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.
(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.