Thursday, November 09, 2023

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Spice

Dinner last night was inspired by an unopened packet of MTR Bisibele Masala powder in my spice cabinet. Bisibele bhaath is a Kannada Kannadiga (i.e., from the Southern Indian state of Karnataka) version of the khichdi or rice-lentil stew that is made in many divinely comforting versions all over India. Suma of Veggie Platter has a very informative post on this excellent dish, including a recipe for homemade bisibele masala powder.

I've posted a not-authentic one pot recipe back in 2007, and then posted a more authentic version in 2012. Here's a third version that I made yesterday, using the instant pot. It uses two pots but is very quick for a weeknight.

Bisibele Bhaath

1. Soak 1 cup toor dal in water in an instant pot insert for a few hours. About 20 minutes before starting to cook, add 1/3 cup sona masoori rice to the soaking dal. 

2. Drain the rice and dal mixture and rinse it a couple of times. Then add water and salt and pressure cook in instant pot on HIGH for 4 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, heat a separate pot on the stove with a bit of oil. 

4. Temper oil with 1 tsp. mustard seeds and a sprig of curry leaves.

5. Add 2-3 tbsp. peanuts/cashews, chopped 1/2 onion and 1/2 green pepper

6. Add salt to taste and about 4 heaping tsp. bisibele masala powder.

7. Add 1/2 tbsp. tamarind pulp and 1 cup water, bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes

8. Add this boiled mixture to the cooked rice-dal mixture in the instant pot, turn on sauté mode and simmer for a couple of minutes. You are done! 

I served it with sautéed cabbage. Pickle, papad, yogurt, raita are all good accompaniments. This is a wonderful cold-weather dinner and I'm looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch today. 


  1. Hi nupur . I love your blog . I always look for posts . I enjoy your content - you are warm , smart and real :) . I am from karnataka . Kannada is the language we speak and our dishes are referred to as kannadiga dishes .. or dishes from karnataka . Technically there are no kannada dishes :) I am sure you would appreciate knowing this so I took the liberty of saying so :)
    Please keep posting - you have a consistent fan base :)

    1. Heera- thank you for the kind note and for reading the blog! I DO appreciate knowing this :) Your name is lovely BTW

  2. Nupur, I used to be a MTR spice powders fan but which I no longer buy because of the sugar content in them. I am trying to identify stealth sugar and avoid them. I will eat sweets but not items that we don't identify as sweet but have loads of sugar in them - yogurt :(

    1. Hi Indo- how are you doing? I hear you on the sneaky sugar. But I'm willing to give it a pass in spice powders because they are just so convenient for me at this time in my life. But it is a good reminder to check labels. Yogurt is an absolute sugar bomb.


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