Kewa Datshi Recipe: Bhutanese Style

Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is a land of breathtaking beauty and vibrant culture. Its cuisine, like its people, is warm and welcoming, with a unique blend of flavors that reflect the country’s rich history and geography. Among its many culinary delights, Kewa Datshi reigns supreme.

What is Kewa Datshi?

Kewa Datshi, literally translating to “potato cheese,” is the national dish of Bhutan. It’s a simple yet incredibly flavorful stew made with potatoes, cheese, chilies, and a few other basic ingredients. The dish is incredibly versatile, enjoyed as a comforting meal on its own or paired with rice, bread, or dumplings.

Kewa Datshi Recipe Bhutanese Style
Kewa Datshi Recipe Bhutanese Style

Why Try Kewa Datshi?

There are many reasons to try Kewa Datshi:

  • Flavor: The combination of soft potatoes, melt-in-your-mouth cheese, and a hint of spice from the chilies creates a truly addictive flavor profile.
  • Simplicity: Kewa Datshi is a surprisingly easy dish to make, even for novice cooks. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have a delicious and authentic Bhutanese meal on your table in no time.
  • Versatility: As mentioned earlier, Kewa Datshi can be enjoyed in various ways. Serve it as a main course, a side dish, or even as a filling for dumplings or momos.
  • Cultural experience: Kewa Datshi is more than just a dish; it’s a window into Bhutanese culture. By trying this traditional recipe, you can get a taste of the country’s warmth, hospitality, and love for simple yet flavorful food.

Preparing and Cooking Time:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total time: 30-35 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 green chilies, slit and chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese (You can use traditional Bhutanese cheese like Ema Datshi if available)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add chilies and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in potatoes and coat them in oil.
  4. Pour water over the potato mixture and season with chili powder and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add more water if needed, but keep the gravy thick.
  6. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle cheese over the gravy. Slowly stir until cheese melts and spreads evenly, about 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with red pepper flakes (optional) and serve hot with rice, bread, or dumplings.

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  • For a richer flavor, you can use homemade vegetable broth instead of water.
  • If you don’t have green chilies, you can substitute them with red chili flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Adjust the amount of chili according to your spice tolerance.
  • Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese. Cheddar and Monterey Jack are common substitutes, but you can also use Gruyere, Emmental, or even paneer.

What kind of cheese is used in Kewa Datshi?

Traditionally, Ema Datshi, a semi-hard yak cheese, is used. However, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even paneer can be substituted.

Can I make Kewa Datshi vegan?

Yes! Simply replace the cheese with a plant-based alternative like nutritional yeast or tofu crumbles.

Is Kewa Datshi spicy?

The spiciness depends on the type and amount of chilies used

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