Cook's Hideout: Bisi Bele Bath (Tangy Lentil Rice with Mixed Veggies)

October 01, 2012

Bisi Bele Bath (Tangy Lentil Rice with Mixed Veggies)

It has been a busy September with the early arrival of our little bundle of joy, Disha, and her big brother turning 5 in the same month. It has been a bit crazy around here with the late night wakings for the little one and early morning running around for the older one's kindergarten. We are slowly settling in and getting used to the new schedule and responsibilities.
I had to think really hard before signing up for this year's VeganMOFO. I wasn't sure if I can do it, but the thought of waiting for an ENTIRE YEAR to do it, made me sign up and now I've to make sure that I post consistently this month. I'm planning to keep it simple and post dishes that I make on a daily basis. Also I pulled out all of my Vegan cookbooks and I want to try some of the dishes that I've been meaning to make forever.

For Day 1 of Veganmofo 2012, I have a traditional South Indian dish that is made with rice, lentils and mixed vegetables -- it is basically a one pot meal that is tangy, spicy and oh so comforting. This is my version of the dish and probably not the traditional way of making it.

Rice - 1 cup
Toor Dal - ½cup
Mixed Vegetables - 2-3 cups, chopped (I used potato, carrot, green beans, capsicum)
Onion - 1 large, thinly sliced
Tomato paste - 2tbsp
Tamarind paste - 3tbsp
Bisi bele bath powder - 2tbsp (homemade or store bought -- I use MTR brand BBB powder)
Peanuts - 2tbsp
Cashews - 1tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Green Chili - 2, slit
Curry Leaves - 8-10
Cilantro - 3tbsp, finely chopped
Salt - to taste

  • Pressure cook rice until soft, but not mushy.
  • Pressure cook dal until very soft and mushy.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a saute pan; add peanuts and cashews and fry until golden brown. Remove into a bowl and set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat 2tbsp oil and add mustard seeds and once the seeds start to splutter, add curry leaves and sliced onions; cook until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. 
  • Next add all the veggies and cook until tender (alternately veggies can be microwaved to save cooking time), about 12-15 minutes.
  • Next add tomato paste, tamarind paste, bbb powder, salt and 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Now for the assembly: I do this right in the pressure cooker that I used to cook the rice in. Add the cooked dal and veggies to the rice along with 1 cup of water. Cook the mixture until heated through. Add more water if the mixture looks too thick. Check the seasonings and add more water salt or bbb powder to taste.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with raita and crunchy chips.



  1. Looks awesome, I'm hoping to make this one soon. I feel my poor pressure cooker sits in the cupboard being ignored, time to change that!

  2. Lil Disha looks soooo adorable.And talking of staying up in the night and then getting the elder one up for school,I can totally relate to your situation..Pass on our hugs and kisses to your darlings :).Take care Pavani...
    And,Love that one pot meal,one of our favs.

  3. She looks damn cute Pavani,btw BBB is my all time favourite, i can have it even everyday.

  4. Congratulations on the sweet new baby doll! Disha is a pretty name.

    That's certainly a big bowl of tasty comfort.

  5. Bisi Bele Bhath is something which I want to try for so long, but everywhere I looked for a recipe the ingredient list scared me off!
    This looks like a simpler and a doable version of it. Bookmarked! :)

  6. Thanks for the good advise..we hope that we will get better things than this,,

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