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.)
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.