Bisibelebath/ Curried Rice & Lentils

It is rather surprising that after such a long time in the blog-o-sphere, I still have not posted the poster child of Kannadiga food! I did call it the emperor of Kannadiga food as well...May be not the emperor, personally it is always Vangibath for me :) So definitely the king. And I have met loads of people who tend to think of only Bisibelebath as Kannadiga food, clubbing everything else as 'Madrasi' meaning 'South-Indian'. I get mad, feel like screaming 'folks, I am as much alien to 'Madrasi' culture/language/food as you are'. But what is the point convincing folks who hardly know the difference between Masale Dose and Set Dose. Ha!
It reminds of this cute friend of mine, who of course moved to Bangalore post-software boom. Being a Bihari, he was hardly into South-Indian foods. He kept telling me that the Masala Dosa he used to have, back in Patna or where ever it was in Bihar, was much better than what they make in Bangalore!! and he had major problem with 'double beans' the big plump bean that is very expensive and is copiously used in Kannadiga Pulaos. I found it so very funny. This time when I was in India MIL wanted to prepared Pulao and she belongs to that category of cooks who cannot go ahead without all the listed ingredient, and in this case it was double beans and fresh peas. So we got quater kilogram of each. The peas costed Rupees 40 per 1/4 kilo. The double beans costed Rupees 50 per 1/4 kilo!!! While the shelling the two, I was just thinking what my Bihar friend would do if we served him the pulao that day.. Such a sheer waste right. But then that is way they say, 'Loko-bhino-ruchi', that is taste is not uniform.

Bisibelebath also reminds me of this puccha Delhite friend of mine in Delhi. My mom made all nice bisibelebath with loads of ghee. My friend happened to drop by and my mom served him a ladle full of steaming bisibelebath. I was so anxious to see his reaction. He did seem to enjoy it. But then my heart sank when he said, " Auntyji, badiya hai, like Khichdi". Comparing Khichdi to bisibelebath! what a sacrilage. The two have nothing in common except rice and the consistency. Thankfully there were others who throughly enjoyed and really appreciated it.

So here comes my second love.... Bisibelebath. This is what my Doddamma had prepared when we visited her in Chikkanayakanahalli, Tumkur dist. She has a coconut plantation and it was lovely meal of Bisibelebath, obbattu etc. It was so much more enjoyable because of the Mutukada leaf plates that we had it in. I simply have to eat that way - plantain leaf or Mutukada leaf, and the meal will be so much better.

Bisi Bele Bhaath

You will need,

For the pressure cooker:

Rice 3/4 cup
Tur Dal a little less than 1/2 cup
Vegetables (green beans, carrots, potatos, green peas) 2 cups
Water 6 cups
Turmeric a pinch
Ghee a teaspoon

For the Masala /Bisibelebath Pudi

Channa Dal 1 tbsp
Urad Dal 1 tbsp
Dhania seeds 2 tbsp
Dried Red Chillies - Byadige -20 and above
Fenugreek a generous pinch
Kopra/ dry coconut/ dessicated coconut 4 tbsp
Cinnamon 1/4"
Marathi Moggu 1
Tamarind 1/2 tbsp
Jaggery size of a lemon (adjust according to taste)
Salt to taste

For the tadka

Ghee 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Hing a generous dash
Curry leaves 20-25
Dry red Chillies broken 4-5
Cashews broken 15-20 pieces

  1. Wash rice and dal, combine it with the rest of the ingredient mentioned under 'for the pressure cooker' in a pressure cooker. Turn on the heat
  2. Cook for two/three whistles till soft and completely cooked. Set it aside
  3. Mean time, toast all the spices under the 'masala' individually till fragrant.
  4. Toast the Kopra as well. Make sure it is still pale golden in colour.
  5. Combine the toasted spices, Kopra and everything else under the 'masala' with a little water in a blender and grind it into a paste. The paste should be slightly coarse, not too smooth like say Sandal paste, but still slightly coarse, like say chutney.
  6. Pour the ground masala and some water into a thick bottomed big pot. Bring it to a boil. simmer. Make sure there is enough water in the masala and it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. So keep and eye on it and keep stirring. Simmer it for 20 minutes, till the rawness of the masala disapper and the aroma is mellow and heady. If you have any doubts about the doneness of the masala, go ahead and simmer it for another 10 minutes, but do not hurry into the next step.
  7. Once the masala is cooked and aromatic, carefully mix in the cooked rice-dal-vegetable mixture. Needs to be very careful, it is gonna scald in the matter of seconds.
  8. Combine eveything well. Bring it to a gentle boil.
  9. Prepare the tadka. Heat ghee in a pan. Throw in the mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves, chillies and the cashwenuts one by one. Pour the sizzling mixture on the rice mixuture.
  10. Adjust salt. Add more ghee if needed. Serve hot with Bundi or chips or mixture of choice.
Serves 5-6 people

P.S : I am adding this after a complaint from my cousin who grew up in Bellary. He says had not tasted a good BBB till he moved to Tumkur! And that no one in North Karnataka really calls BBB their own..It is sort of very alien to folks from the northern parts. So I stand corrected and say BBB is very representative of South-Karnataka instead of just Karnataka. He also suggest I do something that highlights the regional cuisines of Karnataka. Now that is a jabardast Idea.


Deepthi Shankar said...

I love bisibelebath .. This is such an authentic karnataka food alva?

Kannada Cuisine said...

Howdu alva!! Kannada food = Bisibelebath!!!

Unknown said...

Yes you are perfectly 100%right Kannada da oota andare bisi bisi bisibelebatu,obbattu nenpikku brothe allva hummmmm mouthwatering yummmmy.

Savi-Ruchi said...

for me, bisibelebhath is the emperor of Karnataka food & vangi bhath is king. I love love bisibelebhath. I am drooling here & will prepare soon :)

Lakshmi said...

BBB bagge estu baridru salalla bidi. Istu dina Mysore nalli idde, eega vapis bande nodi. Ammana last journey nalli palagolloke hogidwi. We miss her and certainly the BBB she used to make for us when we were young.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Dear LG,

I only wish there was a better reason for you absence all these day :( God bless..

Vani said...

Looks great! And served on the leaf - classic!

Kannada Cuisine said...

Thanks Vani

lubnakarim06 said...

Oh wow i tasted this at one of my friends house in Bangalore and you can say it was love at first yum....

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

lol!!!! loved your write up.... u r so right about the generalizing of south indian food and calling it Madrasi. it makes me really mad. BBB looks delicious! I'd def go ahead and call it the emperor.... though I love Vangibhaat, I wouldn't call it completely a kannadiga dish bcoz of the telugu word 'Vangai' meaning eggplants. I love the dish, but I still prefer placing BBB on the throne!! :D:D

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Kitchen Flavours, Glad you like BBB!!

@Ramya... I sort of agree with you. Cannot call Vangibath the emperor cos as you say it has a non-Kannada word in its title :)

Namratha said...

Those leaves are awesome, it makes a meal very authentic. BBB illa andhre kannadiga oota ne alla..

Kannada Cuisine said...

Howdalva Namratha!! I am so happy that there are so many of us who happened to love BBB :)

Sudhir R said...

Thanks for the post script

Sudhir R said...

Thanks for the Postscript

turmericnspice said...

we love bbb always a weekend delicacy...followed by a nap!! u have a nice blog here.

Unknown said...

Thanks a ton for the amazing BB bath recipe.. It was tasting yummy!! Please keep posting some more traditional recipes like this...

Unknown said...

Thanks a ton for the amazing Bisi bele bath recipe.. it was yummy.. Please keep posting some more traditional recipes like this..

DA said...

Do we not add drumsticks to the mix in Tumkur? Seems to be the norm in Bangalore.

DA said...

Do we not add drumsticks to the mix in Tumkur? Seems to be the norm in Bangalore.

Kannada Cuisine said...

DA! I don't add Drumsticks to Bisibelebhat either. But if you were to without getting them all mushed up I would think it fine...

Jayanthi Sridhar said...

Just made it for a party yesterday. It turned out great. I added2regular spicy chillies to increase the heat a little and used peanuts in tadka along with the other ingredients. It was awesome. Thanks for the recipe. Jayanthi Sridhar

Kannada Cuisine said...

Thanks Jayanthi... I am so glad that you and your family loved it

subbarayan.K.R said...

hi there s no mention of tamarind juice which is the main ingredient in the preparation of BBB. Ur details are useless as it does not amount to preparation of BBB. Pl check

Kannada Cuisine said...

@Subbarayan K.R,

Yes I agree that there cannot not be BBB with out Tamarind. But not necessarily tamarind juice, tamarind works as well. Please go through the list of ingredients carefully and you will find tamarind listed.
Appreciate if you can send a minute more and look up the ingredients list before complaining!

shilpa vishwanath said...

I preoared the dish and it turned our very delicious....thank u for sharing the recipe on the website......

Anonymous said...

Hello, you used too write great, but the lst few posts have been kinda boring�I miss your suprr writings.

Past few posts aree just a litle out of track! come on!