Bisi Bele Bath: A Classic Karnataka Dish | Sambar Sadam

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One of the most popular rice dishes from Karnataka is the ever classic Bisi Bele Bath. Bisi means hot, bele means dal which translates into hot lentil rice. Like obbatu (bobbatlu/puran poli) bisibele bath takes a special place during festivals and weddings. It’s a one pot meal in which you get your protein, carbs and veggies cooked to perfection in our favourite Indian spices. Cucumber raita on the side is a nice compliment to this classic dish of Karnataka.

Freshly ground spices sure taste great. But I just use the powder my co-sister gives me. I generally freeze it and just take little bit at a time. Freezer is absolutely a wonderful way of storing the spice powders. Freezing not only keeps them fresh, they also stay longer. I directly cooked the Bisi bele bath in a deep pot. You can do so in pressure cooker as well which is much faster.

Sending this to CWS event : Cook with Toor dal happening at my space which is a brain child of Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes

Check out my other versions of Bisi bele bath:


(Serves 4 people)

  • Basmathi rice:  1 cup
  • Toor dal (kandi pappu): 3/4 th cup
  • Beans (about 30) cut into half inch pieces
  • Large carrot: 1 cut into half inch pieces
  • Frozen peas: ½ cup
  • Small potato: 1 cut into small cubes
  • Medium size ripe tomato: 3 cut into small pieces
  • Bisibele bath powder: 3 tsps (recipe below) ( home made or store bought)
  • Palin red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
  • Salt: 2 to 3 tsps
  • Tamarind pulp to taste
  • Oil: 1 tsps

For tempering ( talimpu):

  • Oil: 2 tbsps
  • Few mustard seeds
  • Chana dal : 1 tsps
  • Turmeric: 1/4th tsp
  • Few curry leaves
  • Small onion: 1 (chop into small pieces)
  • Hing (asafetida): 5 pinches

Bisi bele bath powder:

  • chana dal- 3 tsp
  • urad dal- 3 tsp
  • fenugreek (methi seeds)- about 4 seeds
  • dry coconut- 3 tsps
  • red chillies- 5 to 6
  • jeera (cumin)- 1 tsp
  • coriander seeds- 1 tsp
  • cloves- 2
  • cardamom- 1
  • cinammon stick- a small piece

Fry all the above ingredients in 1 tsp oil. Grind to a smooth paste and use 3 tsps of this mixtue for the Bisi bele bath.

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  • If time permits, soak toor dal for few minutes. Then take a deep pot, add seven cups of water, toor dal, 1 tsp oil and half tsp of salt and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook till the dal is half way done. This takes about ten minutes. Mean while prep all the veggies. After ten minutes add the beans and tomato and cook for another five minutes. Then add the rest of the veggies: carrot, potato and peas.
  • Just stir a minute then add the washed rice, mix and cook till the rice is almost done.
  • Meanwhile in another pan do the tempering. Add oil and mustard seeds, once the mustard seeds start popping, add the chana dal, curry leaves and onion. Cook till onion becomes soft, then add the hing and turn the stove off.
  • In a small cup, take the bisi bele bath powder and salt. Mix with few tsps of water, stir and mix this powder and the tamarind pulp in the cooked rice mixture. This way of adding the bisi bele bath powder helps from not forming any lumps. Stir the whole mixture gently and cook till the rice is completely done. If you feel you need more water, add it now. Then at the end add the tempering and turn the heat off.

Let stand for few minutes before serving.

Enjoy this ever classic Bisi bele bath with a dollop of ghee, cucumber raita and chips.

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