Best Occasion to Prepare this Recipe
Bisi Bele Bath, Bisibele Bhath, Bisibela Bath, Bismillah Bath (lol), and Bis-(something new that’ll come up in future) will continue to mean the same Bisi Bele Huli Anna that is prepared in almost every Kannadiga’s home every other day! Just walk past the door of your Kannadiga neighbour to sniff-in what actually is the best Vegetarian food discovery of that State. For the unacquainted, this dish may look like regular old Sambhar rice but pictures don’t do justice to what makes up this Vegetarian super delight!
I’ll let you in on a teaser – the essence is in the supremely aromatic and spicy Masala Powder! Can literally feel the taste, in your saliva, no? #DinnerItIs!
This stand-alone meal involves a very elaborate cooking process. Before set your mind to making this one for lunch or dinner, do take a look at some of the spices that are key taste-makers. One of the key flavors of this Masala comes from the use of Poppy seeds and dried coconut (kopra)/ dessicated coconut. The bright red color of the Masala comes from generous use of red chilies. Please note that this Masala is meant to be mild tasting (although looks a little more on the spicy side), adjust the use of red chilies based on your taste (Be wary of use of red chilies- spice levels depend on the region they were grown). I refer to this Bisibele bath Masala recipe for my preparation. I prefer not grinding in bulk and storing for future use. Typically, I make Bisibele Bath at home only when I have guests over or during special occasions. For obvious reasons of shelf life, I tend to grind it fresh then and there. Honestly, I’m sure freshly ground powder enriches the taste and aroma of this dish.
If you do not have time for preparing this Masala, I would recommend buying MTR’s Bisibele Bath Masala powder/paste – as it is closer to authentic taste.
This aromatic dish can be prepared within an hour once you have all the ingredients ready.
A fan of Bisi Bele Baath? You love Sambar too, I presume? – If yes, you should check out 20 different Sambar recipes you can cook. Let me know what you think!
PS: Best served HOT with a dallop of Ghee and fresh spicy Boondi Pearls topped on it. I rejoice eating this rice with Vadaam/Vetthal or Potato Chips on the side
My Top Recipe Recommendations
- Traditional Karnataka Style Bisi Bele Baath – She has used German Turnip in this recipe. Vegetables of your choice can be added. I always go with carrots, beans, green peas, drumstick and shallots. Here’s her Bisibelle bath masala powder recipe
- those of you who found it difficult to follow along the above recipe narration can refer to this recipe – it is equally good, with easy prep process
- Tried Rekha Aduge’s recipe also recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. I however was frugal with the use of Potatoes – definitely dial it down and you’ll see the difference
- Udipi Style Bisi Bele Bath Recipe – Fresh and authentic style of cooking Bisi Bele Bath. Peanuts are added with veggies for cooking. Boiled Rice and Dal are added to the veggie mix. Closed with simple and tasty garnish
- MTR Style Bisibele Bath Recipe – Some great take-aways – avoid using vegetables like brinjal, bhindi, or radish as they don’t complement the basic flavor of the dish. Potatoes are a no-no too as they tend to absorb all the spice flavors, leaving the rest of the dish bland. To get that perfect texture and taste, use only small-grained rice for this preparation – avoid Basmati Rice
- Tamil Style Sambar Sadam / Tamil Bisibele Rice – Totally non – traditional use of veggies and even the spice mix lacks use of cloves/ marathi muggu/cinnamon/poppy seeds. But this is a beloved recipe in Tamil Nadu- try it and let me know if you like it!
- Aval/Poha BisiBele Bath – Whoever said Upma is the only best recipe to be tried with Poha? Try this out and you’ll change your mind!
Similar process can be followed in making Oats/Quinoa Bisibele Bath as well
My Improv & Notes
- Choice of veggies is completely open ended- some people go with drumsticks, radish, green peas, capsicum, brinjal, turnip, Gobi, broccoli and even cucumber. I prefer sticking with the traditional ones- carrots, beans, green peas, drumstick and shallots. That said, it’s important to strike a balance between proportion of rice and veggies. I’d go with more rice and lesser veggies
- You can also add Mochai / Tender Field Beans if you have them available!
- Use Shallots in Sambar for better taste together with regular onions that go with the recipe
- If you have access to byadgi chillies, use them as they’re authentically added in bisibele bath recipes. They look bit shrunken and longer than the regular red chillies. If you like your Bisibele bath spicier than what you taste in the restaurants, use regular hot chilies to bump-up the spice units
- Kopra/ Dry coconut is as I mentioned, one of the game changers of this recipe. Don’t fret if you can’t get them in a store near you – you can also use desiccated coconut in place of kopra
- I have always prepared Bisi Bele bath as a one pot meal. It comes out great! Dal, Rice and Veggies get perfectly cooked and mushy just the way they have to be. I like my rice to be a little “Guey” – retaining water rather than hard as a lump and so add little more water than what’s mentioned in the recipe proportion
- Incase of boiling Dal separately from rice, Toor Dal used in Sambar should be cooked till soft and mushy. Use 1:4 ratio of Dal and Water and add some cooking oil in the pressure cooker. Wait until 4-5 whistles. Incase your dal didn’t turn mushy, mix 1-2tsp of Besan Flour with 1/4 cup water and add to Dal while boiling thereby giving Dal it’s actual consistency
- Bisibelle Bath should be less tangy. Pick out a small gooseberry size tamarind
- Instead of cashewnuts, I sometimes use peanuts too for garnish, many recipes go with the Peanuts. I love to ghee-roast a lavish number of Cashewnuts and toss them over
- Toss in a very small amount of Bhellam/Jaggery for the typical taste of Karnataka Style Bisi Bele Baath