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Bisibelebath : A hearty meal in a bowl

Written By Praveena Gudipati on Friday, April 14, 2017 | 10:07 PM

As a South Indian I love Rice. I gotta have it at least once every day. But after eating the usual combo of Rice,Curry, Rasam, Yogurt for 2-3 days in a row I get bored and then I would turn towards one pot meals or meal in a bowl kind of dishes. Tamarind rice is on top of that list. It's a family fav too. I make  Tamarind paste (Pulihora Pulusu) at home and it stays fresh for a long time. And I realize I never updated the recipe on the blog :-). My next go to recipe is Toor dal Kichidi. Paired with Tomato chutney and Majjiga charu (Seasoned yogurt) it tastes divine. Next comes Tomato Pulao,Tawa Pulao. I will not brag any more. Lets move on to our recipe today. 

Bisi bele bath is a traditional Rice dish from Karnataka cuisine. It's a medley of Rice, lentils and veggies. A healthy combo of all food groups in one dish. More over the aroma of freshly ground masala triples the deliciousness. Pair it with Crunchy Papad or Potato chips and Majjiga charu and the meal is finger licking good.You can also use store bought Masala for this which saves the time. But I would prefer home made Masala taste. You can also make this masala before hand and store. And one more thing, with slight variation the masala is same as Gutti Vankaya masala, a famous Andhra delicacy made with Eggplant. So try this too while you are at it. 

A recipe like this will have variations, like the choice of the veggies. You can use any vegetables in the recipe. Cucumbers (Dosakai), Eggplant, Beans, Peas, Zucchini  etc. I did not want to use too many varieties but it's your choice. Seasoning can be made with Ghee/oil. But Ghee enhances the flavor. Amount of Masala , oil can be adjustable. Otherwise it's a simple and forgiving recipe that can be had anytime. 

Four-five (4-5)
Total Time: 
45 minutes

Ingredients (I use US standard measuring; 1cup=8oz=250ml):
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1/2 cup Toor dal
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 2Tsp oil
  • 2 inch Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida/ hing (Inguva)
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 1.5 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1/4th Bottle gourd/Dudhi (Sorakaya)
  • 1 Carrot 
  • 2 inches Tamarind or adjust
  • 1.5 tbsp Sugar or Jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • few curry leaves
  • 2 broken red chillies
  • few cashews optionally
  • 1/4 tsp hing
Optionally add vegetables of your choice (Beans, Green Peas, Dosakai, Zucchini, Eggplant, Potato, drumstick etc) 

For Masala
  • 1 tbsp Chana dal
  • 1 tbsp Urad dal (Minapagundlu)
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 2 tsp Coriander seeds (Dhaniya)
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds/Methi
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Coconut 
  • 5-6 Red chillies 
  • 1/2 tsp Black peppercorns 
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 Cardmom
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
Bisibelebath Recipe

  1. Measure 1 cup  Rice and 1/2 cup toot dal into a Pressure cooker. Rinse.
  2. Add 4 cups water , 1/2 tsp turmeric and cook Rice for 4-5 whistles.
  3. Meanwhile take a pan on low flame. Add 1 tbsp chana dal. Roast for a minute. Add 1 tbsp Urad dal. Roast till dals turn color. Add 1 tsp Coriander seeds and 1 tsp Cumin seeds. Add 5-6 red chillies. Fry till days roasted nicely. Finally add 1/4 tsp Methi seeds, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper corns, 2 cloves, 2 cardamoms , 1 inch of cinnamon.Roast the Masalas.Remove to a plate.
  4. Now in the same pan add 3 tbsp freshly grated coconut. Roast on low flame till it looks dry, for about a minute or less. 
  5. Once the spices are at room temperature, grind to a smooth powder. 
  6. Chop 1/2 Onion lengthwise and Veggies into small pieces. 
  7. Grate Ginger. 
  8. in a pan/Vessel take 2 tsp oil. Add ginger and Onions. Sauté till onions are transparent.
  9. Add rest of the vegetables. 
  10. Add salt.
  11. Cook till veggies are soft.
  12. Add tamarind extract, 1.5 tbsp sugar/Jaggery. 
  13. Add prepared Bisi bele bath masala powder to the veggies. Cook for a minute. Turn off the stove.Add masala according to your taste.
  14. Open the Pressure cooker. Mix Rice properly. Add above cooked Veggie mixture. Mix. 
  15. Add water to adjust Rice consistency. Rice should be creamy, loose but not like a soup. 
  16. Cook for 5 minutes covered. So the flavors come together. 
  17. In a fry pan, prepare seasoning. Take 2 tbsp Ghee, add 10-15 cashew halves. Roast till brown.Add 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, curry leaves, 2 Red chillies, 1/4 tsp Hing. Let them splutter. Turn off stove.
  18. Add seasoning to the Rice. Mix.
  19. Serve with Papad/Potato chips  and Majjiga Charu.


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