Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bisi Bele Bhat- As authentic as it can get

This my friends, is an authentic rice dish of my home state, Karnataka. The unique combination of rice and toor dal along with some exotic spices and vegetables makes this dish extremely nourishing and satisfying. 

Don't get carried away by the simple and unassuming looks of this rustic dish. Getting the right blend of the spice mix which brings out the aromatic spicy flavour of the dish can be a little tedious. I myself have seen so many of my friends go wrong. Worse, I have even seen them trying to correct the mistake by adding the Garam masala. This to me seems like  sacrosanct to the recipe. Luckily for me, my mom, grandmom and especially my MIL make excellent Bisi bele bhat. In fact this recipe is an amalgamation of all the three. So you can say that this is almost like sharing an heirloom recipe. 

Bisi bele bhat might not be very photogenic but I assure you that it can make one of the most satisfying, healthy and nourishing one pot meal. Top this rice with a dollop of ghee and serve with  onion and tomato raita and potato chips and you can see everyone around you falling in love with this down to earth dish.

Bisi Bele Bhat recipe
Preparation time: 30min
Cooking time: Almost an hour
Serves- 4

Long grained rice- 1 cup
Toor dal or Pigeon peas- 1/2 cup 
Carrot- 1 large, chopped into 1″ pieces
French beans- Chopped into 1″ pieces
Fresh or frozen peas- 1/2 cup
Potato- 1 small, cubed
Onion- 1 med, cut into strips
Tomato- 1, copped fine
Capsicum-1, cut into strips
Tamarind paste- 5 tbsp 
Salt- to taste
Jagerry- 1tbsp 
Ghee  or Clarified butter- 2 tbsp+ extra for serving
Mustard- 1tsp
Curry leaves- 15
Asafotida- 1 large pinch
For the Spice mix
Bengal Gram-1-1/4tbsp
Black gram- 1tbsp
Poppy seeds- 1-1/2tsp
Coriander seeds-1-1/2tbsp
Dried Red chillies- 4-5
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4tsp
Cinnamon- 1″ piece
Cloves- 2
Marati moggu or badi laung- 1 (optional)
Oil- 1tsp
Grated fresh Coconut

  • Pressure cook the pigeon peas and the rice separately and keep aside.
  • Steam cook the vegetables till 3/4th done and set aside.
  • For the spice mix, Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and add the cinnamon, badi laung and cloves and fry for a min.
  • Once the cloves puff up, add the cumin seeds and the fenugreek seeds and saute till they are lightly browned.
  • Add the bengal gram and the black gram and fry for a min more.
  • Add the coriander seeds and poppy seeds and fry till the poppy seeds sputter.
  • Stir in the red chillies and fry till they are crisp.
  • Turn out the heat and add the grated coconut and mix well.
  • Cool the mixture completely and grind the mixture to a fine paste along with some water.
  • In a large vessel, mix the cooked rice and the pigeon peas along with the steamed vegetables and mix well.
  • Add the ground paste, tamarind extract, salt and jagerry and allow the mixture to stand for 30min
  • Heat the clarified butter in a large wok and add the mustard seeds.
  • Once they pop, add the curry leaves and the asafoetida and fry for a min.
  • Add the onion strips and fry till they are tender.
  • Add the tomato and the capsicum and fry till the tomato turns mushy.
  • Add the rice and vegetable mixture and mix well.
  • Add about 5 to 6 cups of water and allow the mixture to simmer on a low flame for 15mins till the consistency of thick porridge is achieved.
  • Check for salt and take off the heat. Serve hot with curd or curd dip of your choice.
P.S.If fresh coconut is not available, then dried coconut can be used in it’s place. 

This recipe is my contribution to Aipi and Priya's Tuesday bookmarked event

and to the lovely My legume love affair event which was started by susanna of the well seasoned cook and whichis now being hosted by Smitha of Kannada Kitchen


  1. its been a while i didnt cook/ate this dish. one of my personal fav. looks very nice

  2. Looks yum n so tempting ..nice pic

  3. Hey that was super quick!!! Thanks so much guys :)

  4. just love this...I can hv it anytime of d day..looks yumm

  5. Comforting n wholesome meal!
    Thanks a lot for linking to bookmarked event :)
    US Masala

  6. Oh wow, that first photo looks soooo pretty. The recipe is totally new to me but the ingredients and the perfect pictures tell me I'd love it, if I tried!

  7. Quite a while since I made this dish... gotta try this week.. lovely preparation!

  8. The pictures are so beautiful ....thanks for posting this authentic recipe ....

    Hamaree Rasoi

  9. Wowwwwwwwww.. looks absolutely perfect and tempting.. thanks for the recipe :)

  10. Perfect n tempting, pass on that bowl pls :)

  11. Ooo, I love that pot in which you are serving.So rustic looking! You know I have heard so much abt this dish but never got a chance to eat it, would love to try your version sometime.

  12. Yummy, all time favorite, comfort one pot meal... :)))

  13. Looks really authentic...my favourite...love the handi in which you have served this..classy shots.

  14. Wat a comforting food, just love it anytime...drooling rite now here..

  15. I am drooling over this as BBB is my absolute favorite Kannada dish and you have presented it so well.

  16. Bisibela bath looks gorgeous.too good.

  17. I used to eat so much of this rice from a shop near my rented apartment in bangalore. Could we make this with moong daal ?

  18. Hi Kankana,

    Thanks so much for your comment. You can make BBB with moong dal as well. I can even make with Poha and moong combo. Let me know if you have any other queries :)

  19. Yummy n filling one pot meal...flavorful BBB...

  20. Hello Nandita..

    Thanks a lot for your entry.. Adore BBB and these pictures are very beautiful. Great presentation.

    Smitha @kannadacuisine

  21. Lovely, as usual! I made this some time ago, although not as elaborately as you did (http://myjhola.blogspot.com/2011/04/bowlful-of-comfort-recipe-bisi-bele.html). Will do your version the next time!

  22. your version reminds me of a bisi bele bath that a friends mom makes. Totally delish for a hosteller :) that platter looks scrummy


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