While flipping through the pages of menu-card in one of the Udipi restaurants, you may have come across a recipe named ‘bisi bele bath’. A special delicacy of Karnataka, the dish is known for its peculiar flavor and the generous number of ingredients used in its preparation.
Cooked rice and lentil dal are seasoned with mustard seeds and are pepped up with spices of all sorts. It is served before you in its characteristic semi-solid form and is relished mostly with salad and pickle. With so many constituents, its preaparation seems to be a cumbersome process. Don’t let your ‘endeavor’ end up in a mess- go through the following procedure and make some preparation in advance.
List of Ingredients
Rice, dal, and vegetables
A cup of toor dal (arhar)
Two cups rice
A handful of beans
Salt as per requirement
A tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup tamarind
For Powdered Paste
½ tsp coriander powder
A tsp cumin powder
4-5 red chilies
2-3 pieces of cloves and cinnamon
A few mustard seeds
1/2 cup grated coconut
A pinch of asafetida
3-4 minced pieces of ginger and garlic
2 tsp mustard seeds
A bay leaf
A few curry leaves
A tsp each of urad and gram dal
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Begin by soaking rice and toor dal separately for half an hour. Put dal in a pressure cooker; add water (as per need), salt (to taste) and turmeric powder. Cook until the dal is almost cooked (half cooked will do the job). Keep it aside.
Boil tamarind in a pan. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. Separate the pulp from boiled water by passing it through an infuser/filter. Reserve the water to be used later.
Mince potatoes, carrots, beans and capsicum. It is better if you cut them in an elongated manner. Boil these veggies in water. Add salt and turmeric. As they get cooked, drain off any excess water.
Prepare the seasoning now. Pan-fry a few mustard seeds in hot oil. As their spluttering begins, add curry and bay leaves. Let them fry for a minute or so. Chop onions and tomatoes finely and add them too to the oiled contents. Let them turn golden brown. Also add urad and gram dals and let them fry for some time. The seasoning is ready.
Now, we are going to make the powdered paste for bisi bele bath. In a kadhai, add the ingredients-coriander and red chili powder, mustard seeds, cumin powder, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, ginger and garlic. Roast all of these and when done, add grated coconuts. Grind these to make a powdered paste.
To the half-cooked dal, add rice and tamarind water. Add seasoning and the boiled vegetables. Add enough water as the rice needs to be cooked now. Complete the cooking process by adding powdered paste. Add salt and turmeric, if required. Let the mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, pour a tsp of desi ghee over the contents. The spices and rice are supposed to soak the water, so add more of it so that the dish remains in somewhat mushy form.
Serve with pickle and salad.
Photo Credit: Tastyfood.in