Here’s a recipe that I have received a lot of requests for: Bisi Bele Bath. That’s the name of the dish in Karnataka and translates as “Hot Lentil Rice”. It is a masala that is available in most Indian grocery stores nowadays, but you do not get an authentic touch that a homemade masala gives. Fresh ingredients also make the masala special and it tastes lot better when you use to make the masala and use it right away.
Bisi bele bath is unique to the state of Karnataka. It is a delicate combination of the right spices with the right amount of lentils. The key is to boil the vegetables and rice separately and to use fresh ingredients for masala.
As far as the vegetables go, I prefer to use green beans and carrots. You could try variations with other like peas and beets. For this recipe, I am sticking to the traditional ingredients. Alternatively, if you prefer to buy the masala from your local grocer, you could prepare the dish faster by cooking the vegetables and lentils in a pressure cooker. Bisi bele bath is best served hot with crunchy potato or sweet potato chips.
- 1 cup rice ( Jasmine rice)
- 1/2 cup Toor dal
- 1 /2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped green beans
- 1 tsp Black gram
- 1 tsp Split Bengal gram
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp methi seeds/ fenugreek
- 4-5 cloves
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks ( small)
- 7-8 red chilies
- 1 tbsp tamarind
- 1 tbsp jaggery
- 1/2 cup grated roasted coconut
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- Pinch of asafoetida / hing
- Strand of curry leaves
- 2 -3 tsp oil
- Steps for preparing Bisi bele bath masala: Place a pan over medium heat and sauté the following on after another with a teaspoon of coconut oil: Coriander seeds, Black gram, Bengal gram, methi seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon, Red Chilies.
- Blend all the spices and bisi bele bath masala is ready. Keep it aside.
- Cook the rice with 2 ½ cups of water
- Meanwhile, cook the vegetables (Green beans and carrots) in a medium size vessel with water until they are soft. Keep them aside.
- Place a big vessel over medium heat and cook toor dal with 2 cups of water.
- When toor dal is soft, add salt, tamarind and jaggery and Bisi bele bath masala. Stir well.
- After few minutes add chopped vegetables and water. You could also use the water used for cooking the vegetables.
- Now, add cooked rice and stir it gently for an even mix.
- Finally, fry chopped onions until golden brown and add to the rice mix. Bisi Bele Bath is ready for seasoning.
- For seasoning : Place a pan over medium heat and saute mustard seeds over 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. When they start to sputter, add red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this to the main dish and Bisi bele bath is ready!
Serve hot with teaspoon of ghee and chips. Happy cooking !