Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ARF #6- Bisi Bele Bath - Rice & Lentils Cooked With Vegetables and Spices

Bisi (means hot) Bele (means lentils) Bath (means sauce mixed with rice) is a Karnataka (S.India) speciality rice dish.Don't get carried away by the simple looks of this dish..:) because the preparation of the masalas which bring out the aromatic tangy-spicy flavour of this rich dish is an extravagant and tedious affair.Besides this rich dish,I also prepared Curd rice or Daddojanum (as we Andhras call it) or Thayir sadam (as called in Tamil Nadu) which is generally eaten towards the end of the meal because it has a calm,soothing effect after eating spicy food.

Rice is our staple and also reigns high among my favourite foods and I enjoy making exotic rice dishes for our weekend rendezvous,a change from the monotony of steamed white rice fare..:).Some of the rice dishes I prepared earlier are lemon rice,tamarind rice, sprouts fried rice, andhra pulao(mixed vegetable rice), jeera rice (cumin rice) and coriander rice ..well my kind of warm comforting rice dishes..:).

Bisi Bele Bath
,a wholesome traditional meal of the Kannada people, requires slow cooking of yellow lentils, rice and vegetables with aromatic spices.This rice dish is infused with carbohydrates(rice),proteins(lentils),antioxidants and vital nutrients (vegetables like onions,peas,beans,carrots,potatoes) and as an astringent, tamarind aids digestion. I thought it would fit the Antioxidant Rich Foods category and would make an apt entry for ARF # 6 Tuesday.


1 cup long-grained rice (cook the rice till soft and mushy)
1 small cup tur dal (Red gram)(cook the dal till soft and well cooked)
2 cups mixed vegetables cubed(carrots, beans, potatoes, peas)
1 cup tamarind juice (soak lemon sized ball of tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 20 minutes and extract the juice)
2 onions finely sliced
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp grated coconut

1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 dry red chillies
1 tbsp raw rice
1/2 tsp urad dal (black gram dal)
1/2 tsp channa dal (bengal gram dal)
3/4 tsp aniseed/fennel seeds(saunf)
1" stick cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
4 cloves
6 marathi moggu (Tokamiriyalu,Badi Laung)
5 peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric powder(haldi,pasupu)
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp grated fresh coconut(you can use dessicated coconut)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing,inguva)
Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a vessel and add all the above spices except asafoetida and fry them on low heat for 2 mts stirring constantly.
Add asafoetida just before you remove the spices off the heat.Cool and make a coarse powder of the spices.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a vessel and fry the onions till transparent and then add the vegetables,salt and pinch of sugar and cook them under steam till almost cooked or 3/4th cooked.
Now add the cooked rice and dal and mix well.
Add tamarind extract,2 tsps of the ground masala pwd,salt and grated coconut and mix thoroughly.Let it sit covered for 40-45 minutes on low heat so that the masalas and flavours are well absorbed.
Add 3 cups of water and mix well and pressure cook for 3 minutes or one whistle.If you dont have a pressure cooker,cover with a lid and cook on low flame.
Generally the consistency of the rice is like a thick dosa batter.I like mine to be a little watery so I add a little more water than required..its matter of choice actually.If you like to have the rice thick reduce the water quantity to 2 cups.

Serve hot with melted ghee,papadam and pickle of your choice.More the ghee more the taste..forget the calories and relish this dish.Overwhelmed by the blend & flavor of aromatic spices anyone will devour Bisi Bele Bath in moments and thats not an exaggeration..:)

Curd Rice

1 cup raw rice (cook rice till very soft and mushy and cool it)
3 cups fresh curd (yogurt)
1/4 cup milk
2 green chillies slit length wise
2" ginger piece finely grated

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard
2 dry red chillis
8 curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Mix the yogurt to the cooled cooked rice and all the ingredients except the tempering ingredients.Mix well.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Now add the red chillies,curry leaves and asafoetida and immediately add to the curd rice. Stir and mix again.Adjust salt.

Note:If you eat the curd rice immediately on preparing it then there is no need for milk.But if you have prepared the curd rice well in advance, then add 1/4 cup milk to the curd rice 10 minutes before serving so that it doesnt taste sour.You can garnish with finely chopped onions and fruits of your choice like pomegrante or grapes.Its again individual choice.



Anonymous said...

Great recipe.

I mention this since we are forgetting the calories :) Deep fried potato chips (the kettle fried variety) goes really well with B-cube (as we call Bisi-bele-bath)!

a said...

I can't wait to try all your dishes...love it!

Take care Sailu!


Zoubida said...

This sounds delicious and healthy. Great recipe. A bit out of my league though. I don't know if I can find everything to make it.

Lera said...

curd rice variation sounds cool! sailu,adding milk is a good idea to prevent fermentation.

sailu said...


Am going to try your honey chicken this week,Tin..:)

I hope you find the ingredients,Zoubida.Dont worry about getting it right the first time...try out with whatever spice blends you have at home and go from there..:)

Yes,Lera,adding milk makes a difference to the flavor of curd rice.

Anonymous said...

This has made me very hungry. Instantly hungry!


Ashwini said...

Sailu I worked in Bangalore for a while and I would eat this every week. I love it. I tried many recipes off the net but the result wasnt that great. Now I know an authentic recipe. Thanks. Since this is the Kannada version of khichdi I thought it would be easy but it looks tough! Also why is it called huli anna?

Rorie said...

Sounds absolutely delicious!

BDSN said...

Hi Sailu..

I didnt know the meaning of Bisi Bele Bath all this while.Today i have learnt it(Thank You)Wow there r plenty of spices in this..Is it ok if i skip 'Marathi Moggu'? The measurement that you have given for the masala..is it for the 1 cup rice or does it have more than 2 tsps?

Kay said...

Ooooh! Bisibelehulianna! :) I love it hot-hot with ghee and papad!

Ashwini, I think bisi-hot bele-dal huli-tamarind and anna-rice.

Bdsn, I have some marathi moggu, I can give it to you, when we drop in.

sailu said...

Come over for dinner,Paz..:)

Ashwini,your question has been answered by Kay..:)..Huli anna means tamararind rice.

Bdsn,the masala has more than 2 tsps.You can store the masala and use it later too.Yes,its ok if you miss it,I think.Sometimes we dont have all the spices with us..but the marathi mogga is an important ingredients in it.There are many who dont use it in this recipe.

Kay,you said it...HOT-HOT with ghee and papad ..the taste is simply out of the world..:)

Meenal Mehta said...

Heu Sailu,

love them both ..bisi bele bhaath is like khichdi , right?

And I so -so love SouthIndian food .Make curd rice at home all the time:-)

tony said...

Hi Sailu, I have entered this recipe for my weekend event, culinlinkus which I have now rechristened to Curry Mela.

Its here http://anthonyskitchen.blogspot.com/2006/02/curry-mela-5.html

sailu said...

Hi Meenal,I am not sure if we could categorize it on the likes of kichidi...


Mika said...

Great combo- bisi bela bath and also curd rice. My family favorite is to eat bhaath with potato chips (the Indian kind) or even potato curry. Your meal looks yummy.

Vurdlak said...

potatos rule!!