Dresil, Tibetan sweet rice, is a lightly sweet dish that is typically served on special occasions. In Central Tibet, people eat it in the morning on the first day of Tibetan Losar — New Year, and also for other special occasions, like weddings or special Buddhist holidays. Traditionally, Tibetans eat the dresil with droma, sugar, and dri (female yak) butter. Droma is “a small root, which grows on grasslands throughout Tibet.” (www.terma.org/shambhalasun052004.pdf). It tastes a little like sweet potato.
Lobsang’s fast and tasty dresil recipe includes an option to use droma, but don’t worry if you don’t have access to it — the dish will still be authentic as many Tibetans outside of Tibet commonly make their dresil without droma. We also use cow’s butter rather than butter from a dri, and leave out the sugar, as the raisins give a nice light sweetness, though most Tibetans do use sugar. On the first Losar morning, we often make a really special dresil with a few other dried fruits and nuts, like dried cherries, pecans and pine nuts.
If you would like to explore and share the wonderfully comforting, unusual flavors of traditional Tibetan food, please see our Tibetan Home Cooking eBook and video series for detailed written recipes and step-by-step videos showing you exactly how to cook almost every classic Tibetan food, including dresil. This series focuses exclusively on authentic recipes that are commonly cooked in Tibetan homes, and includes the most beloved dishes that have been passed down in Tibetan families for hundreds of years.
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By Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon