Bisi Bele Bath is a traditional breakfast dish from the South Indian state - Karnataka. This gluten-free, porridge style dish is a perfect blend of carbs, fiber, protein and bold flavors to ensure that you start your day with a healthy, heavy and delicious breakfast.
A few days back, I read an article about Diana Henry, and her amazing collection of over 4000 cook books.
Yep, over 4000. That gave me an excuse to look at my collection of books (well, not just cookbooks, but regular books) and gave me a chance for little tidying up my collection & introspection.
I used to read a lot when I was in school/college.
I remember the time when I would read the Enyd Blyton books and imagine solving mysteries with Secret Seven and Famous Five. I imagined myself as George (Georgina from famous Five, I had very short hair at that time) and pretend I am drinking lemonade and sharing all those treats with my other friends. 🙂
The book's pages were where magic happened.
There were other responsibilities to fulfill, other roles to take part in, and reading books took a backstage. Though I have never given up reading, I have become very picky in what I read. There was a time when I could not put down a book, however boring it was. Not anymore. If something does not catch my fancy, I give up.
Life is too short to spend reading a book you don't like.
Looking through my own collection reminded me of a Face Book challenge that I took part in a couple of years ago. If you are active on FaceBook you will remember this challenge, not exactly a challenge per se, but you had to list 10 of your favorite books and tag a few of friends to do the same. It was only a challenge because I had to decide and pick just 10 books. Now that was a real challenge.
It took me a while to decide the 10 most important books I read, the ones that made a huge impact on me, where I joined the characters in the books and felt their hope, shared their dreams, lived their despair, fell in love. These characters never left me till this day, you know what I mean?
Here were my 10 books.
The Day Of The Jackal
Gone With The Wind
The Good Earth
The Night Circus
Palace Of Illusions
Enid Blyton series
The God Father
Harry Potter series
These books, their characters and situations have stayed with me like the good (the bad and the ugly) memories. That empty feeling you get when you finish a good book. An void that cannot be filled.
Apart from these mentioned above, there are few that I have to make a note of
The Diary Of A Young Girl (Anne Frank)
A Fine balance
Eye Of The Needle
Me Before You
The Cliffton Chronicles (or anything by Jeffery Archer)
All The Light We cannot See
These days, I spend a lot of time reading cookbooks . In this world of internet and being a blogger, you might perhaps wonder "why cook books?". Well, agreed that one search on the internet gives you tons and tons of recipe at your fingertips.
Books do have an old world charm.
And you can gift a cookbook but you cannot gift a blog. :).
But cookbooks, have a serious drawback, one being the number of recipes are so very limited, where as if you subscribe to a blog, then the number of recipes you get are unlimited. Then of course, if you have a doubt, it is very rare that you can contact the cook book author, where as you get a personalized recipe consultant in the form of the blogger.
But I still love a good, well written cook book.
Well, there was this one cookbook - a collection of traditional South Indian (a lot of Konkani dishes are mentioned in the book) recipes Dakshin Bharat Dishes by Jaya V Shenoy, which I wanted to own for a very long time. Imagine my surprise when I got as a gift from my aunt during my last visit to India. I have heard stories about how daughters were given this book as gift from moms when they got married. It is a like a Bible of South Indian dishes. But now, since people are also exploring other cuisines, they have included recipes for other cuisines too, mainly North Indian.
Bisi Bele Huli Anna | Bisi Bele Bath Recipe
Let's get a little technical about the recipe here, what say?
The recipe for bisi bele bath masala (Bisi means hot, bele is dal/lentils and bath is rice - you get the idea? )is adapted from the book, Dakshin Bharat Dishes. Before I got the book, I used to make bisi bele bath, but I used to make it with the store bought masala powder. But if you have time, do try to make the spice mix at home. Why? Simply because the aroma of the roasted spices is pretty awesome. I like making this masala at home because it gives me the freedom to make it flavorful without giving it an overpowering spicy (heat) taste. I always try to use the Byadagi Chillies (very famous variety of whole red dried chilli) from Karnataka to get the perfect heat and color to the dish.
Bisi bele bath is also called bisi bele huli anna (means hot tangy rice with dal/lentils) which describes the ingredients as well as the tangy taste.
This traditional breakfast from Karnataka has all elements from the different food groups - carbs, protein, nuts, good fat, vegetables - all that is required for a healthy and fresh start to your day. I add a little oats to amp up the fiber content (if you do.not.like oats, this is a good way to eat it, you would.not even know it is there, I promise). This is my way of cheating myself to eat oats (I do not like oatmeal) and it is perfectly legit. 🙂
At some point while working on my recipes, I realized that not all people who read my blog are familiar with Indian spices. So, when I blog about traditional Indian recipe like this one, I link to amazon providing a list of spices/condiments.
(Indian) Ingredients for Bisis Bele Bath Masala
There are some typical Indian ingredients that are used in the recipe. if you are not familiar with them, these amazon links should give you an idea about the ingredients. Most of these should be available in your nearest Indian grocery store.
- Udad Dal
- Black Mustard Seeds
- Fresh Curry Leaves – I love using fresh curry leaves. But sometimes it is difficult to get fresh leaves every time, buy some (extra) fresh leaves when you come by them. Wash, dry and store them in your refrigerator. Use as needed.
- Chana Dal
- Byadagi Chillies
- Marathi Moggu (also calle Marata moggu)
- Tamarind Pulp
- Toor Dal
- Bisi Bele Bath tastes even better when served with some crispy Khara Boondi. Khara Boondi are those golden pearls you see as garnish in the picture below.
- If you do not want to go the whole nine yards and make the masala yourself, but still want to try this dish, you can use this pre-made masala.
Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi Bele Bath Masala
- ½ cup grated coconut fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 4 teaspoon udad dal/blackgram dal
- 2 teaspoon chana dal/ bengal gram dal
- 6-8 whole Byadagi chillies adjust to taste
- 1 pinch cumin seeds
- 1 pinch fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
- ½ teaspoon pepper corns
- ¼ teaspoon haldi/turmeric powder/ground turmeric
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 3-4 cloves
- 2 marata moggu
- 1 cardamom; husked
- a few drops of oil
Bisi Bele Bath
- 2 cups about 150 grams diced vegetables (your choice; I used carrots, green beans and Chayote Squash)
- ¼ cup about 50grams rice
- ¼ cup about 50 grams toor dal/spilt pigeon peas
- ¼ cup about 25 grams oats (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoon Bisi Bele Bath Masala Powder; adjust to your taste
- 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp
- Salt to taste
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee use oil instead of ghee to make it vegan
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ¼ cup cashew nuts/peanuts
- 4-5 Pearl onions/small shallots; thinly sliced optional
- 10-12 curry leaves
Bisi Bele Bath Masala
- In a small pan, dry roast the spices (coriander seeds, udad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds, methi seeds,pepper corns, cloves, cinnamon, maratha moggu) one by one till aromatic. Remove from heat and keep it aside till ready to use.
- In the same pan, dry roast coconut till aromatic and golden brown in color. Remove from heat and keep it along with the roasted spices.
- To the same frying pan, add a few drops of oil and roast the whole red chillies.
- Once cooled, using the food processor or a strong blender (or even a coffee grinder), grind all the roasted spices along with coconut, roasted red chillies and cardamom to a fine powder.
- Store in an airtight container till ready to use.
Bisi Bele Bath
- Wash and drain rice and toor dal. Pressure cook them together (with about 3 cups water) for about 4-5 whsitles. Let the steam escape.
- Meanwhile, in a different saucepan, cook the vegetables till tender.
- Once the steam escapes from the pressure cooker, open the lid and add the cooked vegetables, tamarind pulp and salt.
- Bring it to a boil on medium heat.
- Add bisi bele bath masala and oats (if required add water to adjust the consistency) and mix well.
- Let this simmer till the oats cooks well.
Prepare the tempering/tadka
- Heat ghee over medium heat in a small tadka pan.
- Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add cashew nuts, curry leaves and shallots (if using) and saute till shallots are browned.
- Pour the tadka or tempering over the rice mix and serve hot with khara boondi.