Kharzi Rice Recipe: A Cheesy, Spicy Dish From Arunachal Pradesh
Image Credit: Archana's Kitchen

The state of Arunachal Pradesh is home to some of the most unique dishes that one can come across in India. Similar to its neighbouring states, the locals in Arunachal are also consumers of rice, foraged and pickled vegetables and smoked meats. Due to its proximity to places like Nepal and Tibet, Arunachalese cuisine constitutes the usual suspects of momos, thukpa along with offerings like fermented rice beer called apong, a stir-fried buckwheat noodle dish called puta and one of its most regularly consumed rice dish by the name of kharzi.

Originally belonging to the Monpa tribe, the dish is traditionally made with a fermented hard cheese called chhurpi along with spicy chillies into a sauce, in which cooked rice is tossed along with aromatics and sometimes, vegetables. The version of how kharzi is made in local households varies from one home to another but the essence of the recipe lies in the intermingling of the sharp saltiness from the cheese and the heat of the chillies. While the original cheese used in the recipe might be hard to source, you could just as well use other alternatives like a good quality cheddar, pasteurised cheese or even vegan mozzarella; all of which taste equally delicious. What’s more? This makes for a great packed lunch or quick supper to put together and enjoy with a mild mooli raita or kachumber on the side.



  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 100 grams cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 spicy red chillies
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


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  • Add the ginger, garlic, chopped spring onions and chillies to a grinder and turn into a smooth paste. Cut the cheddar cheese into smaller chunks and add it to the grinder along with a tablespoon of warm water.
  • Blitz the cheese along with the aromatics into a smooth paste and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onions until they turn translucent. Pour the chilli-cheese paste mixture and cook for a couple of minutes, until the aromas are released.
  • Add the cooked rice and toss well. Check for seasoning and salt cautiously. Add some black pepper and serve warm.

Note: You can also add any vegetables like peas, carrots, zucchini and cauliflower after pre-cooking them before you add the cheese paste to the pan.