Though we’re still months away from making the wonderful foods related to Losar, the Tibetan New Year, we wanted to begin a series of posts that slowly build up to the major Tibetan holiday, so that when Losar rolls around this year we will all be ready. (See the Tibetan calendar dates here.)We’ll start off with a dresil recipe, the simplest dish of them all. (Scroll down if you want to get straight to the recipe.)
Here’s a how-to guide for celebrating Losar >>
What is Dresil?
Dresil is a sweet rice dish that Tibetans serve on special occasions throughout the year, like weddings and special Buddhist holidays, but that is also a hallmark of Losar. Central Tibetan people eat it first thing in the morning on the first day of the New Year.
The traditional way to eat dresil is 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. In Tibet, droma is so common in dresil that the dish is actually often called droma dresil. Unfortunately for the great majority of us outside Tibet, though, droma is not something we can access unless we have friends to bring us some from Tibet.
Our recipe includes an option to use droma, but don’t worry if you can’t get any — many Tibetans outside of Tibet commonly make their dresil without droma, so yours will be just as authentic as anyone else’s 🙂
We also use cow’s butter rather than butter from a dri, and leave out the sugar, as the raisins make the dish sweet enough for us, but most Tibetans do use sugar.
On the first morning of Losar, we usually make a really fancy dresil with extra dried fruits and nuts, like dried cherries, pecans and pine nuts. You can add what you like to the basic dresil recipe below.
Video: Lobsang Wangdu Teaches You How to Make Dresil
- 2 cups rice (Before cooking. We used basmati, but almost any rice is okay.)
- 6 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts (We use unsalted.)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sugar (if desired)
- Any other nuts or dried fruits, as desired
- 1 cup droma (If you can get it from Tibet)
- Cook the rice. For the rice, for 2 cups of basmati, you should use 3.5 cups of water, not 4 as it originally says in the video.
- If using droma, boil the droma in 3-4 cups of water for 35-40 minutes until softened but not mushy. Drain and rinse well because most droma will have a fair amount of soil in it.
- Mix together all the ingredients
- Serve in small bowls and enjoy with sweet tea or po cha — butter tea.
Tibetan Home Cooking
Bring joy to the people you love by making your own delicious, authentic Tibetan meals
MaryEllen Kirkpatrick says
I am making dresil for Geshe’s Long Life Puja. I was wondering if it would work to substitute some diced sweet potato for the droma or if It would be better to just to use raisins and cashews?
How nice of you! You could go either way we think. Maybe try half with one method and half with the other and see which you all prefer? Cheers!
Liza Vandermeer says
My sister and I visited with a Tibetan family in Arunachal Pradesh for Losar 2019. I really loved the dresil we had for breakfast on the first morning of Losar. Thank you for posting this recipe – I look forward to making dresil at home in Canada.
Do you always serve/eat the dresil hot?
Thank you for all your posts and videos on dharma and the Tibetan culture and foods! I love them!
Thanks for your question Egergaud. We first serve dresil hot and ourselves usually warm it up if we eat it later, but it can be served also room temperature, or if you are desperate, cold 😉
I will make Dresil tomorrow to celebrate Losar 2014! Thanks!
Great! Losar Tashi Delek, Marie 🙂
I am devoting my life to keeping the Tibetan traditions alive. As soon as I get my own kitchen I’m going to learn how to cook all the wonderful dishes that your culture has to offer. It’s all healthy, real food.
You are so welcome, Bobby! Best of luck for getting your own kitchen soon 🙂 And Losar Tashi Delek!
Thank you for posting! I tried to cook the droma in the same pot as the rice last losar, but they were too hard. I will try again using your recipe this year. 🙂
You are right we don’t cook droma with rice normally. It takes much longer to cook droma.
Palden tsering says
Wangdu la ,the way you have written all this is good but if you had written a bit in detailed then it will be good,it is true that many don’t like long but if it is in detail then it will be much more good to me and others tooo ,
thank you, wangdu la I am going to prepare for the farewell party of class 10 so i think this will work …
Thanks for your feedback. Honestly speaking, there’s not any more detail to put on this recipe. Is there a particular question you have? We can try to help! Hope your farewell class goes well 🙂
Tenzin Kunsang says
A nice alternative to raisins is dried cranberry. Works really well. Or you can add both if you like. 🙂
Wangdu la, thank you for posting so many wonderful recipes and other information on Tibetan culture. Find it truly valuable.
Thanks, Tashi! Nice idea, and thanks for the kind feedback 🙂
Great dish. I made it today for Xmas and everyone loved it. Thx.
Wonderful! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!
Michelle Chan says
Thank you! Nice to find you
You are so welcome, Michelle! We are happy to have you here 🙂