Being a foodie, I can lay my claim to anything and everything that gets served in a plate to me. However, I must admit that some regional cuisine in India are more dear to me than others.
Brought up in a Goan Konkani family, I grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai. I believe this pretext must be sufficient to convince you dear readers of my love for seafood. Though I have moved out from Mumbai almost a decade ago and settled in its sister city of Pune, I still get excited by coastal food and my heart fills with happiness and glee every time I step into a restaurant that marks seafood as its specialty.
After I got married in a North Indian family (Uttar Pradesh), I started exploring a food culture that was unexplored territory for me until then. Here’s a hint of advice for all those who nurse apprehensions in their mind for unknown. Step out of your comfort zone and you will be in for some really pleasant surprise. So that’s how cuisine of UP-Bihar began featuring on my list of favorites.
Though staying in Mumbai had given me decent exposure to Karnataka cuisine, but I believe my knowledge was more of “on the surface”. So when I moved to Manipal in Karnataka to pursue my PG in culinary arts, it gave me an opportunity to know the culture and cuisine of Karnataka more closely. What worked in my favor is the fact that the city of Udupi was too close to our hostel and it gave us an excellent opportunity to experience the rich and diverse culture and food of Udupi. Besides being the temple city, Udupi also boasts of a rich cuisine that has spread itself in various parts of country. In fact much before I acquired geographical knowledge of our country to know that Udupi is a city in Karnataka, I had tasted idlis, dosas and Vadas at Udupi restaurants in Mumbai. Being in that city of which I had heard of since my childhood was a moment of joy for me. I was going to be part of this city for more than a year and I had every intention of exploring all the food items, local delicacies, lost recipes that city had to offer. I also went around to other cities and towns of Karnataka trying out the food that it had to offer. Thus the Karnataka cuisine was added to my list of favorites.
While I was in Bangalore, two food joints that I would often visit were MTR and Adigas. Though MTR has acquired more popularity and rightly so for its food, Adigas is not far behind. I have enjoyed my South Indian Breakfast at these places several times and during one of these visits I was coaxed by a localite friend to try out Bisi Bele Bath. I was absolutely blown away by the flavors of the dish. Though it seemed to be innocuous combination of lentils, rice and vegetables which doesn’t appears to be such a culinary treat after all, but the flavors and aroma had filled my senses. I knew straight away I would be experiencing this pleasure many more times.
Bisi Bele Bath literally translates into “Hot Lentil Rice”. The secret of this dish is a spice blend known as “Bisi Bele Bath Masala powder” which puts this dish on a pedestal in culinary landscape of Karnataka cuisine. If you happen to be in Bangalore, Udupi, Mangalore etc. finding this spice blend is not a difficult task at all and you can easily procure one from any super-market. However, if you happen to stay in other cities like I do, then getting this spice blend can be a difficult task which is why we started blending Bisi Bele Bath Masala Powder at home. This tangy, spicy and hot dish is what you need on a lazy Sunday afternoon especially during these monsoons.
Find more recipes from Karnataka cuisine
Here we go with the recipe.
- 1 cup=200 grams long grain Basmati Rice. Soak rice in water for an hour. Instead of Basmati Rice, you can even use short grain rice.
- ½ cup=100 grams Tur Dal (pigeon peas). Soak Tur Dal in water for an hour.
- ¼th cup Shallots (also known as Sambhar Onions) cut into slices
- ¼th cup frozen green peas
- ¼th cup French beans
- ½ cup potatoes cut into bigger cubes
- ½ cup carrots cut into bigger cubes
- 1 drum stick (cut into pieces)
- 3 tbsp. Bisi Bele Bath Masala Powder
- ¼th tsp asafoetida powder
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ¼th cup cashew nuts
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp. tamarind pulp
- 1 tbsp. jaggery (gud)
- 2 tbsp. clarified butter (ghee)
- Salt to taste
- Coconut Oil (Cooking Oil)
- We are not going to use pressure cooker for the recipe. In a large pan, boil 1.5 liter of water. Add 1 tsp Salt and 1 tsp Oil and turmeric powder. Mix well.
- Add soaked Dal. Cook until Dal is 75% done.
- As Dal gets 75% cooked, add soaked Rice and mix well. Lower the heat and cook covered for 2 mins.
- Uncover the pan and now add all the veggies to the pan (Potato, Carrots, Drum Sticks, French Beans and Green Peas). Add salt to taste and mix well. Allow the mixture to boil.
- As the mixture boils, cover the pan. Cook covered until the dish is completely done. Keep 2-3 cups of hot water in reserve (for later use).
- Meanwhile, let's fry cashew nuts and shallots. Add 1 tbsp. clarified butter and 1 tsp coconut oil. Add Cashew Nuts and fry until it turns brown in color.
- Add 1-2 tsp oil. Now add Shallots and fry until it attains light brown color.
- After 10-12 mins, uncover the pan and add fried shallots. Add 2 cups of hot water and allow it to boil.
- add 3 tbsp. Bisi Bele Bhat Masala Powder, add jaggery and tamarind pulp and mix. Bisi Bele Bath must be of thin consistency. Add 1 cup of hot water. Cook covered for 3-4 mins on low heat.
- Bisi Bele Bhat is ready in 4 mins. Turn off the heat and prepare for tempering.
- Heat 1 tbsp. clarified butter in a pan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and curry leaves. Pour this tadka on the dish and keep covered until serving
- Garnish with Coriander Leaves and fried Cashew Nuts. Bisi Bele Bath can be served in breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Click here to watch recipe video