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Bisi Bele Bhat – Indian Spicy Lentil And Rice Pot

Bisi Bele Bhat is a spicy melting pot of rice, lentils and vegetables, common in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Text And Photos By Nandita Nataraj

Think Karnataka (state of south India) cuisine and the first thing that comes to mind is Bisi Bele Bhat.  Bisi bele bhat literally translates to hot lentil rice in Kannada language. The preparation of this dish is quite elaborate and involves the use of spices like asafotida, cinnamon and cloves. These spices contribute to the unique flavor and taste of the dish. This rice is normally served as is or sometimes it consumed with a yogurt dip and potato wafers. This medley of rice and lentils is considered to be one of the most nourishing one pot meals in India.

Bisi Bele Bhat - Indian Spicy Lentil and Rice Pot Recipe
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
A spicy melting pot of rice, lentils and vegetables
Author:
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Long grained rice- 1 cup or 16 Oz
  • Pigeon peas- ½ cup of 8 Oz
  • Carrot- 1 large, chopped into 1" pieces
  • French beans- Chopped into 1" pieces
  • Fresh or frozen peas- ½ cup
  • Potato- 1 small, cubed
  • Onion- 1 med, cut into strips
  • Tomato- 1, copped fine
  • Capsicum-1, cut into strips
  • Tamarind paste- 5 tbsp or 2.5 Oz
  • Salt- to taste
  • Jagerry- 1tbsp or 0.5 Oz
  • Clarified butter- 2 tbsp or 1 Oz
  • Mustard- 1tsp
  • Curry leaves- 15
  • Asafotida- 1 large pinch
  • For the Spice mix
  • Bengal Gram-1-1/4tbsp
  • Black gram- 1tbsp
  • Poppy seeds- 1-1/2tsp
  • Coriander seeds-1-1/2tbsp
  • Dried Red chillies- 4-5
  • Cumin seeds- 1tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds- ¼tsp
  • Cinnamon- 1" piece
  • Cloves- 2
  • Oil- 1tsp
  • Grated fresh Coconut
Instructions
  1. Pressure cook the pigeon peas and the rice separately and keep aside.
  2. Steam cook the vegetables till ¾th done and set aside.
  3. For the spice mix, Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and add the cinnamon and cloves and fry for a min.
  4. Once the cloves puff up, add the cumin seeds and the fenugreek seeds and saute till they are lightly browned.
  5. Add the bengal gram and the black gram and fry for a min more.
  6. Add the coriander seeds and poppy seeds and fry till the poppy seeds sputter.
  7. Stir in the red chillies and fry till they are crisp.
  8. Turn out the heat and add the grated coconut and mix well.
  9. Cool the mixture completely and grind the mixture to a fine paste along with some water.
  10. In a large vessel, mix the cooked rice and the pigeon peas along with the steamed vegetables and mix well.
  11. Add the ground paste, tamarind extract, salt and jagerry and allow the mixture to stand for 30min
  12. Heat the clarified butter in a large wok and add the mustard seeds.
  13. Once they pop, add the curry leaves and the asafoetida and fry for a min.
  14. Add the onion strips and fry till they are tender.
  15. Add the tomato and the capsicum and fry till the tomato turns mushy.
  16. Add the rice and vegetable mixture and mix well.
  17. Add about 5 to 6 cups of water and allow the mixture to simmer on a low flame for 15mins till the consistency of thick porridge is achieved.
  18. Check for salt and take off the heat. Serve hot with curd or curd dip of your choice.
Notes
If fresh coconut is not available, then dried coconut can be used in it's place.

Nandita Nataraj

Nandita Nataraj

Nandita was born, bred and spread in India, but right now lives in Tanzania where her quest for simple and exotic pleasures of food led to the creation of the blog Paaka-Shaale. She believes that food is not just a means to feed a body. But it is also meant to appeal the mind and satiate the soul.

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Originally Published: December 6, 2013

2 Responses to Bisi Bele Bhat – Indian Spicy Lentil And Rice Pot

  1. Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    Nancy Lopez-McHugh Reply

    May 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Nandita this is a great recipe to kick off your first H.C. post. Welcome and looking forward to more.

  2. Tamara Novakoviç

    Tamara Novakoviç Reply

    May 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This is very interesting and sounds delicious

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