Bisi Bele Bhath is a famous lentil and rice dish in the South Indian state of Karnataka. The name literally translates to ‘Hot Lentil Rice’. The ‘hot’ here also refers to the spice level because this dish has its own special spice blend/mix called the bisi bele bhath Masala or Pudi (which translates to powder). It is a blend of roasted aromatic spices along with chana dal (Split Bengal Gram), urad dal (Split Black Gram) and desiccated coconut. It may seem like an elaborate process which is why a lot of people in India buy the ready made spice blend/mix from supermarkets. The mix is quite easily available in Indian stores.
This dish is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch and is accompanied with crispy potato chips, boondi kalu(crispy, spicy tiny balls of deep fried chickpea flour batter), Papad or even Raita (Cucumber , onion and tomatoes mixed with curd).
Traditionally, it is made with rice and lentils(Toor Dal). It almost has a thick porridge like consistency. I prepared this dish by replacing rice with oats. It works equally well with oats because once cooked it turns really soft and mushy which is a perfect consistency of bisibelebhath. Rice can be substituted with oats to reduce the starch content and increase the much required fiber content in your diet.
Making this dish is sometimes considered to be hard and time consuming where most people cook the dal and vegetables separately, before hand. But I cook everything at once in just one pot. So, once the spice mix is ready, the other steps are quite simple.
Here’s how I make my one pot Oats Bisi Bele Bhath.
Total : 1 Hour
For Spice Blend/Masala :
- Coriander seeds – 2 Tsp
- Dry Red Chillies – 5 to 6
- Cumin seeds – 1 Tsp
- Black pepper corns – 2 Tsp
- Green cardamom pods – 2
- Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
- Cloves – 3
- Star Anise – 2
- Black Mustard Seeds – 1/2 Tsp
- Chana dal or Split Bengal Gram – 2 Tsp
- Urad dal or Split black gram – 2 Tsp
- Sesame seeds – 1 Tsp (Alternative : Poppy Seeds)
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 Tsp
- Curry leaves – 2 Sprigs
- Dried coconut / desiccated coconut – 1/4 Cup
This spice blend remains fresh for at least 2 – 3 months in an airtight jar.
- Oil or Ghee – 1 Tbsp
- A pinch of asafoetida or hing
- Curry leaves – 1 spring
- Black Mustard Seeds – 1/2 Tsp
- Oats – 3/4 Cup
- Toor Dal or Split Pigeon Peas – 1/4 Cup
- 2 Medium sized carrots, diced
- A handful of green beans, chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- Salt to taste
- Jaggery or brown sugar – 2 Tsp
- Tamarind Paste – 1/2 Tsp
- Water – 3 Cups
- Soak the Toor dal in warm water for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Spice Blend : Dry roast all the ingredients listed under the spice blend/mix and grind them all to a fine powder.
- Tempering : In a pot on a medium flame, add oil or ghee. Once the oil is fairly warm, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
- Once the mustard seeds crackle, immediately add in the onions and stir until they become soft.
- Next add the green beans and carrots and saute them well for around 3 minutes.
- Drain the water and add the soaked Toor dal along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Cook them well on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the dal is completely cooked(texture should be slightly mushy), add in oats and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water.
- Now add 2 heap teaspoons of the spice blend(bisibelebhath masala), jaggery, tamarind paste and salt to taste and mix well.
- Simmer for another 6-7 minutes stirring occasionally. If the oats and dal mixture thickens, add little water.
- Add a dollop of ghee on top and serve it along with papad, potato chips or raita.