Tuesday 9 September 2008

Bisibele Bhaat

Picture this: Its 9 at night (or 2 in the afternoon) & you haven't yet decided what to cook for dinner (or lunch). You are in the mood for something special but don't know what. And now its too late to prepare for an elaborate meal anyway. And since you started to think about the dinner (or lunch) with something very special, you don't feel like settling for a Khichdi, Amthi Bhaat or any such 'ready in a jiffy' dish.

My solution to this situation is 'Bisibele Bhaat'. This is nothing but a combination of Toor Dal (pigeon pea) and rice cooked with some vegetables (sometimes none) and spices. Bele means Dal (Lentil) and Bhaat means Rice in kannada. Bisi, which means hot, could be either to describe the spicyness of this dish or to stress that this is supposed to be had piping hot to truly enjoy it.

In other words, instead of serving rice & Amthi (Sambhar to be precise) separately, you mix them up and serve it as a special dish :) I have always wondered why it tastes so different from the normal Sambhar rice, when you are using exactly the same ingredients!

Serves 2


  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1 cup Toor Dal (pigeon pea)
  • 1/2 cup vegetables (onion, tomato, brinjal, pumpkin or any combination, I sometimes use only onions)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-12 Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp Haldi (Turmeric Powder)
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts
  • 3-4 tsps Sambhar Powder (I make this powder at home but any store bought Sambhar Masala such as MTR, Everest etc can be used)
  • 2-3 tsps Red Chili Powder
  • 3 tblsp Tamarind pulp
  • 2 tblsp grated Jaggery (Optional - this can be skipped if you don't want a sweet tinge to the Bhaat)
  • 2 tblsp Oil
  • Salt


Cook the rice & the Toor dal in a pressure cooker and keep aside. It is very important for the quantity of the Dal to be same (or even more than) as that of rice.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the curry leaves, Hing, Haldi and the peanuts.

When the peanuts are a little roasted/fried add the chopped vegetables and saute. Add the cooked rice & Dal and 1/2 cup water and mix.

Add the tamarind, spices, jaggery & salt and mix thoroughly.

Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove the cover and cook on sim until the water evaporates. But the Bhaat should not be very dry. This Bhaat has a paste like consistency just the way it will be if Sambhar is mixed in cooked rice!

Add a generous amount of Toop/Tuppa/Ghee (Clarified Butter) and serve hot with Papad & pickle.

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If we leave out the time taken to cook the rice & Dal, this dish is ready in about 15 minutes and is very easy to plan and make. Its funny how delicacies are born out of conveniences!


  1. Thats a yummy rice. I love bisibelebaath and its famous in Karnataka. We had a neighbour from Bangalore few years back and she used to make this rice very nicely.

  2. Thanks Vidhya. Its my all time favourite too!


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