Chilies are more than a spice or a seasoning in Bhutan, they are consumed like a vegetable. Bhutanese love their meals hot and cannot live without chillies. The hot pepper pod dominate breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ema Datsi, a dish made out of chilli and cottage cheese is considered the national dish. Ema Datsi is easy to cook and it is relished by people of every corner of Bhutan. There are many variations of Ema Datsi and every home have their own way of cooking the dish.

Ema Datsi – the national dish of Bhutan

Chillies are used in almost ever dish and in several dishes, chillies are the main ingredient. Dried chillies also hold a special place in a Bhutanese kitchen. The sun dried red chillies are called ema kum and is the most common dried chilli. When green chillies are sun dried, it is called ema hokam and they render a special flavor as compared to the fresh green chilli. Ema shukam is yellow in color and they are prepared by drying boiled green chillies. The process of boiling and drying the green chilli brings about a different flavor to the chilli.