Arunachal Pradesh Sends Us The Gift Of Cheesy Kharzi Rice
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For most of India, rice is a familiar, comforting dish with many different regional dishes built around it. The same goes for Arunachal Pradesh where rice is the staple grain paired with fish, meat and leafy vegetables. Each tribe of the state has different specialities with wild herbs and foraged greens adding to each area’s signature dishes. For the Monpa tribe of the Tawang district, one of the most beloved rice dishes is a cheesy rice dish called Kharzi.

Also known as Gyapa kazhi it is usually prepared using rice steamed in a hollow bamboo shoot steamer over hot coals. Each group of the tribe has a slightly different variation, but the standard ingredients are a paste of dried red king chillies, libichura (fermented soya bean cheese), chhurpi (Yak cheese), garlic and oil/water. This paste is then mixed with rice and maan ka patta, a type of onion or chive specific to the area and then served warm.

This true dish has a very strong flavour which may take some time to develop a taste for but unfortunately, a lot of those regional ingredients are hard to find outside Arunachal Pradesh. That’s why the modern version tends to use more easily available variants of the classic flavours that can be found all over India. The final result is cheesy comfort food that can deliver on all occasions. 


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 50 gms mozzarella cheese
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 6-7 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. 
  • Add it to a pot with twice the amount of water or pressure cook with salt until tender.
  • Let the rice cool and meanwhile grind the ginger, garlic, chilli powder tomato and cheese together into a smooth paste.
  • Heat some ghee in a large pot and then chop and add the onion. 
  • Fry till slightly golden and then add the cheese paste and lower the heat.
  • Cook until it’s a thick paste and the ghee separates. 
  • Tip in your cooked rice and mix gently to combine without damaging the grains. 
  • Garnish with spring onions and serve with yoghurt or raita.