Bisibelebhath – A rice and lentil kedgree from Karnataka

Saturdays are my favourite lazy days. I sleep in for another 2-3 hours, have late tea, make the easiest possible breakfast and listen to the songs Jr.P lines up the comp (He, is a clever gent who lines two of mum’s favourites after every fourth song that are his own faves). We catch up on a movie or some work lined up for the weekend and I usually make an easy one pot meal for lunch.

Bisibelebath is easy, tasty, wholesome and even Jr.P loves it. We like it with a sprinkling of spicy boondi (gram fritters) or some potato chips.I generally prepare twice the required amount of masala (spice mix) so that I am leftover with enough for a second round. Bisibelebath podi / powder is full of flavour and can be used to spice up dal makhani (here and here) or tandoori aloo too.The dish belongs to Karnataka, more specifically to Bangalore or Mysore. I find that most of my friends from other parts of Karnataka are not aware of the dish. My mother-in-law was unaware too though she is from Mangalore and I was thrilled when my brother-in-law B, decided it was the best khichdi he had ever tasted – I served it as part of the main course during one of our get-togethers. Another version that I tried and found very tasty is on Deesha’s blog – Vegetable Platter. Her masala mix turns out exactly like the one I get from Subbamma Store at Bangalore.

Mine is a lot less spicier than hers but it is a very tasty variation that has been handed over to me by my Mother. One thing that I strongly recommend an Indian kitchen to have is a spice grinder.

Recipe: Bisibelebath
(Rice, lentils and vegetables tied in with a specific spice mix into a very South Indian kedgree )
If you eat out and order for this dish in restaurants it is bound to contain ghee or clarified butter from animals, hence not vegan.
Yield: 4 good eaters

Rice -1 cup
Pigeon peas / tuvar dal – 1/2 cup
Carrot, diced – 1 small
Potato, chopped into large chunks – 2 medium sized
Peas, shelled – 2 tbsp.
String beans, broken into inch long pieces – 3-4
Raw shelled peanuts – 2 tbsp. OR
Cashew (chopped into bits and roasted brown) – 2 tbsp.
Tamarind – A table tennis sized ball soaked in 1/2 cup water for at least 15 minutes.
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.

Ground bisibelebath podi / powder (This quantity will make two helpings of the quantity of BBB above):
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp.
Chana dal / bengal gram and Urad dal / Blackgram – 1tbsp. each
Red chillies (preferably byadagi or bedgi variety) – 2 (or as per taste)
Cinnamon – 1″ long stick (not more than 1/2 cm wide)
Green cardamom – 3
Cloves – 2
Asafoetida /Hing – 1/8    tsp.
Dry copra(coconut) – grated – 4 tbsp.
(Roast each ingredient separately till aromatic. Cool and powder in a spice grinder)     

Sesame / Gingelly / Til oil – 2-3 tbsp.
Vegan butter – 1 tsp.
Curry leaves (optional)


Wash lentils and soak for 15 minutes in water. Drain water, rinse lentils. Cook till done well.

Wash rice and cook in twice the amount of water till done, and grains are fluffy but separate, as for pulav. Alternatively the dal and rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker for two whistles. In this case the lentils should be soaked for at least 30 minutes in order to cook well.

Soak tamarind in water and extract thick pulp.

Heat 2 tbsp. of oil / butter / ghee. Add the vegetables and saute till half done. Now add the tamarind pulp and enough water to cover the vegetables. Boil the vegetables in the pulp along with salt and turmeric powder till cooked through but firm, and not mushy.

Fold the cooked rice and dal with the cooked vegetables, taking care not to break the rice grains. Add hot water if the mixture is thick. The consistency should be that of a stew. Add half the ground powder and fold to blend flavours.

Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil. Fry peanuts or cashews. and curry leaves, and serve hot with spicy boondi, raita or potato chips.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

Previous Post
June 23, 2009
Next Post
June 23, 2009


  • Sunshinemom

    Madhu, Am glad you liked it. Thanks for trying!

  • Madhu

    Wonderful recipe. After reading your post, I tried it out today and it came out so well. The rice gets a wonderful flavor because of the dry bisi bele powder

  • meeso

    I'm bookmarking to try, sounds too good not to 🙂

  • Divya Vikram

    Lovely picture! Looks too good.

  • Simran

    Hey! I love your serving bowl.

  • Nithya Praveen

    Yeah Harini am a Subamma visitor too.You are right its the Vangi Bhath powder,yummy isnt it?:)


    wow bisi belebath looks delicious!!!

  • Saee Koranne-Khandekar

    What a wonderful blog (love your pictures) and the Bisi belebath recipe looks warm and consoling.

  • Lakshmi Venkatesh

    My daughter has already started eyeing my things.

    Bisibele bath looks very tempting.

    We r in India and taking our time to settle down.

  • Shama Nagarajan

    nice post..yummy recipe

  • jayasri

    Oh! i do understand i have three of them…, the eldest is the laziest…., gets in her own pace ! my hubby leaves home by 7am ! he is always mad at me as i start my suprabatam early in the morning!, as u said my things disappear now a days starting with my sandals & shoes all three of have the same size!, sometimes my tops! they are nearly my size!…, sometimes i get so mad!, love the dish, sat & sun dish easy to make and finish it off…. and out from the kitchen in minutes…, looks very yummy…, my dashboard is full of ur photos…, all of them have come out very beautiful too….

  • bindiya

    Wow!! I feel like having some bisi bele bath right away!Fabulous recipe.

  • Curry Leaf

    I agree with you,time flies quickly.I am waiting for my daughter to grow up.I too used to wear my mom's footwear thgh not clothes,I am few sizes bigger !!.I agree with HC as well. Great looking BBB. Never ever tried all by myself and hated the instant mix ones.I love MTR's BBB.Its the only place where I love BBB.Its high time I tried itat home.SuperSunnyMom Ji, Kudos for controlling the morning chaos.I normally go thru a heart attack .

  • Priya

    Wowow my favourite dish..loved reading…BBB makes me hungry SM

  • Kitchen Flavours

    Ha that's the fun having daughter i think dear… can see yourself in her…bisi belebath looks yum….

  • jayasree

    Hey superwoman, lovely presentation. BB is a favorite at home too.

    I don't mind getting the flickr photos in my reader, but the suspense is lost.

  • Red Chillies

    It is commendable that you manage to get all the stuff done before 7:30 AM. In my case I have to drag myself and also I keep loosing patience especially when pressed for time. BBB is a favorite dish and I remember the yummy powder from Subbamma stores.

  • Bharti

    My dear really are superwoman! All that before 7:30. Kudos to you. The bise belebhath sounds yummy..i haven't had the pleasure of tasting this yet.

  • Prathibha

    I just love this Harini…
    Subbamma is so famous,you will even find the videos of her shop in youtube..

  • Khaugiri

    I am not a rice lover, but Bisi belebath is my favorite!!!! In Bangalore, people serves it with khara bundi on it……. It tastes good….something crispy on it.

  • Sharmila

    After I tried making bbb am now hooked to it. Thanks for the idea of making the masala twice the amount and use the next time … I can have bbb a little more frequently this way. 🙂
    Am eyeing that spoon … that looks so good in your snaps for flickr. 🙂

  • Rajitha

    wow…your weekday morning sound really hectic…but i guess not uncommon for a working mom. I have seen my mom and sis do it…and i seriously have my doubts if i can ever pull stuff like this :). Btw. I love the vessel you have displayed your bisibela….

  • Sunshinemom

    Parita, bachpan ke din!:), BBB tastes even better:)

    Nithya, you too are a Subbamma visitor? I have tried her vangibath podi too and it is lovely! I don't know whether that name is correct but it sounds correct:)

    Peachkins, you will love this! Except for my BIL, S, I do not know anyone who will say no to this dish:)

  • ?peachkins?

    This dish is full of falvors that I love.I bet this tastes wonderful..

  • Nithya Praveen

    I remember doing this….getting onto my mom's shoes:-)Wow what fun.Guess no one can beat Subamma's spices….her sambhar powder/huli podi's are sooooo amazing.Bisibelebath has always been my fav one,perfect for weekend menu.I keep looking out for another variety of dry red chillies here,used in Karnataka its called the "Bedige Menshinakayi"(i hope i remember the name correctly),its used in this dish.I feel like having this right away…great click as usual Harini.Am really hungry now:-)

  • Parita

    Nice post, loved reading!! i remember my baby sis doing the same 🙂 bisi belebath looks wonderful!

  • Sunshinemom

    HC, hehe:). I am suddenly looking forward to this after reading that:). I wonder what I will get to use from her collection – may be hair colours!!

  • Happy cook

    You just wait till she get a bit more older, lots of things will start disapearing, like your lipstick, eyshadow, eyliner , mascara, should i go on……….. that is what happening to me these days.
    Ofcurse i have fun too, I steel my daughters makeup things too.
    Well dress is something else, my size is bigger 🙂
    Loce the rice and lentil dish.

Leave a Reply