bhutanese eat these dishes with rice and enjoy them with their hand and fingers.

Boiled rice is hand rolled into a small ball or lump.


Using the thumb, a big dimple is made in the ball of rice which serves as a kind of spoon to scoop up food to eat with the rice.  

So cool!

Bhutan_Cooking_School_Thimphu_MK_Restaurant

Give these recipes a try. I feel confident about Bhutanese cuisine as the ingredients are not exotic - they are available in most supermarkets around the world. It requires no special equipment and does not demand acrobatic techniques. And, equally important, its tastes are uniquely delicious. Worth trying your hand at it, for the family. Impress your friends at potlucks 🤭

Acknowledgement and credit: These recipes are wholly by Diki, chef and owner of The Musk MK Restaurant in Thimphu, Bhutan

More Johor Kaki articles about Bhutan 👈 click



Restaurant name: MK Restaurant, Thimphu, Centre Point


Address: Centre Point, Clock Tower Square, Thimphu


Tel: +975 1762 9199


Hours: 10am - 10pm (Mon off)




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Written by Tony Boey on 30 Dec 2023

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