Tibetan Ramp Rice Pilaf

Yield: 2 to 3 Servings

Cook Time: 30 minutes

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Umdhre is a simple and delicious dish made with wild ramps and rice, traditionally served with any kind of chili sauce—but I like yogurt chili sauce the most!



1 cup rice
2 ½ cups water
30 to 40 ramp leaves*
2 cups plain yogurt
1 to 2 green chilis
4 ramp bulbs **
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp chili oil (optional)

*substitute garlic chives when ramps are not in season
**may substitute 2 garlic cloves


1. Clean ramps of any dirt, and separate the bulbs from the leaves.

2. Chop ramp leaves into ½ inch strips.

3. Thinly slice half of the ramp bulbs.

4. Rinse the rice. Add water and a ½ teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium-high heat.

5. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Add the chopped ramps. Cook for 10 more minutes, occasionally folding the rice.

7. Let rice rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, mash remaining ramp bulbs with chilis and 1 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle until it becomes a paste.

8. Mix mashed ramps and chili paste with yogurt.

9. Serve hot umdhre on one side of the plate, and cool yogurt sauce on the other. Drizzle with chili oil to taste!

Recipe by Dawa Bhuti

“Every year my mother and I make two trips in late April and early May to harvest wild ramps in Connecticut. It’s a ritual for us—we enjoy a picnic, and for my mother, it brings back memories her childhood village in Tibet. It’s picking the ramps— moreso than eating them—that she loves. 

There is a folk song from her village that celebrates the harvest of ramps, and anything that grows wild. Gathering from the wild is considered virtuous because it is believed that it spares not only the labor of cultivation, but the lives of the insects and worms who might be harmed in the act of farming. However, one must take care not to over-harvest wild plants, otherwise they may become extinct. Half of the ramp bulb should be left in the ground so that the roots will grow next year’s harvest.”

Folk Song: 


Of course I know three wild harvests and three planted harvests
Of course I know three wild color dyes and three man-made color dyes
Of course I know how to harvest and care for sentient beings

DAWA BHUTI is the chef and co-owner of Dawa’s Restaurant in Woodside, Queens, NYC. Although family is originally from Tibet, she was born in Nepal, and grew up attending Tibetan refugee boarding schools in India. Bhuti is interested in how different cultures share similarities in their cuisines, yet prepare dishes differently depending on local traditions and availability of ingredients. Bhuti believes in the power of food to create familiarity and unity.

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