Monday Meal Review: Bhutan

This is meal #20 in my personal challenge to eat one meal from every country in the world.

Last week, during our Beninese Global Table, we were in the midst of expelling an evil kidney stone. I’m sad to say the misery continues. Poor Keith is a trooper, but he’s getting a little ansy to do something besides pain pills.

I have high hopes that this week’s Bhutanese Global Table will get Keith’s Kidney Stone a-movin.’ All that spice and butter has to be good for something (besides tasty goodness). Keep your fingers crossed.

Butter Grilled Poblanos [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

I love the mild heat of roasted poblanos in the summer, especially when the heat index is 105 (that’s Oklahoma for ya!). So what about poblanos stuffed with butter and grilled? To borrow an Oklahoman expression, I “might-could” marry one. After two simple minutes of prep, the forest green pepper takes on a rich, smoky flavor that goes well with just about anything. What’s better than that?

Oh yeah. I know. The hot gush of butter that oozes out when you cut into it. That’s better. Definitely.

What I like least about this dish:

The only problem with this recipe is that you cannot turn the poblano once you start cooking. If you do, a boiling geiser of butter will spill out from your incision, all over the grill (I don’t recommend it – very hot and dangerous). What you really want to happen is for the butter to ooze out, onto your plate (maybe over the rice, even) and then into your belly. And that, my friends, tastes like good!

Since you can’t turn these babies, you’ll need to watch your heat and make sure they don’t get scorched on the bottom. Keeping them over indirect heat will help a great deal.

Ema Datshi (chili pepper and cheese sauce) [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

Many people compare Ema Datshi to fiery hot queso. In some ways I agree, but it really depends on the cheese you use. I stirred a combination of Monterey Jack with a little Farmer’s cheese into the Anaheim and Serrano chilies. The flavor was good, albeit not traditional (see below).

I love that this recipe is flexible enough that you can use any chili peppers that suit your taste (mild, medium, or hot).

What I like least about this dish:

The hardest part about Ema Datshi is making it authentic. First, the Bhutanese use Yak cheese which is not easily found, at least not here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Let me know if you have Yak cheese where you live, though!

Many people use Danish feta as a substitute, but I’d read that the Yak cheese is a type of farmer’s cheese so I bought some Friendship farmer’s cheese and tried that. Hmm. First try, everything was too hot and curdled. Second try, let’s just say the texture was not at all creamy. See this ricotta-looking Ema Datshi in the background?

My third and final try finally got it right. Well, as right as I am going to get it without Yak cheese. From the pictures I saw, this dish needs to be creamy… which is why I ended up using Monterey Jack – for a more authentic texture.

Cracked Red Rice [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

The most fantastic thing about Red Rice is that it is as easy as white rice to make. After just 16 minutes of simmering (with whatever seasonings you like), you’ve got the perfect side dish. There’s something about the wheaty, nutty flavor… I imagine this grain could stand up to anything you put on it. My husband didn’t look twice at it either, but then again, he’s getting used to eating whatever I put in front of him. Red Rice is definitely going into our rotation of grains from now on.

What I like least about this dish:

Red Rice can be difficult to find. I lucked out and found it in “cracked” form at my local Indian Market. Cracked just means that the grains are smaller – cracked in half. Anyway, I like to “Eat Global, Shop Local” so I hope you can find this wonderful grain for sale in a shop near you. If not, I did happen to see it in various online stores.

Butter Tea [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

What a conversation starter! Would you like some butter tea? Butter what? Butter tea! What’s that… Tea with butter, of course! 😀 I’m told this drink is especially good in the winter. I’ll have to give it a try on a snowy day. It’s not very different than adding cream, especially if you stir it vigorously to break up the butter slick that inevitably forms.

What I like least about this dish:

I have no business putting butter in my tea. It erases any workout I just did (or think about doing). But there’s something super thrilling about drinking it anyway, like licking the brownie bowl.

What do you have to lose? A teabag, a drop of milk, some butter, and five minutes? I’m here to get you off the fence. Try the Butter Tea.

Himalayan Fruit Salad [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

Stacked fruit looks clean and pretty. How could anyone resist snacking on these. In fact, if you had a child who was fighting fresh fruit, this might be the way to convince them.

What I like least about this dish:

I suppose I’d have to say all the little odds and ends of fruit that don’t work for the cubes. But, really you can just freeze them for smoothies, or do like I did and eat the scraps as you go!

Ava’s Corner

She ate up some rice, but by the time we offered her the poblano she was a little … well … take a look.


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