Bisi bele bath is a traditional Karnataka dish made of rice, vegetables, lentil (toor dal) and a special spice powder.
Bisi bele bath tastes best with ghee drizzled over and served with potato chips or khara boondi and raita made of onion-cucumber-tomato.
It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
What is Bisi Bele Bath?
In Kannada, ‘bisi’ means hot, ‘bele’ (pronounced as bae-lay ;)) means lentil, ‘bath’ or ‘baath’ is a dish made of veggies and rice or its equivalent like rava or vermicelli.
Bisi bele bath, therefore, translates to ‘hot lentil rice’.
It is flavourful, super delicious and makes for a complete healthy meal comprising of all the food groups- carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, good fat and all the nutrients.
I believe in following a balanced diet and I totally vouch for it. Check out my meal plans on Instagram to make your own healthy diet plan (rather healthy eating plan).
The magic of slow cooking for the best tasting Bisi Bele Bath
The important step of this dish is the slow cooking of all the vegetables, rice, lentil with the powder.
A slow-cooked amalgamation of flavours is what creates the magic here.
My mom and grandma make it in THE MOST authentic way of cooking raw rice and lentil in a big open pot along with the fresh powder and veggies. This takes a long time but the result is amazing.
However, I prefer cooking the rice and lentil beforehand and then including them along with the veggies and spice powder. This saves a lot of time and the result is definitely good and very much authentic.
Have you been cooking the one-pot way of dumping everything in pressure cooker?
Well, it is not bad and I do that too when I am cramped for time.
But honestly, nothing like this slow cooked version!
Bisi bele bath powder- the heart of this dish
The heart of this bisi bele bath is the spice powder (bisi bele bath PUDI as we say in Kannada).
The powder has a set of special ingredients just added in right quantities and proportion.
To make homemade bisi bele bath powder, check this recipe.
It is super easy and hassle-free. Beginner-friendly too with all the tips and stepwise pictures.
I have also tried making bisi bele bath from MTR powder. It is not bad either.
So if you don’t want to make homemade powder for whatever reason, you can use MTR bisi bele bath powder.
Sambar powder tastes much different than bisi bele bath powder, so I highly suggest you NOT to use that for this dish.
Let us get started with the recipe, shall we?
Don’t forget to bookmark this recipe or get your recipe book right away to jot it down. 🙂
Step by Step method to make Bisi Bele Bath
Note: 1 cup= 240ml
First, in a pressure cooker, wash and add in toor dal (split pigeon peas) along with a pinch of turmeric. In another cooker, wash and add rice.
I also cook tamarind (small gooseberry size) in one of the pressure cookers, by keeping it in a small bowl and adding some water. This helps in easy extraction of tamarind juice.
If you have a big pressure cooker, you can cook both rice and dal at once but in two separate containers.
P:S- I have missed taking the picture of rice, but you don’t really need that, do you? 🙂
Add water as required (3/4 cup water for 1/4 cup dal). Let the dal cook for 5 to 6 whistles so that is is completely mushy.
Add 1 cup water to 1/2 cup rice and pressure cook this for 4 whistles.
Once done, mash both rice and dal so that they get more mushier and softer. (but rice shouldn’t be too mushy like in pongal)
Remember we will be cooking these again.
Chop carrot, beans, potato. I like to chop them slightly big, as otherwise they will get overcooked and mushy.
Using onion is optional. Chop them into slightly big pieces. You can use shallots (sambar onion) instead.
I have used frozen peas. Fresh peas or any other peas variety like avarekalu (lilva) or togari kalu (fresh pigeon pea) could be used too.
In a deep thick bottom pan, heat a tbsp of ghee (or oil).
Add in the onions and fry until they are 3/4 th cooked.
Once done, add in the veggies, fry them until they are partially cooked (50%), adding very little water.
If you haven’t used kopra or dessicated coconut while making bisi bele bath powder, you can now blend bisi bele bath powder with a tbsp of kopra, make a thick paste and then add at this stage instead of simply adding the powder.
If you have, just add about 4 tbsp of bisi bele bath powder (click here for the recipe). Add the extracted tamarind juice, a small piece of jaggery.
Let this simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the rawness of the powder is cut down.
Next add in the cooked rice and dal.
I like to mix the dal with rice before and at add this mixture since this is easier for me to mix well. You can instead add both separately if you wish to.
Give everything a good mix by adding water as required.
Mash the rice slightly if you like. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes. If required add water as this will get thick once it starts cooling down.
Lastly, in a small pan add in a tbsp ghee (or oil), mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing and cashews (or peanuts) and roast until cashews turn golden brown in colour.
Add this to the cooked bisi bele bath along with chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.
Serve hot with raita and/or potato chips or khara boondi.
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all.
I would love to hear your feedback on this. When you try it, kindly post your valuable comments below or share it with me personally on Instagram / Facebook. You may also pin it on Pinterest.
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Other recipes you might be interested in
Mysore Dosa Recipe (Home made Dosa batter recipe)
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Note: 1 cup= 240ml
Bisi Bele Bath Recipe- Authentic Karnataka style
- 1/2 or 0.5 cup rice - , sona masuri rice
- 1/4 or 0.25 cup split pigeon pea - , toor dal
- 1 no. carrot - , small
- 12-15 nos. french beans - , green beans
- 1 no. potato - , medium
- 1/4 or 0.25 cup fresh peas
- 1 no. onion - or 10-12 shallots, optional
- 4 tbsp bisi bele bath powder - , recipe link above
- 1 small gooseberry size tamarind
- a big pinch asafoetida/hing
- 1/2 or 0.5 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 8-10 nos. cashews
- 2 tbsp ghee - , or oil
- 6-8 stalks coriander leaves
- Wash and add 1/4 cup toor dal and 3/4 cup water to a pressure cooker. Add a gooseberry sized tamarind with water in a small bowl and cook along with toor dal. Pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles so that dal is mushy.
- Wash and cook 1/2 cup rice in 1 cup water for 4 whistles.
- In a deep thick bottom pan, heat a tbsp of ghee (or oil). Add in the onions and fry until they are 3/4th cooked.
- Once done, add in the chopped veggies, fry them until they are partially cooked (50%), adding very little water.
- If you haven't used kopra or dessicated coconut while making bisi bele bath powder, you can now blend bisi bele bath powder with a tbsp of kopra, make a thick paste and then add this
- Now add about 4 tbsp of bisi bele bath powder or the paste as above. Add the extracted tamarind juice, a small piece of jaggery. Let this simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the rawness of the powder is cut down.
- Next add in the cooked rice and dal. I like to mix the dal with rice first and then add all at once. You can simply add both separately as well and then mix later. Give everything a good mix by adding water as required.
- Mash the rice slightly if you like. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes. If required add water as this will get thick once it starts cooling down.
- Lastly, in a small pan add in a tbsp ghee (or oil), mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing and cashews (or peanuts) and roast until cashews turn golden brown in colour.
- Add this to the cooked bisi bele bath along with chopped coriander leaves. Mix well and serve hot.
- I used about 4- 4.5 tbsps of the bisi bele bath powder. You can add more or less as per taste.
- Adding ghee to cook this is most preferred. If you are a vegan or don't like ghee, use oil instead.
- Peanuts can be used instead of cashews for tempering.
- Keep the consistency slightly thin as it will get thicker on cooling down.
- You can also add other veggies like capsicum, chayote, knol khol.
- Drumstick is NOT used in authentic Karnataka bisi bele bath. So I don't recommend using that.
- Adding onion or shallots is completely optional.