Bisi bele bath or Bisi Bele huli anna is one of the traditional Karnataka recipes that is prepared in most kannada speaking homes. The authentic recipe is a no onion and no garlic recipe, as it is a popular and special dish among the vegetarian folks who do not eat onions and garlic. The authentic bisi bele bath recipe does not call for onions, instead fresh coconut or poppy seeds or dry coconut is used.
What is bisi bele bath?
Bisi bele bath is a popular dish made with rice, lentils, mix veggies & a special spice powder known as bisi bele bath powder.
Bisi in kannada translates to hot (temperature), bele translates to lentils & bath is a gooey dish. It is also known as bisi bele huli anna in some parts of karnataka. Huli means sour and anna is rice.
Bisi bele bath is dal and rice cooked together with tamarind and spice powders. As the name suggests it has to be served hot. It tastes best when seasoned in ghee and served hot.
There are many modern versions of bisi bele bath. Iam sharing the recipe I got from our Hassan based home cook. I have been cooking this for years now and has always turned out to be the best. This recipe yields bisi bele bath that tastes almost the same that is served in MTR.
Tips to make the best bisi bele bath
1.To make bisi bele bath, you can use store bought powder or make your own. MTR brand works the best. I am also sharing an easy bisi bele bath powder recipe that smells great and is aromatic to give that authentic touch.
You can also make this powder good enough for a month or two by following this bisibelebath powder recipe.
2.Rice and dal can be cooked together or separately. I like to make my dal mushy but not the rice, so i cook the rice grainy but fully cooked.
I also cook them separately so that the rice doesn’t get mushy but the dal is cooked to smooth which gives the creamy & smooth taste to the bisi bele bath. If you like to have both mushy, then you can cook rice and dal together.
3.Bisi bele bath is one of those special vegetarian dishes which is made even on occasions like festivals or when we have guests home. If you are making it for a crowd prepare the bisibelebath powder 1 day ahead. Make the dish very gooey as it thickens over time.
4. If it turns too thick after few hours. Then bring some water to a rolling boil, then add 1 tbsp ghee to it. Pour this to the bisi bele bath and stir. If needed heat it. This helps to bring the dish to right consistency. Avoid pouring cold water.
Karnataka style bisi bele bath recipe
Instant pot instructions after the recipe card.
Bisi bele bath
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
bisi bele bath powder or use MTR powder
- 4 red chilli or vana menasinakai (byadgi)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick or chekke or dalchini
- 2 cloves or lavanga
- 1 teaspoon cumin or jeera or jeerige
- 1 teaspoon urad dal or uddina bele or skinned black gram
- 1 teaspoon chana dal or kadale bele or bengal gram
- 2 pinches fenugreek seeds or methi seeds or 2 chitike menthe
- 1 ½ tablespoon coriander seeds or kothambari beeja or daniya
- 1 small marati moggu (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut (optional) fresh or dry or poppy seeds or gasgase
for bisi bele bath
- ¾ cup rice
- ½ cup toor dal or split pigeon peas (can reduce 2 tbsps)
- 8 shallots or 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut (use to make powder)
- Small lemon sized tamarind ball
- 1 ½ teaspoon jaggery or bella
- ½ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- ¼ cup green peas
- 5 french beans or ¼ cup avarekalu
- ¼ cup capsicum cubed (optional)
- ½ cup carrots diced
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 10 cashews broken
- 1 Pinch asafoetida or hing
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1 red chili broken (deseeded)
How to make the recipe
Making bisi bele bath powder
- You can skip this section and just use ready made bisi bele bath. On a low flame dry roast red chilies, chana dal & urad dal until golden. Then add coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon & moggu. When they turn aromatic remove to a plate.
- Add methi seeds & roast. When the seeds turn aromatic, add in cumin and coconut. Next when these turn aromatic turn off and cool all the ingredients. Make a fine powder & set aside.
Preparation for bisi bele bath
- Add rice to a bowl and rinse it well a few times. In a separate bowl wash dal a few times. Pour 1¾ cups water to the rice bowl & 1 cup water to the dal bowl. Pressure cook both of them in a cooker in pot-in-pot method for 3 whistle. The rice and dal must be cooked soft.
- While the rice & dal cooks soak tamarind in half cup hot water. Squeeze it and filter to a bowl. Add the bisi bele bath powder, jaggery, salt to the tamarind juice. Mix well to remove lumps. Set aside.
- Mash the dal to smooth and add to rice. If desired can mash rice as well.
How to make bisi bele bath
- Heat a pan with 1 teaspoon ghee, add the vegetables and saute for 3 to 4 mins to bring out the flavors. Pour 1 cup of water and cook the veggies till they are ¾ done. This way they retain the crunchiness.
- Pour the tamarind mix and stir well. Allow it to boil for few minutes.
- Add the mashed rice dal and mix well. Add ¾ to 1 ¼ cups water and stir well. Let the rice come to a boil on a medium flame. This takes around 4 to 6 mins.
- Cook till the rice reaches a desired thick consistency. Bisi bele bath usually turns thick upon cooling so remove it a bit early.
- Heat 1 tablespoon ghee or oil in a small pan. Add cashews and fry them until light golden. Then add mustard and red chilli. When the mustard splutters, add curry leaves. When the leaves turn crisp, add hing. Pour the seasoning over the bisi bele bath.
- Top bisi bele bath with a generous amount of ghee before serving. It is served hot with papad.
Instant pot Instructions
I follow the same method shared in the recipe card to make bisi bele bath in instant pot. This can be made as a one pot dish but the taste does not turn out to be good. It tastes more like a vegetable khichdi. Here are the tips I follow.
1.Cook rice & dal in 2 separate bowls following the pot in pot method. Pressure cook for 10 mins and allow the pressure to release naturally.
2.Remove the rice dal and set aside. Discard the water from the pot and press saute mode.
3. Heat ghee & fry the veggies for 2 mins. Pour water, add the mashed rice & dal, along with the tamarind, jaggery and bisi bele bath mix. Stir well.
4.Pressure cook on high for 4 mins. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 4 mins. Then place a towel and release the rest manually.
5. I do a separate tadka in a pan and pour it to this.
Preparation to make bisi bele bath recipe
1. I prefer to cook rice in pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook rice and dal together or separately until the dal turns completely mushy. If using pressure cooker, the first bowl is 3/4 cup rice with 1 & 3/4 cup water.
2. I cover the rice bowl with a plate, place another bowl with dal and cover. Then cook 1/2 cup dal with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles on a medium flame.
Make bisibelebath powder
These proportions work great hence i suggest sticking on to the quantity mentioned. If you have marti moggu you can use but can be skipped as well. These should be roasted on a medium to low flame to get a deep color without burning that gives a good color to the final dish. If not using shallots you can use fresh coconut, roast it lightly and use to make powder.
3. While the rice cooks, Make the bisi bele bath powder.Skip this if using MTR powder. Dry roast chana dal, urad dal & red chilies on a low flame until dal turns golden. Then add coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves & moggu. When they turn aromatic remove to a plate.
Add methi seeds & fry. When they turn aromatic, add in cumin and coconut. Next when these turn aromatic turn off and cool all the ingredients.
4. Cool them and add to a blender jar.
5. Make a fine powder. Your bisi bele bath powder is ready. Set this aside. You can also make this in advance and store in a air tight jar for about a month.
using the powder
6. Add tamarind to hot water and soak it.
7. Extract the tamarind water and Set aside little. In case we need more it can be used. Add salt, jaggery and stir well until the jaggery melts off. I prefer to filter it to a bowl to remove debris from tamarind or jaggery.
8. Add the ground bisi bele bath masala powder and mix well. Set this aside. Adding the dry powder directly to the pan usually ends up in lot of lumps. So I mix it well with the jaggery and tamarind water then pour it.
9. When the rice and dal are cooked. Mash the dal well. This gives a creamy nice texture to the dish.
10. This step is optional. Mix together rice and dal. Set aside.
How to make bisi bele bath recipe
11. Add 1 tsp ghee to a pan, add shallots, chopped carrots, beans, capsicum & peas. Then fry all of them together for 3 to 4 minutes until the raw flavors goes off.
12. Pour 1 cup water to the pan and cook till the veggies are just done. Do not over cook, keep them slightly crunchy.
13. Pour the tamarind jaggery mixture to the pan.
14. Allow the entire mixture to boil for a while to bring out the flavors from the spice powders.
15. Then add the rice & dal to the pan.
16. Add 1 ¼ cup water to the pan. Stir and mix everything well. Check the taste and adjust salt, jaggery or sourness as needed. Simmer on a low flame.
17. This is the right consistency of bisibelebath. So We need to cook until the rice reaches this thick gooey consistency. Overcooking may make the rice dry or thick and lumpy.
18. Heat ghee in a pan. Add cashews, red chilies, mustard and red chili. When the mustards begin to splutter, add curry leaves and hing. This step can be skipped by doing the seasoning before frying the veggies and then follow the rest of the steps. But a final vagarne / seasoning adds a good touch to the dish.
19. Pour this to the cooked rice dal and stir. Karnataka style bisibelebath is ready.
Usually bisi bele bath is served hot with papads and a generous amount of ghee topped.