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Bisi Bele bath

The first thing that pops in my head when I think/hear of Karnataka’s cuisine is Bisi Bele Bath, a dish made of rice & lentil with vegetables and lots of spices. A great one pot meal that can be easily made for serving a big crowd once the spice powder is made ahead of time. Bisi bele bath means piping hot rice-lentil dish. The ingredients list is long and a lot of spices go into this dish but segregating the ingredients and planning a little ahead saves time, the final dish is all worth the hard-work.



This is my first attempt with home-made spice mix from Scratch instead of using the store-bought Bisibele bath powder. Thanks to Radhika of Just homemade for sharing a detailed recipe with tons of information in Veggie Belly. I don’t think I will ever buy a store-bought mix again!


Home made Bisi bela bath powder

I didn’t do any changes to the ingredients but did a few changes here and there in the cooking process, like, instead of cooking the capsicum/bell pepper, sautéed them along with peanuts at the last because I don’t prefer over cooked capsicum/bell pepper flavor.

Other change was cooking the vegetables in tamarind water. I have a fear of raw tamarind flavor in the final step.

Also, I used equal quantity of Rice and Lentil and avoided 4 tsp of oil.

Ingredients you will need:

1 cup Rice (any short grain rice)
1 cup Toor Dhal
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 large Chayote/chow chow peeled and cut in small chunks
1 large Carrot, peeled, cut into 1″ long
Handful Green Beans, ends removed and broken into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup mix of Double beans and green peas
1 small tomato, diced (original recipe but I omitted)
Tamarind (golf ball sized, adjust as per taste)
3 tbsp Bisi Bele Bath powder | Store bought powder
salt – to taste

For Seasoning:

4 tbsp Ghee
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida or hing
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews
1/2 large Green Bell Pepper/Capsicum, seeds removed and cut in small chunks
4 curry leaf stalks


First step, soak tamarind in hot water. Once the water is warm, extract the pulp by squishing soaked tamarind.

Clean and wash rice and lentil and pressure cook them together with turmeric for about 6 whistles with  5 cups of water. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook rice and lentil on stove top with 7 cups of water till well done.

In a large-heavy bottom vessel, cook vegetables and tamarind extract with enough water and salt. Switch off when vegetables are fully cooked but still keep their shape.

Once rice and lentil is cooked, mash them with a masher. If the mixture is too thick, add hot water little by little while mashing.

On medium heat, Add the mashed rice and lentil to the vegetables cooked in tamarind water and mix well. Continuously stir as the rice has a tendency to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Now add the freshly ground powder and mix. Check for spice and salt and add accordingly. Remove from heat.

In a small skillet, add ghee. As the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and peanuts/cashews. As the peanuts start to change in color, add capsicum/bell pepper. Saute till capsicum/bell pepper is tender. Add curry leaves just switching off and add to the rice-lentil-veggie mixture.

Before serving, drizzle a dollop of ghee and serve with appalam/papad or chips, fresh salad and raita. I love to serve the rice with potato fry, recipe: Click here and Nendrankai Chips, recipe: Click here



For more interesting facts, tips and ingredients pictures, read Radhika’s post: Click here!

Happy Cooking

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December 2017
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