Recipes for Change: Ema datshi and millet momos

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Recipes for Change: Ema datshi and millet momos

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Ema datshi

Located on the southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is heavily forested, with 70 per cent of its total land area covered by forests and only three per cent under cultivation. Despite the economy enjoying a boom, with corresponding increases in GDP per capita and falling poverty levels, rural areas still suffer from disproportionately high poverty rates. Rural poverty is often determined by a range of factors, including a lack of infrastructure, isolation from markets, underdeveloped business and financial services, natural disasters and shortfalls in farm labour. These issues are particularly pertinent in the Trashi Yangtse District.

In addition to these challenges, climate change also exacerbates rural poverty by threatening agricultural production. Climate change already undermines the yields of local staples including red rice and vegetables. These impacts frequently stem from erratic or disrupted rainfall patterns which result in the decline of freshwater resources. Altered weather patterns frequently disrupt harvests, and agricultural land is often lost due to flooding events.

The Bhutan edition of Recipes for Change consists of two dishes: Red rice with Ema Datshi and Millet Momos or dumplings. The farmers of Yangtse Women's group began using millet as it requires less water, making it well suited for climate change.


Climate threats to red rice and vegetables in Trashi Yangtse District of Bhutan

  • Disrupted rainfall
  • Altered weather patterns
  • Flooding events

IFAD solutions

  • Renovating/constructing irrigation systems
  • Establishing water users' associations
  • Diversified production

The Recipe

Ema datshi

Serves 2

Nutritional value per serving:

• Calories: 300 • Fat: 9g • Carbs: 33g • Protein: 21g


  • 285g chilli peppers (spicy Thai green/red chillies and jalapeño)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 285g grated cheese (a combination of feta, cheddar or other white cheese)
  • Salt to taste
  • 150g red rice (alternatively, use white rice)
  • 650ml water

Cooking instructions:

  1. Bring 400ml of water to a boil. Add a little salt and add the rice. Allow 10 minutes for the rice to cook.
  2. Heat a pan and add the butter.
  3. After the butter melts, add the sliced onion, tomato, garlic and chillies.
  4. Mix the ingredients, add salt to taste, and then add 250ml of water.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and cook until the chilli peppers are tender.
  6. Add the cheese. Stir constantly, ensuring that the cheese has fully melted.
  7. Serve the stew over a bed of rice.

Millet momos

Millet momos

16 servings/momos

Nutritional value per serving/momo: 

• Kcal: 199 • Protein: 9g • Fat: 4g • Carbs: 35g


For dough

  • 680g millet flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Water for kneading

For filling

  • 340g carrots, grated
  • 340g cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 170g onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g white cheese (e.g. cheddar)
  • Salt

Cooking instructions:

  1. Begin by preparing the dough. Put the millet flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add water and knead for at least five minutes, ensuring a smooth dough by adding water as required.
  3. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, begin preparing the filling. Start by heating the oil and adding the garlic.
  5. Add the carrot and cabbage. Stir fry on high heat, taking care not to overcook the vegetables. Add salt to taste.
  6. Finally, add the cheese, stirring constantly until it has melted.
  7. Once the 30 minutes have elapsed, knead dough again for one minute.
  8. Pinch a small ball of dough and flatten. Roll thin using a rolling pin.
  9. Carefully place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre of the dough.
  10. Begin pleating the edges. When finished, seal the momo by twisting at top to close, forming a bundle.
  11. Heat the steamer and arrange the momos without allowing them to touch.
  12. Steam the momos for 10-12 minutes or until they appear shiny.
  13. Serve while hot with chutney.

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