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Tibetan Chicken Recipe: Chasha Zemma

Our friend Chef Tsering Tamding has a wonderful Tibetan chicken recipe that is a creative variation on chasha ngoba (stir-fried chicken). Chef Tsering calls it Chicken Zemma — “beautiful” chicken. Battered with a flour and egg mixture, it is cooked both on the stove top and in the oven, which makes it beautifully crispy and delicious.

Tibetan Chicken Recipe: Chasha
Tibetan Chicken Recipe: Chasha

For 4 people

You will need: a skillet that can work both on the stove top and the oven, or a skillet and a baking dish.


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, each thigh cut in halves or thirds, if large
  • ½ medium onion, sliced thin (we used red onion — any kind will do)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
  • ½ tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon salt   
  • ⅛ teaspoon emma or yerma (commonly called Sechuan pepper)
  • 1 ½  tablespoon cooking oil (we use canola)


  • Cut each chicken thigh into halves or thirds, if large
  • Thinly slice tomato and onion
  • Roughly chop cilantro.
  • Mince ginger and garlic.
  • Mix flour, turmeric, emma, salt, ginger, garlic and egg together in a largish mixing bowl. (We mix by hand.)
  • Place the chicken thighs in the flour mixture bowl and coat well. (We mix by hand — this part is a little sticky and messy — but worth it!)


  • Preheat oven to 375º
  • Heat 1.5 tablespoons of cooking oil to high, in a skillet that can work on both stove top and oven. Or you will need to transfer to an oven-safe pan after cooking on the stove top.
  • When oil is hot, add the chicken thighs.
  • Cook first side of the thighs on high for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  • Turn over, and cook additional three minutes.
  • While the second side is cooking, add tomato, onion and ½ of the cilantro to the top of the chicken. (You will use the rest for garnish) Leave the tomato and onion out if you wish for more crispy chicken.
  • Place the skillet with the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes at 375º, or until your chicken is thoroughly cooked. (When you poke the meat with a fork and the juices run clear, not cloudy or pink. Also, the meat should no longer be pink.)
  • Remove from oven and add chopped cilantro for garnish. You can also squeeze a little lemon on before serving if you like.

Serve with rice. Feel the love of your friends and family.

Tibetan Home Cooking

Tibetan Home Cooking

Bring joy to the people you love by making your own delicious, authentic Tibetan meals


2 responses to “Tibetan Chicken Recipe: Chasha Zemma”

  1. Peggi Kensley Avatar
    Peggi Kensley

    Thank you for Beautiful chicken recipe but I am Strict Vegatarian. I used cubed tofu and veg. broth instead. JUST as delisd I’m sure.

  2. dechen Avatar

    Thank you – I would replace it with mushrooms or panner 🙂 as a veggie will try tonight – gratefully – dechen (sunanda)

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