Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quick "Bisibele" Bhaat

This week at One Hot Stove, it is "Q for quick"! So here is a quick post featuring my favorite quick meal. It maximizes flavor and nutrition while minimizing effort and prep time. Mixed vegetables, lentils and rice come together, and are flavored by tamarind and a ready-made spice mix. The whole thing virtually cooks itself in the pressure cooker and you are in for a treat!

Bisibele rice is a specialty from the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, featuring lentils, rice, vegetables and spices cooked together slowly and lovingly into a festive dish. In my quick khichdi, I use bisibele spice mix to approximate those flavors in a fraction of the time and make faux bisibele rice. Here's how...

1. Prepare 2 cups of mixed vegetables, cut in medium dice. Here, I have used green beans, frozen peas and carrots. Other vegetables that work well are zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, lima beans etc.

2. Prepare 1 tbsp thick tamarind paste. If you use tamarind pulp, the paste is prepared by soaking 1 heaping tsp of tamarind pulp in a couple of tbsp of hot water, then squeezing out the pulp and discarding the solids. If you are using tamarind concentrate, you can directly use 1 tsp of it instead of the paste.

2. Measure out 1/3 cup rice and 1/3 cup green (unhulled) split moong dal.

3. Have some ready-made MTR brand bisibele masala handy. It is available in Indian and international grocery stores, or in online stores.

4. Other prep: chop half a small onion.

5. Now, in the body of the pressure cooker, add 1 tbsp oil. Make the tempering with: 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, chopped onion, 5-6 curry leaves, pinch of asafoetida.

6. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 2 tsp bisibele powder (or to taste) and salt to taste.

7. Stir in vegetables, dal, rice, tamarind and 3 cups water. Pressure-cook for the amount of time that you normally need for cooking rice (in my superhuman efficient cooker, it takes one mere whistle).

8. Serve piping hot, with pickle and yogurt on the side, if desired. Potato chips/ papads take this dish to a whole new level :) When I have time, I throw together a pachadi to serve with this khichdi.

MTR's bisibele masala is extremely flavorful and authentic (to the extent that I am able to recognize authenticity of Kannada dishes, at any rate). And no, they are not paying me anything to say this, this endorsement comes straight from the heart. Quick "bisibele" rice is stewy and soupy, and may not be much by way of good looks, but it is the one dish that I make time and again. It has sustained me through countless busy nights, and through rough times at work, and through times of illness. Last week, it fed V when he was unable to eat anything else after dental surgery. Now I have made it so many times, I can make it in my sleep!

Got a favorite flavorful quick recipe? If it has vegetables in it, and Indian or Indian-inspired flavors, you can send it in for the Q of Indian Vegetables!


  1. i cant belive it nupur...i just had my lunch and yup, it was bisi bele bhath and here i see ur post in food blog desam:) what a timing:) i see u have used split moon dal here and i used red gram dal:) thank god i just had it now or else u would have got tummy pain for sure;)

  2. Hi Nupur, superb Bisibele Bhaat. I heard about this dish but not at tried. Yours dish tempting me try. Will try soon. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and colorful recipe.

  3. Aha aha... a quick bisibele bath recipe - yum! I've been following your fantastic series, Nupur - you've collected some great recipes from other bloggers. Keep up the fab work! :)

  4. yeah nupur .....great one ..i love besi bele bath .....thks for sharing ..very nice ...

  5. that's quick without skimping on flavour. good one. i've never tried this packaged mix. now i will.

  6. Hi Nupur,
    Just want to let you know ,have been using your recipes for some time now.
    I am from Mumbai too and especially love love love the pani puri recipe.My 6yr old requests it everyday and it is what got her finally to try a little bit of spice. Another favorite is your egg rassa recipe.Have also tried your fig icecream and my little ones response to it was ,"Mom if i could rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 ,it would be 700"!
    So just wanted to say thank you so much for all the great recipes.
    Had one question,am looking to buy a new pressure cooker to replace an old one and since you call yours a superhuman one wanted to know which onw is it?
    Thanks once again.

  7. So quick? The rice is tempting. Very nice Nupur. Viji

  8. ur bbb is soooo tempting, nupur :) i too use the mtr mix, never made it with split moong though, that's a lovely twist!

  9. hahaha.... another coincidence like sia..... I can actually copy paste her comment!!! I had this for dinner now and that too with MTR masala!!!! but with red gram not green. :) It is heavenly!!!

  10. Sia, see, I'm a mind-reader ;) Will definitely make it with red gram (toor dal) next time.

    Jyothi, it is very easy and delicious, try it! :)

    Shyam, glad you are enjoying the series!

    Deepa, glad you like it!

    Bee, I have an extra packet of this spice mix (V bought three at once, for some reason!) so drop me a mail with your address and I'll mail it to you! Seriously!

    Marietta, your little girl is too cute! About the pressure cooker, it is "Prestige Pressure Handi" bought in India.

    Viji, thanks!!

    Richa, you use the MTR mix too?? I somehow am hooked on to the split moong in this recipe. I use toor dal a lot in everyday cooking, so this allows me to use another dal in this dish. Plus it gets soft and creamy and yummy :)

    Coffee, this seems to be international bisibele bhath day! three people on three different continents :)

  11. Hi Nupur, your quick bisibele bhaat looks delicious! I am very fond of one-pot suppers like this. I bet it was really comfort food after that surgery! Happy to have your endorsement for another brand of ready-made masala too -- for some reason I started off with MDH brand stuff and that's what I seem to buy most of the time. I will give MTR a try too :)

    BTW the "P" roundup is awesome!!!

  12. Wow! That looks good. for some reason I haven't tried this bhath masala....will give it a try now.

  13. Looks yummy Nupur! That is indeed quick BBB! I have never used the split green moong dal. I'm sure it adds a lot of flavor not to mention nutrition.Will try it with that next time!
    Waiting for sunday and the roundup :-)

  14. For one, MTR mixes are usually very good :). am glad you posted the Quicky! now i will make this for my dinner :).

  15. I've heard so much aboiut this dish...your's look so delicious...maybe it's time I gave it a try...

  16. Nupur
    Nice one to try. I usually do a similar one when Ravi is out of town. Pressure cooking rice, dal and a veggie and then tempering them.

    Yours is an extended version of it. Will try out !!

  17. great Bisibele Bhaat...the dish looks great...I will see if I can find the masala locally...or buy online...thanks for sharing

  18. Great post and interesting blog... I am a recent convert t Indian food and am glad to have found a place that provides some auhentic dishes that I can try at home!

  19. Linda, this one-pot supper has saved the day so many times for me! MTR is reputed to be an excellent brand for South Indian recipes. Glad you liked the "P" round-up :)

    Cooker, the masala is certainly worth trying!

    Latha, the split green moong does add a very special flavor!

    Musical, let me know if you try it :)

    Sunita, the "proper" authentic version is just amazingly delicious...this is just a quick copy of it :)

    Revathi, yeah, khichdis are so convenient for quick dinners.

    Dilip, thanks for visiting!

  20. Yummy..looks tempting..
    Khichdi was what my mom used to cook for quick dinner.. me n bro used to say "shortcut maarla aaj!" :D

  21. i too use the same procedure for this.the instant powder gives a nice taste isn't it?the plate is looking yummy!!mouth watering.

  22. Guess what - I bought a pressure cooker last weekend! I cooked unsoaked pinto beans in half an hour! This really sounds yummy - I'm going to try to find that masala this weekend and give this a try. I've been looking around on the web and found a conversion factor for "whistles" in Indian-style pressure cookiers and minutes in American-style pressure cookers: 2 minutes 20 seconds per whistle. Does that sound about right to you?

  23. Hi Nupur,

    Great recipe. since I myself come from Karnataka, we make BBB slightly modified to the version you have posted (but it looks and sure tastes yummythough!!) I use toor dal and first cook them in pressure cooker as u would for normal rice and dal. In a skillet then i would add all the spices, peanuts (we skip the onions), and allow the vegetables to cook (alternativly u can quickly pressure cook the veggies seperately), and then add you rice and dal on top. Addition of peanuts gives it a totally different flavor and garnish with coriander and fresh coconut and a dollop of ghee. I have never tried MTR spice mix, but we use homemade sambhar powder. So people without MTR mix need not worry, try sambhar powder!!


  24. me tuzhi recipe wachun lagech masala buy karayla gele...but instead of masala i got a paste...had Bisibele bhath yday night...was yummy to say the least...

  25. Nupur, The bisi bela bhath turned out awesome. I am going to look for more quick recipes in your blog.
    BTW, if you have hosted parties, would you have measurements of ingredients to make the indian dishes. would be thankful for pointers if any.

  26. Hi Nupur,

    Another wonderful recipe! My boyfriend, who said he wasn't too fond of bisibele bhath in India loved it! Looks like I converted him thanks to your recipe :)

    I basically followed your recipe exactly, the only changes being that I used a frozen carrot-peas-beans mix, whole moong dal (as I didn't have split on hand), and 4 tsp. of the MTR powder (we like a lot of spice!). Took about 1 whistle in my cooker as well. At the end, I threw in some roasted cashews too.

    With yogurt and some potato chips, it was indeed the perfect lunch!

    Look forward to trying out many more recipes in the future.


  27. Arts, sometimes life demands short-cuts :)

    Swapna, thanks :)

    Cathy, that sounds about right!

    Raakhee, thanks so much for that very helpful comment! Am going to try it this way next time for a totally authentic feel!

    Supriya, yes, their paste is totally awesome! I have used it before...this time, I could not find it so went for the powder.

    Seetha, glad the recipe worked! Thanks for letting me know. What particular dish are you looking for (for parties) and for how many people. Indian dishes are easily scaled up, as far as I know. I have one recipe for Vegetable Biryani for a crowd, you will find it in the recipe list. Please do send an e-mail if you have further questions.

    Amanda, thank you so much for the detailed is useful to know what variations work well :) It is good to know that whole moong dal works as well! The roasted cashews are a great touch. Glad you guys enjoyed it :)

  28. Hi Nupur, I am going to try this for my RCI-Karnataka entry. Guruji, I am stuck since I dont have MTR BBB powder :( Thanks to Rakhee's comment, I am gong ahead with Sambhar Powder. I love all MTR stuff..powder, frozen foods. Eating at MTR near Lalbagh after waiting for about an hour was a great experience :) And then watching a movie in the theater closeby (how can I forget the theater name!!) :)

  29. Quick and easy recipe. Never goes wrong. Love the flavors and how it comes together. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  30. I grew up in Bangalore and have eaten BBB a zillion times :-)
    I have never eaten BBB made with any dal other than Toor dal. Though this variation looks interesting, its like messing with Michaelangelo's David!

  31. Love your blog. Try making BBB with beaten rice. Super quick and as delicious.

    Ruth Isaac
    Kuala Lumpur


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