“Beef” and mushroom tshoem (Bhutan)

Bhutan is a tiny landlocked country in Asia located between China and India. The population is less than one million and very few news from the country ever make it to the Western world. Bhutanese cuisine is largely based around red rice, buckwheat and maize, as well as various kinds of meats from yak to mutton, cheese, butter, ferns, lentils and vegetables. They use a lot of chili, other spices associated with India like cardamom and ginger, but also caraway.

Ema datshi or cheese and chili is probably the most famous Bhutanese dish. Another fairly popular one is tshoem, which means “curry”. This one has beef with oyster mushrooms, ginger and chili and the essentially same recipe is on many websites. I pondered for a while on which meat substitute to use, but decided on seitan. However, TVP or something else which a bit softer might have worked better.

I used one very large green chili instead of the two, but it turned out to be very mild, so I added some green chili sauce. I cut down on the fat a bit and I used dried oyster mushrooms, because fresh ones are next to impossible to find in Finland these days.

Nonetheless, it was quite tasty. The ginger and chili blend together into a nice hot flavour/sensation. It’s even better the next day, at least if using seitan, because it takes some time for seitan to absorb flavours.

P.S. Wikipedia says “When offered food, one says meshu meshu, covering one’s mouth with the hands in refusal according to Bhutanese manners, and then gives in on the second or third offer.” so remember to teach this to your family when eating this dish!


Seitan and mushroom tshoem

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cm/0.8 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp margarine
450 g/1 lb seitan (or some other meat substitute) cut into 2 cm/0.8 inch dice
1.2 dl/0.5 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 fresh green chillies, de-seeded and sliced thinly
75 g/2.5 oz fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced

Melt the margarine on a frying pan. Fry the onion and seitan for three minutes. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, add all the other ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve hot with rice or another grain. Makes about three portions.

3 Responses to ““Beef” and mushroom tshoem (Bhutan)”

  1. 1

    Hehe, in Taiwan and China, there are many Buddhist which are vegan. But, a vegan Buddhist don’t eat garlic and onion^_^

  2. 2

    Yum, this looks like something I would really like! Thanks for the recipe! :-)

  3. 3

    I never had seitan, I’m really curious how it tastes and how does it look before it’s done. I definitely have to try it out.

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