Land of the Flying Pig

If you were to pick up a stone on the side of the road in Bhutan and toss it randomly into the weeds which line the roads, you have about a 90% chance that your stone is going to land in a big bunch of Marijuana.  Seriously.  Its a weed and there is a ton of weed growing in Bhutan.

Ditch weed. There is no sticky icky around here that is going to make Snoop Dogg change his usual flavor anytime soon, but there is a ton of ditch weed.  Everywhere.  Some of the younger kids smoke it.  Other people just make a huge pile somewhere and light that on fire and suck in the fumes to get a contact high so it doesn’t count against karma points.  Most of the time however, the weed is fed to pigs.

The Land of the Flying Pigs.

It’s because their high man…and its pigs eating weed…so its funny too.

Imagine, THC laced bacon. What a market!  Its brilliant for whoever perfects this idea because you eat the bacon to get high and then you eat more bacon because you’re high and since you ate more bacon you stay high…WHAT A CYCLE.

This is what you get in Bhutan when you choose to eat pork.  Pigs which have dined on marajuana for a couple of years.

The pork is good too.

It’s very different though.  Most pork or beef here is not “fresh” or frozen but salt cured, dried and then reconstituted in a sauce when it comes time to eat.  This is because you need to find a good way to keep it safe when almost no one in the country has a freezer.  All this really means is that the meat is saltier and bit chewier than what is “normal”.  The only exception to this is chicken, those are killed right when its time to eat, generally.

So the pork is good and I’m sure wondering, did you get high?  No.  I do not think it works like that but I probably didn’t eat enough either…I focused on the veggies most of the trip.  Perhaps they just need a new stronger strain or two over here though and this THC laced bacon thing can take off.  It is really delicious and has a much earthier flavor than farmed pig in the US.

 

In the Land of the Flying Pig, there is one dish that is quintessential. A version of which is served at every meal aside from breakfast – Chili Cheese.  Not the chili cheese you get with tator tots – something else which may be popular when high…I’ve heard… – Chili Cheese is exactly that, Chilis mixed with local Dati cheese.

The Chili’s are hot.  They are dried on almost every roof.  They are red – mildish, green – pretty hot, yellow – pants on fire hot and tiny green – DAMN hot.  They grow everywhere and they are delicious.  Even the super hot have  the sweetness of the earth that is so awesome from organically grown vegetables.  And in Bhutan, chilis are just that, vegetables.  They are not an accompniant to a dish or a garnish, they are the dish and they are eaten as many of us would eat mashed potatoes with Thanksgiving dinner.

I fell in love with chili cheese.  I put it on everything.  It is so good on rice and mixed with vegetables.  I tired it mixed with some penne pasta when I got to work a bit with a chef at hotel Wandichholing – which is where I learned how to make chili cheese – and chili cheese penne was a solid discovery.  Other variations add potatoes and onion or green beans and carrots.  One meal there was oven roasted cauliflower with chili cheese sauce on top – so good.  Below I give you the base recipe and encourage you to experiment.

Flying pigs and chili cheese are popular but there is a little more to dining in Bhutan. Its mainly vegetables, curries and rice.  Very much what you should expect in this part of the world. Two other notable favorites are flaked corn and puffed rice.  Sweet little crunchy snacks that are popular all over the country.  The vegetables are my favorite and the curries are good with a nice spice.  Not as bold as India or as hot as Thailand but very good. The local rice is a red rice which is served simply steamed or steamed and lightly fried.  It is a little puffier and lighter than a jasmine rice and is awesome at soaking up any sauce you add to it – especially chili cheese.

Bhutanese Chili Cheese

I’ve tired to match ingredients which can be found in the USA to what is used here to replicate as closely as possible.  Bhutan Cheese is kind of like a cross between white cheddar and processed american in taste and close to a solid whole milk ricotta in texture.  I recommend going with a fresh mozzarella first, not fresh mozzarella second or have some fun and experiment with jack, queso fresco or a mild white cheddar.

In general this is a pretty thin sauce around here and these proportions should yield a thinner sauce – nothing wrong with that.  if you want it a bit thicker, feel free to add more cheese or start with a roux.

I’ll work on some chili cheese recipes for the new year when I’m back at a kitchen.  Until then, enjoy this bonus recipe and have some fun with it!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Green Chili – a Serrano would be a good choice when using fresh – as this is best with fresh chilis
  • 2 TBS Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Cheese
  • 2 TBS sliced shallot
  • Salt to Taste

Directions

Cut green chilis in half, keeping the seeds intact.  Only remove the stem.

Heat oil over medium heat and saute shallot until warmed.  Next add chilis – don’t stir too much at this point, its ok if the chilis get a little roast on their skin.  Next add water and cheese, stir to incorporate. Season with salt to taste and serve over a nice puffy rice with your favorite vegetables.

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3 Responses to “Land of the Flying Pig”

  1. Dad
    November 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    I think I’ll have some bacon from Bhutan!

  2. Mom
    November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I know what we will be making when you get home! I’ll be sure to get some damn chilli’s for the cheese. Learned a lot from this post. Love mom

  3. Jason
    November 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Bacon please !!

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