Posted on September 17, 2008
The delicious and tangy Himalayan Tree Tomatoes or Tamarillos give Bhutanese ezays a bright and festive edge that pairs well with the salty richness of the morning cup of suja, or well-churned butter tea.
I have substituted American ingredients that come closest to the Bhutanese flavors.
With my very best, Karma.
Ingredients: Quarter bunch Cilantro, One bunch Green Onion Shoots, 15 to 20 Serrano or Jalapeño peppers, Feta Cheese, Blue Cheese, Sichuan Pepper (available at CHinese and Korean Markets), 1 medium size purple onion, Himalayan Tree Tamarillos (pictures below). I haven’t come across the HTT in the US, but apparently there is a New Zealand variety that is available at select gourmet suppliers. f you’re unable to find the HTT or the NZ variety, a good substitute is roasted tomatillos (available at most Mexican groceries), with one or two small green limes squeezed into the mix for the tartness.
Preparation: Roast the Chilli Peppers, and the Himalayan Tree Tomatoes in a large cast iron skillet, over medium to low fire, turning occasionally. (you want the pepper and tamarillo flesh to blister and burn a little with some black patches on the outside).
In a separate pan or skillet, roast the Sichuan pepper over a low flame, stirring the peppercorns briskly to prevent burning. After about 4 to 5 minutes take one of the peppercorns and smash it between thumb and forefinger. If it is crushes down to a partially powdery form, set aside.
If the peppercorn shell still retains its shape, stir some more over heat until it is ready to crush easily. In a wide deep bowl, finely dice the purple onion and the green onion shoots.
Chop the chilli peppers as you might for a salsa, and throw into the mix. Gently peel the roasted Himalayan Tree Tamarillos until its soft golden flesh is revealed whole.
Now chop the tamarillos like the chilli peppers. Take 4 to 5 table spoons of the Feta cheese and crumble by hand over the entire bowl. Take 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese anad similarly crumble over the entire mix. Add salt to taste.
Sprinkle finely chopped cilantro over the entire mix and toss, until the cheese are evenly mixed into the ezay.
If using roasted tomatillos, you won’t need to peel the skin, and don’t forget to add the dash of lime.
Enjoy! (Should serve 8 to 9 Americans, and 3 to 4 if Bhutanese).
EZAY (for momos).
Ingredients: 35 to 45 of the little red dried Japonica Peppers (available at most Mexican Markets). The Bhutanese red chilli peppers best for this ezay are sadly not available in the US. 1 medium size purple onion, regular garden variety tomatoes (the more acidic and tart varieties work better), 2 medium cloves of garlic.
Preparation: Soak the dried chilli peppers in a shallow pan of water overnight. Puree the chilis, tomatoes, and onion together, manually by grinding with a mortar and pestle, or using a modern food processor/juicer. Be sure to cover the top of the blender if you choose the blender!
Add salt to taste, and blend together until the salt is distributed evenly throughout the ezay. Serve with a large table spoon on a neat corner of a quarter plate. Garnish with a crisp emerald sprig of cilantro and serve with steaming aromatic momos!
Serves 20 to 25 people, American, and 10 to 12 people, Bhutanese. Enjoy!
Posted on May 26, 2008
1 to 2 lbs Jalapeño peppers (Bhutanese chili is both meatier and hotter but sadly unavailable in the US).
1 medium onion, sliced (Green onion shoots or spring onions are better)
3 to 4 tablespoons oil or butter.
1 to 1.5 cups water
Half pound Shitake mushrooms (for the variation called Shamu Datsi) or two medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced (for the variation called Kewa Datsi)
Sauce: quarter to half cup of Romano and Parmesan Cheese grated with 3 to 5 tablespoons milk cream (the more the tastier; I have tried over 20 different varieties of cheese and cheese products in the US and this one comes the closest to the real thing).
Salt to taste.
Put all the ingredients in a pot with the exception of the mushroom or green onions if using those (if using whole onion and potatoes they are hardier and should be cooked from the start). Cook on high heat. Lower to simmer once it boils. Open the lid of the pot. Stir the pot when the water is approx at a quarter of its original quantity. Pour in the sauce, (add the green onions and mushroom at this time) stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off flame and serve hot. Best with Rice (Basmati, Jasmine as Bhutaese red rice is hard to come by outside Bhutan).
Caution: This dish can be very hot (spicy). You may want to temper the quantity of the chili peppers according to your according to your tolerance for spicy food. Another option is to de-seed the chilies and soak them in water before cooking. Or else use Anaheim Peppers which are much more milder and meatier.