Recipe for Life: Karma Zangpo

  29 May, 2020  ·    Astrid Murray

Welcome to Recipe for Life! This week Minjur Zangpo share's his mum Karma's story as well as her recipe for Ema Datshi.

Last year Centacare Multicultural Services worked closely with students from Trinity Bay High School on a story writing project called “Recipe for Life.”

The aim of the project was to strengthen intergenerational relationships and celebrate culture through the sharing of stories and recipes. 

At the end of the project we were able to create a recipe book which we have had printed. You can view the whole recipe book here – we are sure you will find plenty of colour and inspiration in its pages.

We would like to thank Wendy Chiu from Trinity Bay High School, musician Emmaline Anderson and our bicultural workers who were such an important part of this project.

Over the coming weeks we will share a story with it's recipe.

Karma Zangpo
by Minjur Zangpo

Karma was born in Tashigang, Bhutan in 1968. Because of the persecution of her family in the country in 1988, she escaped with her family to Nepal when she was thirty years old. She lived in Jhapa for some years before moving to the capital, Kathmandu, with her family. She has 2 children, a son and a daughter. Even though she was not educated she was hardworking and clever.

Her hobbies were knitting and weaving. Whenever she gets the chance now she does knitting and weaving. She knits things like sweaters, scarfs, curtains, bedsheets, and many more items. Her mother taught her how to knit when she was approximately 18 years old. Her favourite food is Ema Dachi (a hot chilli curry) with rice. Her mother taught her how to prepare it for the first time when she was 20 years.

For many years she never had a formal job but worked as a housewife caring for her children. From the very beginning her dream was to own a restaurant, which through hard work she achieved at the age of 35. She had many hurdles to achieve her goals, but she overcame the challenges by acceptance and searching to find solutions to the problems that arose. She also helps others in the community. She used to say helping, loving and caring for others was a recipe necessary to make a good life.

In 2017, she moved to Australia with her family and she hoped her kids would get a good education. The most significant event in her life was when she came to Australia and her kids were able to get a good education in a good place. Her greatest achievement in her life was being a mother.


300g chili peppers (spicy Thai green/red chilies and jalapeño)
1 red onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp unsalted butter
300g cheese, grated (combination of feta, cheddar or farmers cheese)
Salt to taste
1 cup water (to cook the veggies)


  1. Heat a pan and add butter: Add the sliced onion and tomato, cook until lightly brown.
  2. Add a cup of water and a variety of Thai or Indian chillies. Suggested varieties are Anaheim, jalapeño, and green chilies.
  3. Give them a quick toss within the water. Season them with salt. Cover and cook until the peppers become tender.
  4. Turn off the flame, add the cheese and let it melt in the residual heat.
  5. Serve it over a bed of red or white rice.

Increase or reduce the amount of chillies based on your tolerance for heat.
You can also remove the pith and ribs to reduce the heat.
You can use any type of cheese especially one that melts. Avoid using stringy
cheese like mozzarella.

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Recipe for Life: Karma Zangpo
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