Although Tibetan have many dishes that they are well known for there are some that are classed as holiday dishes and are only prepared for those events.
The foundation of this dish is rice. It is cooked with the use of butter that has no salt added to it. Then once cooked raisins are added to it along with droma as well as dates and nuts. Raisins are dried grapes and have a natural sweetness to them. The droma is a tiny root that is found naturally growing in Tibet in the grasslands. The best butter to be used in this dish is female yak butter know as dri.
When asked to describe the taste those that have had the pleasure of consuming it describe it as being similar to the taste of a sweet potato. There are some variations to the dish where cow`s milk will be used in place of the yak milk, and no sugar will be used because of the sweetness of the raisins.
This is a dish that is served during important occasions like a wedding, but it is a must during the celebration of Losar, which is the Chinese New Year. Many Tibetans will prepare this dish for the first day if this holiday and they will sometimes add extra dried fruits to it to make it extra special.
This is one of the very well known Tibetan soups. It is a tradition for it to be consumed two days before Losar. Tibetans believe that the consumption of this soup sees that they have safe passage into their upcoming New Year. What is unique about the dish is that it must include nine ingredients which are considered to be the number for good luck in Tibet. The dish can vary depending on who makes it, but the most common ingredients are:
- Crushed barley
- Fresh or dried peas
- Fenugreek leaves
- Coarse dry Tibetan cheese flakes.
Often dough balls are added to this Holiday soup. Three of the dough balls will be larger than the rest and inside of these will be a piece of papers where metaphors have been written upon them. Very similar to the fortune cookie tradition.
Losar also allows for the serving of pastries as part of the New Year’s tradition, which is known as Khapse. This is a form of biscuit that is made with basic ingredients such as:
All of which are combined then shaped into balls that take on different sizes and shapes.
Although these holiday treats are but a few and simple in nature, they are a very important part of the Tibetan holiday culture. As one can see by the timing and rituals of consuming them they hold important traditions for the Tibetan population.