Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lazy man's Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath (henceforth referred as BBB) is the quintessential Karnataka breakfast or a quick lunch dish. To the initiated it is a kind of Sambar rice, though this definition will not do justice to the aromatic BBB.

An authentic BBB calls for grinding of spices and some elaborate steps. However this being a lazy man's BBB, there are a lot of approximations. Nevertheless I assure you that this does stand up to an authentic Kannada Bisi Bele Bath.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Rice - 1/2 cup
Thuvaram Paruppu / pigeon pea - 1/4 cup
Vegetables - chopped into 1cm long/cube pieces - 1/2 cup
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes 
  • Cauliflower
  • Green peas
Tamarind - 1 lemon size
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Ulundu / Black gram - 1 teaspoon
Venthayam / Fenugreek - 1/4 teaspoon
Red chillies 3-4
Curry leaves - if available
Corriander leaves to garnish

Sambar powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon (this is the difference between an authentic and my version)
Elakkai / Cardamom - 2-3 skin removed and crushed or ground

  1. Soak the lentils in water for about 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and other ingredients
  2. Parallel, soak the tamarind in another bowl of warm water
  3. Heat oil in a vessel and season with mustards, black gram, fenugreek seeds and finally curry leaves and red chillies
  4. Stir fry the vegetables for about two minutes
  5. Add the soaked lentils and rice. 
  6. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil
  7. Add the masalas, turmeric and about a spoon of salt.
  8. Add the tamarind water. Make sure that there is about 1 cm of water above the ingredients - not more not less
  9. Bring the heat down to simmer or the lowest setting and cover the vessel
  10. Let it simmer for some 15 minutes as the water is absorbed
  11. Check if all the water is absorbed, if not open the lid and let some water evaporate. The final recipe should be slightly watery - neither be soupy nor firm like pulav.
  12. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve after about 5 minutes