Bisi bele bath or bisi bele huli anna is a delicious & traditional Karnataka dish with rice and toor dal. Along with rice and lentils, few vegetables are used. The whole dish is spiced with a special spice powder called bisi bele bath masala. Here I am sharing the recipe of both the rice dish and spice blend.
It is one of the most popular traditional recipes for vegetarians. This is a special dish loved by most of the south Indians. The recipe I am sharing here is a very flavorful one popular in wedding feasts. Vegan and gluten free!
Bisi bele bath is one dish I grew up eating. My mom makes this very frequently and it is our all time favorite. My mom makes it in the most authentic way but the recipe I am sharing here is very similar to MTR bisi bele bath recipe.
This is a super popular dish not only in Karnataka state but all over south India in small tiffin centers, restaurants and Dharshinis.
I used to particularly enjoy this bisi bele huli anna from a small restaurant near our house while we stayed in Bangalore. Over the years, I have perfected this recipe to suit our taste. This is a keeper recipe with amazing flavor, taste and balance of spices.
About This Recipe
What Is Bisi Bele Bath?
Bisi bele bath recipe is a popular rice dish from Karnataka Cuisine. Bisi means hot, bele means lentils and bath usually refers to rice dish as in vangi bath, tomato bath in Kannada. So the name typically means hot lentil rice.
Bisi bele bath is typically dal and rice cooked in tamarind extract with spice powders, jaggery, salt and vegetables.
After cooking the dal rice, an additional tadka of curry leaves, cashews and byadagi chilies are made with ghee and poured over the dish. Here I have used oil as we prefer, so it is a vegan dish.
It is a very traditional dish which has come a long way with so many variations. The recipe of bisi bele bath served in restaurants are far from authentic.
The authentic bisi bele bath recipe is made with just rice, toor dal, bisi bele masala, copra or dried coconut and poppy seeds. It does not contain onions, garlic, tomatoes are even vegetables in fact.
The version I am sharing here is the ones served in restaurants and wedding feasts. I have included a good dose of vegetables and pearl onions for flavor.
Usually making karnataka style bisibelebath recipe is a long process especially if you are making the bisi bele bath powder too at home.
You have to cook lentil rice separately and mix with spice powder, tamarind etc. But over the years I have simplified the process and make it with in 45 minutes, perfect for busy home cooks 🙂
Why This Recipe Works?
My recipe of bisi bela bath is a simplified one which you can in one pot. Here I have used instant pot but you can also use a pressure cooker or even a pan with lid. I am very big fan of this dish and make it very often at home.
During olden days, rice and dal where separately cooked and mixed with other ingredients but these days when we use pressure cooker or instant pot we can make use of it. I have also given instructions for making this dish in traditional method.
This recipe yields very tasty, flavorful bisi bele huli anna just like MTR or wedding feasts. It has a truck load of vegetables, wholesome and wonderful one pot meal in itself.
Here along with the recipe for this hot lentil rice I have also given a quick recipe for making bisi bele bath powder.
This is my super hit recipe always requested by guests and it really tastes very delicious when served piping hot. Yes, this rice and dal tastes great when served bisi bisi 🙂
Do try out my way of making bisi bele bhath and enjoy. It is
wonderfully comforting rice
popular in south Indian restaurants
easy to make
ready in 45 minutes including prep work.
vegan and gluten free
just like MTR bisi bele bath
Rice– use any of your preferred short grain rice like ponni or sona masuri to make bisi bele bath. You can also use brown rice but cooking time will vary. I have used sona masuri here.
Toor dal– Split pigeon peas or tuvar lentils are used for this rice recipe. Try to use unpolished variety for more flavor and nutrition. A friend of mine uses a mix of moong dal and toor dal for bisi bele bath but I have never tried it.
Vegetables– Vegetables are purely optional in this recipe. If you want to make authentic bisi bele bath recipe you can skip vegetables. Here I have used carrots, beans, potatoes, capsicum, green peas and baby corns. You can also add broad beans, yellow pumpkin, chow chow.
The tangy taste of this dish is entirely from tamarind. We do not use tomatoes for this recipe. In the same way we do not add eggplants, okra too.
Tamarind– As mentioned above we use tamarind for the tangy taste here. Use aged tamarind for best flavor and color. If using readymade tamarind paste you can add 2 tablespoons.
Jaggery- It adds a very slight sweet note, a signature of many Karnataka recipes. if you don’t have jaggery just skip it, do not add sugar.
Spice blend– we need a special spice powder called bisi bele masala for this recipe bisi bele bath. It is similar to sambar powder but it also has some whole spices. You can make it at home or use store bought ones like MTR. I have given my recipe below.
Other ingredients– salt, oil, red chillies etc.
Homemade Bisi bele bath Masala
To make this dry spice blend for bisibelabath at home here are the instructions. The below given quantities will yield you around 3/4 cup of powder and you can use it for 3-4 times. Store it in airtight container and keep refrigerated to retain aroma.
15 dried red chilies. You can use any variety of red chili.
2 tablespoons chana dal
2 tablespoons urad dal
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 green cardamoms
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon methi seeds or fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons dried coconur or kopra or unsweetened desiccated coconut.
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds
3 marathi moggu
Heat a heavy pan and dry roast all the ingredients one by one until golden brown and nice aroma wafts out in medium low flame. Roast coconut at last in lowest flame.
Let cool and grind to a fine powder.
How To Make Bisi Bele Bath Recipe
Pick 3/4 cup rice and 1/2 cup toor dal in a bowl.
Rinse few times and set aside.
Rinse, peel if needed and chop the vegetables.
Soak small lemon sized tamarind in 1/2 cup of water (warm) for 15 minutes.
Extract thick pulp and discard any seeds and pith.
Making bisi bele bath
Place the steel insert inside the instant pot and switch it on. Press saute mode. Once it displays hot add 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, few curry leaves and 1/2 cup peeled pearl onions. Saute for a minute.
Add the vegetables and saute in high for 2-3 minutes.
Add 3-4 tablespoons of bisi bele bath masala powder. You can also add a pinch of turmeric powder. Mix well and saute.
Add the prepared tamarind extract and mix.
Now add the rinsed rice and dal. Mix well.
Pour 3.5 cups of water, salt to taste and 1/2 teaspoon grated jaggery or a small piece of jaggery.
Close the instant pot, cancel saute mode and press pressure cook or rice button. Set timer for 20 minutes with pressure valve in seal position. Once done, let pressure settle down for 6-8 minutes. Open the IP and mix gently.
Preparing tempering for bisi bele bath
Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a small pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 12 curry leaves,3-4 dried red chilies and 15 cashews. Fry for a minute.
Add the tempering to cooked hot lentil rice. Mix well.
Serve bisi bele bath immediately piping hot.
Bisi Bele Bhath Recipe On Stove Top
Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes, chop the vegetables, rinse rice and dal.
First of all cook the rice and dal together using a pressure cooker or in instant pot. To an instant pot or pressure cooker add rinsed rice and dal. Add enough water and cook for 4-5 whistles or 15 minutes in instant pot. You can also cook the dal and rice separately.
The rice and dal should be completely cooked and mushy. Mash the dal and cooked rice thoroughly. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil a heavy pan. Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves. Add onions and saute. Next add the vegetables and saute in high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add around 1 cup water, cover and cook till vegetables turn soft.
Now add the tamarind extract, bisibelebath powder, jaggery, salt and mix well. Bring to a boil.
Add the mashed dal and rice, salt to taste and mix.
Simmer for 4-5 minutes. If the mixture looks thick, add 3/4 cup water. Make it very gooey as it thickens well on cooling.
In the meanwhile prepare the tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and cashew nuts.
Add to the simmering bisi bele bath and mix well.
Use very good quality toor dal for best flavor. The ratio of dal to rice I have given here works best for me.
If you are using store bought bisi bele bath powder, adjust according to the taste.
This is a vegan recipe but you can use ghee instead of oil for more flavor.
Some recipes suggest mixing spice powder and jaggery with tamarind water before adding. It is usually done by chefs when making in very large quantities and at home it is not required.
Make sure to prepare the dish very gooey, almost running consistency. Bisi bela bath thickens on cooling and becomes very hard.
If the rice has thickened you can add 1/2 cup hot water and mix gently before serving.
while serving you can top with some fried dried coconut or even boondi.
More Karnataka Special Recipes
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Bisi Bele Bath Recipe (Instant Pot & Stove Top)
1 CUP = 250 ml
- 1/2 cup carrot cubed
- 1/2 cup potato cubed
- 12 beans chopped
- 4 baby corn chopped
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 1/4 cup capsicum chopped
- 1/2 cup pearl onions peeled, whole
Other Ingredients for bisi bele bath
- 3/4 cup rice
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 12 curry leaves
- 4 tablespoons bisi bele bath powder
- 1/4 cup thick tamarind extract
- 1/2 teaspoon jaggery
- salt to taste
- 4 dried red chilies
- 15 curry leaves
- 15 cashews
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Pick 3/4 cup rice and 1/2 cup toor dal in a bowl.
- Rinse few times and set aside.
- Rinse, peel if needed and chop the vegetables.
- Soak small lemon sized tamarind in 1/2 cup of water (warm) for 15 minutes.
- Extract thick pulp and discard any seeds and pith.
Making bisi bele bath
- Place the steel insert inside the instant pot and switch it on. Press saute mode. Once it displays hot add 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, few curry leaves and 1/2 cup peeled pearl onions. Saute for a minute.
- Add the vegetables and saute in high for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of bisi bele bath masala powder. You can also add a pinch of turmeric powder. Mix well and saute.
- Add the prepared tamarind extract and mix.
- Now add the rinsed rice and dal. Mix well.
- Pour 3.5 cups of water, salt to taste and 1/2 teaspoon grated jaggery or a small piece of jaggery.
- Close the instant pot, cancel saute mode and press pressure cook or rice button. Set timer for 20 minutes with pressure valve in seal position. Once done, let pressure settle down for 6-8 minutes. Open the IP and mix gently.
Preparing tempering for bisi bele bath
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a small pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 12 curry leaves,3-4 dried red chilies and 15 cashews. Fry for a minute
- Add the tempering to cooked hot lentil rice. Mix well.
- Serve bisi bele bath immediately piping hot.