The word shaptse means literally “meat (sha) and vegetables (tsel).” In Tibet, this traditionally would have meant yak, beef or mutton meat, plus cabbage (pedzey), as cabbage was one of the few vegetables to grow in Tibet’s high altitude. Today, of course, greenhouses and importing have brought a much greater variety of vegetables to the Tibetan diet inside Tibet. Tibetans outside of Tibet, most commonly use beef or mutton for this dish, and still frequently use cabbage, along with other vegetables. Traditionally, Tibetans would not include our guest chef Tsering Tamding la’s step of cooking the beef in the oven, but we like this new twist on the traditional dish.
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 Tsering la’s shaptse. 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. You can learn how to bring joy to the people you love by making your own delicious, authentic Tibetan meals tonight :-)
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By Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon