Bisibelebath OR Rice, lentils and vegetables in one dish

Bisi belebath
Bisibelebhat - A delicacy from Karnataka, India

The school has reopened and it is just begun to set in that one more academic year has passed by. It all seems to be getting over too fast. Sometimes I find it difficult to believe that Jr.H who used to prance about in little cute Cinderella shoes and frocks is already blooming into a young lady. She does keep me grounded (literally!) most of the time - just yesterday I noticed that my favourite floaters were not to be found in the shoe rack and lost my temper when I came to know that Jr.H had used them because she could not find her's. Thankfully she cannot do the same with my clothes as I am quite a few sizes bigger than her:)!

The usual changes have taken place in our holiday routine. The kids wake up early (after a lot of trumpeting noises I make) and rush through the morning activities. The father will not wake up till he gets the bed tea - no change there! I am busy in the kitchen with the short break, breakfast, lunch and evening snack - all to be finished before 7:30a.m. This is when I really feel like Superwoman - keeping my patience when time is running out and when I am at wit's end as to how to get the work over with! Yet nothing can make me miss any of these activities! I manage to run to the window, watch Jr.P rushing out and I scream, "BYE!" and send a kiss to the two. Usually the return kiss from both of them is sent to the gate or in the air, the direction they face but I catch a whiff:). Then it is time for a much needed cup of tea before starting the second mad mayhem - me rushing to work!

Weekend bliss: Saturdays are my laziest days. I keep lolling on the bed till 8, 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 which are his own faves). It is late afternoon by the time I get down to cooking lunch and the best lunches for Saturdays are always one pot dishes or stews. All of us like it and I don't need to bother much with a side dish - such a boon!

is easy, tasty, wholesome and even Jr.P loves it with a whole bowl of just set, thick, creamy yogurt/curd. We like it with a sprinkling of spicy boondi or some potato chips.

I generally prepare twice the required amount of masala 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 second brother-in-law, B (not the one who refuels his soul twice a year), 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 and it is superyummy - Try it!

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. The one I purchased from Optima is excellent and I am able to grind even small quantities of spices into fine powders.

Apology: I am aware that my feed is getting updated with all the flickr photos I am uploading. This is happening ever since I made the mistake of making flickr photos accessible to blogger. It is continuing despite the fact that I have now revoked access many times. Am at loss as to what I should do and I know it must be very irritating to my readers too. Please suggest a solution!! Meanwhile, I will be using another flickr account for the blog posts.

Dish: Bisibelebath
(Rice, lentils and vegetables brought together with a divine masala)
Type: Vegan
Yield: 4 good eaters
Recipe source: My mother.

Rice -1 cup
Pigeon peas / tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Onions - 2 medium - sliced thick
Carrot - 1 small (Small chunks)
Potato - 2 medium sized (Chopped into large chunks)
Peas - 2tbsp. shelled
String beans - 3-4 cut into inch long pieces
Capsicum - 1 (Optional)
Raw shelled peanuts - 2 tbsp.
Cashew (chopped into bits and roasted brown) - 2 tbsp.
Tamarind - 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(You will require only about half of this quantity):
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp.
Chana dal / bengal gram and Urad dal/Blackgram - 1tbsp. each
Red chillies (preferably byadagi variety) - 2 (more if you like it spicy)
Cinnamon - 1" long stick (not more than 1/2 cm wide)
Green cardamom - 3
Cloves - 2
Asafoetida /Hing - 1/8tsp.
Dry copra(coconut) - grated - 4 tbsp.
(Roast each of the above separately till aroma exudes and they turn pink. Cool and powder in a spice grinder)

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

Soak tamarind in water and extract thick pulp.

Heat 2 tbsp. of oil/butter/ghee. Saute the onion slices till transparent. Add the vegetables and saute for a minute. Now add the tamarind pulp and more water enough to cover the vegetables. Boil the vegetables in the pulp alongwith salt and turmeric powder till cooked through but still in shape - not mushy.

Meanwhile clean the rice and lentils and cook in a pressure cooker together or separately.


Mix the cooked rice and dal with the cooked vegetables. Add water if thick. You might require about 2 glasses of water to bring it to a stew like consistency. Add half the ground powder and mix well. Stir well to blend flavours. Add vegan butter or ghee towards the end, garnish with cashews and curry leaves, and serve hot with spicy boondi, raita or potato chips.

Next time why not think of this for a lazy, healthy and easy Sunday?

A few other lazy Sunday suggestions:
Bengali Khichuri
Dal Khichdi
Kidney Bean and Brown Rice Risotto
Mint Rice - I (Vegan Rice flavoured with Mint and Coconut)

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