An Easy Recipe to Make Suja, the Bhutanese “Salty” Tea

Suja, literally translated to mean churned tea, is the Bhutanese name for butter tea, a type of tea quite popular in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, Tibet and Bhutan.

Written by Pema Yangchen

In the olden days, preparation of Suja was quite the task and a wooden churner was used to churn the butter for the tea. These days, a simple blender does the trick and with tea leaves available in little packets for sale in the market, making suja is easier than ever before.

Although the idea of butter and salt in tea may sound off-putting, they work surprisingly well together and the existence of Suja proves it. For most Bhutanese, tea is the go to drink with every meal for any occasion and Suja is especially a must for celebrations like Losar (Bhutanese New Year), weddings, and for religious events and rituals. With its creamy texture and gentle savoury taste, it goes best with Desi, which is a Bhutanese dish of sweet yellow rice, not to say that it doesn’t go well with other Bhutanese dishes though. I personally enjoy Suja with some Zaw, roasted puff rice hand-mixed with butter and sugar.

It can get quite chilly here in the valley, especially during winter and starting the day with a cup of Suja is really the best way to go about things. As an added bonus, according to Wikipedia, the butter in Suja can actually help prevent chapped lips! So, for anyone who has not tried Suja yet, what are you waiting for?

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