Month: June 2010

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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 …

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Butter Tea

Serves 1 Butter and tea are two of my favorite things!  This rich and flavorful drink is popular in Bhutan, especially during the cold winter months. The secret is to stir the tea vigorously/froth to blend and eliminate any the “greasiness.” Ingredients: All ingredients are to taste. Hot water Black Tea Butter (preferably Yak butter, if available) Milk or cream Method: 1.  Boil water. Add tea to desired strength. I like 1 teabag per cup. 2. Add butter and milk/cream to taste (about 1/4 tsp). Stir vigorously and drink immediately. I think it is important to use a mug you really like. Here’s the one Keith picked out: I dig it. Here’s mine: Let’s get started. First, the water because it’s just oh, so pretty! Then we’ll add a teabag and watch the goodness leach out, into the water. And then, the magic… a bit o’ butter. Please use the real thing! Milk and cream make everything better… Stir it up… You know what to do next. Smiles all around! See Bhutanese Meal Review to …

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Cracked Red Rice

Serves 2-4 Red Rice is enjoyed in Bhutan, especially under spicy curries, like Ema Datshi. Ingredients: 1 tsp oil 2 cups water 1 cup cracked red rice salt & pepper Method: 1. Add oil and rice to a small pot over medium heat. Toast rice for a few minutes. Add water and seasonings. Bring to a boil. 2. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 16 minutes. Don’t peek! I want you to promise… 3. Remove from heat and uncover. Let sit for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately. NOTE: The red in red rice apparently floats around and settles, as you can see in this photo. Don’t worry! It all gets mixed back in. Serve hot with something tasty, like Ema Datshi. 12345 Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Red Rice is enjoyed in Bhutan, especially under spicy curries, like Ema Datshi.Cracked Red Rice Lifestyle5-ingredients or less, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian Food TypeRice Servings Prep Time 2-4people 5minutes Cook Time Passive Time 16minutes 5minutes Servings Prep Time 2-4people 5minutes …

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Butter Grilled Poblanos

Makes 1 Butter Grilled Poblano Here’s to my new favorite way to eat peppers! I got the idea from Kunzang Choden, a Bhutanese author who speaks of her father grilling chili peppers this way. We had to wait as he incised slits in the chillies and filled them with fresh butter and salt. When the chillies were ready they were put on bamboo skewers and placed over the flames in the hearth. After much sizzling and hissing took place, each of us received two to three chillies on our rice. The chilli would be slightly roasted from the outside, and the butter inside would have melted and absorbed into the chilli. Kunzang Choden You can make this easy side dish with your favorite peppers, big or small, bell or habanero. Ingredients: 1 Poblano 1 tab butter Method: 1. Cut a slit into the side of the poblano. Carefully push a tab of butter inside the pepper. 2. Grill over low/indirect heat until soft and slightly charred. I let mine get kinda dark on the bottom, …

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Chili Cheese Stew/Curry | Ema Datshi

Serves 2-4 Ema Datshi is considered the national dish of Bhutan and it’s traditionally screaming hot! Use whatever chili peppers you like, from mild poblano, to scorching thai bird chilies. My blend of Anaheim and Serrano chilies is very hot, but you can reduce the heat by leaving out the seeds. In Bhutan they serve Ema Datshi over rice (pictured here with cracked red rice). My husband likes dipping corn chips into the cheesy goodness. I’d like to tell you he’s a fool but, really, the combination was excellent. Traditionally served with cracked red rice. Ingredients: 2 anaheim pepper 1 serrano chili 1/4 cup farmer’s cheese 2 cups grated monterey jack water as needed Method: 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. The spicy fumes as they fried in the oil literally sent daggers into our eyes and throats. Ava actually woke up from her nap, three rooms away, …

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Interesting Rituals Bhutan (with poll)

Happy Friday everyone! My Bhutanese Fun Facts got a little … er … racy this week. My apologies, in advance. I made every effort to keep things PG 13. Enjoy! When falling of a cliff is a good thing… In parts of eastern Bhutan it is forbidden to kill an animal. However, if the animal falls of a cliff and dies, then the meat can be consumed. Cooking is simple when the main ingredient is always the same… Most meals have chili peppers in them, which can be bought in abundance at the markets. You can’t smoke, but you can still get cancer… The sale of tobacco is banned in Bhutan (no other country in the world has done this). Instead they chew Doma (this is a blend of areca nut on a betel leaf with a sprinkle of tsune/lime – or calcium carbonate). Doma is chewed after eating to freshen breath. The crunchy concoction is often offered to guests and is considered an ice-breaker. Unfortunately, the blood-red juices cause cancer and other ailments. Want …

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Himalayan Inspired Fruit Salad

The crimes of fruit salad are many: not ripe, over ripe, tart, bitter, warm, rotten … Because of these transgressions fruit salad has become the “Fruit Cake” of summer barbecues – a popular dish that only the brave eat. This week I made a Himalayan inspired Fruit Salad (just mango, red banana, and papaya) for our Bhutanese Global Table. In my interpretation, I decided to avoid the many pitfalls of regular fruit salad and serve it as elegant finger food. In this format each piece of fruit shone – sweet mango, earthy papaya and buttery bananas in the middle. Incredible. Pop one and you. can’t. stop. I dare you to try. But first: 5 Keys to a Great Fruit Salad 1. Never use pre-cut fruit. Ever notice how pre-cut fruit in plastic boxes tastes… fizzy? A tad chemically? The salad is an unsatisfactory blend of unripe cardboard fruit (usually the pineapple), mixed in with overripe, bruised, fungus fruit (often the grapes). Awful. Serve pre-cut fruit to a bitter enemy, if you must, but never serve the stuff if you’re …

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Menu: Bhutan

I’m not sure I stand a chance with Bhutanese food. You may find me with my head in a bucket of ice before this week is over. I’m originally from New England where we don’t “do” spicy. In fact, my strapping Oklahoman husband is the only reason I can eat anything remotely spicy. Just looking at him down so-called “hot” buffalo chicken makes me sweat (although some of that is because of the crush I had – and continue to have – on him). Year after year of his teasing has worn me down and I’ve graduated from mild to medium. Let’s just say I’m nervous. NOTE: This week’s Global Table is completely vegetarian. Recipes and photos will be up on Monday, as usual. Butter Grilled Poblanos [Recipe] Poblano’s stuffed with a generous pat of butter and grilled until soft and smoky Ema Datshi (chili pepper and cheese stew/curry) [Recipe] Firey hot chilies and cheese melt together in the beloved national dish of Bhutan Cracked Red Rice [Recipe] Himalayan rice with a reddish/pink hue and …

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About the food of Bhutan

The rugged mountain-country of Bhutan is nestled in the Himalayas, between India and China. This largely vegetarian country is known for eating chili peppers (called ema) and rice in abundance. Just reading about their food made me break into a sweat. They actually treat the chili pepper as a vegetable, instead of a minor spice component to a larger dish. In other words, in many cases, the chili pepper is the meal. To a Bhutanese, however, ema (chilli) enjoys an exalted culinary position. It isn’t just a food or a fad. It is the stuff of life. It is integral Bhutanese heritage and culture. It’s not just the vegetable; it’s the taste. A bowl of black dhal or a cauliflower sabzi in a diner in India is likely to contain some chillies, and would be considered very hot by most people there. But that, as every Bhutanese who has studied in India would vouch, is piddling compared with the blistering fury of a highland Bhutanese chilli. But it is not raw heat that makes Bhutanese …

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Monday Meal Review: Benin

In my humble opinion, the highs and lows of life are equally worthy of a great meal. Highs are cause for pompous, celebratory food that leaps, dancing into your mouth, while lows beg for rich, fattening foods that slide in softly and ground you (and your belly). It is therefore fitting that this week of highs (seeing Anthony Bourdain live at the Tulsa PAC) and lows (a miserable husband with a giant kidney stone that just won’t pass) be acknowledged with a special feast. As chance would have it, Benin is perfectly suited to this split-personality of a week, with an interesting blend of celebratory food (crab and bananas in orange sauce) and rich food (pureed black-eyed peas and coconut rice). Enjoy! PS – I’m not sure what happened, but this week’s Global Table is in varying shades of cream and brown. Not very visually exciting, but the flavors were good all the same. Crabs from Benin (Crabe Beninoise) [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish Crab is a real treat, classy enough for any …

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Pureed Black-eyed Peas

Serves 4 Benin’s Pureed Black-eyed peas are smooth and creamy thanks to peeling the beans. If you do not have the patience for peeling the beans, use a food mill or omit the step all-together. The resulting mash is rich and flavorful, but it looks a lot like mashed potatoes so you might give unsuspecting guests a heads-up. Ingredients: 2 cups dried black-eyed peas salt pepper 1 stick butter Method: 1. Soak beans overnight in cool water. Drain the beans and slip the skins off. For detailed explanation see Technique Thursday: Peeling Beans. 2. Cover beans with about an inch of water and simmer for about 15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering until tender. 4. Drain liquid off and puree. I used an immersion blender. You could use a ricer, food processor, blender, or a large mortar and pestle. 5. Throw in a stick of butter and beat it in with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look like thick mashed potatoes. 12345 Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate …