Friday, November 03, 2006

Bisi Bele Huli Anna

Bisi Bele Huli Anna - Rice and Lentils cooked with veggies
Dear Foodies,

A couple of months back there was a sudden surge of Bisi bele baath recipes in the Indian blogs. Thats when I decided to make it too. It is a one pot meal, not as simple as kichdi or tomato baath, but definitely very very yummy and comforting. I made a cooker full of it on a saturday and it was all over by the evening with me needing to scrape a little from the bottom of the vessel for dinner :-)

Bisi Bele Huli Anna, is a Karnataka speciality. Bisi - hot; Bele -dal; Huli - tamarind; Anna - rice. Its similar to sambar rice, the rice here is cooked along with the sambar made from freshly ground spices.

Here goes the recipe for this splendid medley of rice and dal. The recipe list is long but all you have to do is roast all of them in a skillet and grind. So don't shun this wonderful dish looking at the long list of ingredients. This is a perfect one-pot meal for a cold, rainy weekend lunch.


  • 1 nos - Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 nos - Carrot, cubed
  • 1 nos - Onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup - Green peas
  • 1/2 cup - Lima beans
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • (You could choose any combination of veggies)
To pre-cook:
  • 2 1/2 cups - Rice, I used sona masoori
  • 1 cup - Toor dal
  • 1 key lime sized ball of tamarind soaked for 10-15 mins in warm water.
To grind:
  • 2 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp - Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tsp - Fennel seeds/saunf
  • 2 tsp - Coriander seeds/dhania
  • 1 tsp - Fenugreek seeds/Menthulu
  • 4-5 nos - Cloves/lavang
  • 5-6 nos - Whole pepper
  • 1 no - Cinnamon stick, 1 inch long
  • 2 nos - Cardamom/elaichi
  • 1 nos - Star anise
  • 1 Tbsp - Urad dal
  • 1 Tbsp - Channa dal
  • 2 Tbsp - raw rice
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaves
  • 2 nos - Red chillies, dried
  • Oil for sauteing the above, roughly 2 Tbsp.

  1. Pressure cook the dal and rice separately. You can toss in the vegetables that take time to cook along with the dal. Soak the tamarind in some warm water.
  2. Heat some oil in a skillet and slightly toast the ingredients under the 'to grind' list. Take care to avoid burning any of them. I roasted the ingredients in 3 steps, first those from mustard seeds to cardamom in one go(add the fenugreek seeds last, they burn really fastttt), reserved them, then roasted the dals and rice and finally the curry leaves and red chilies. Allow all of them to cool.
  3. Transfer all these to the grinder and blend to get the spice powder. This masala does not have to be extra fine.
  4. Extract the pulp from the tamarind and bring the water to a boil. Also add the vegetables not cooked with the dal. Once they get cooked, add the spice mix and boil for a few minutes.
  5. Next add the cooked dal and fold in the rice taking care not to mash the vegetables. Add salt to taste and more water if required to get a slightly watery dish.
  6. Pressure cook for 1-2 whistles or leave covered on the stove top stirring occasionally till the masala blends with the rice and comes together as complete dish.
  7. Mix in some fresh coriander leaves and let the rice stay covered for a few more minutes
  8. Serve hot with a small dollop of home made ghee, some more coriander leaves and some vadiyum/papad. Now sink into the couch with your plate & your favorite movie playing on TV :-) You can also serve it with some tomato-onion raita too.

My notes:
  • You can use veggies of your choice. Beans, zucchini, chole etc. I personally don't like adding cauliflower to sambar dishes as they become mushy.
  • I prefer my bisi bele baath a little liquidy with the rice grains soft, unlike the separated rice grains for pulao dishes.
  • You can adjust the amount of red chillies and cloves according to your taste. I added a teaspoon of mom's sambar powder too apart from the spice mix.
There are loads of recipes for this from other bloggers:

Well I am going to stop here...looks like nearly every Indian blogger has written about it !!!

14 thoughts:

Menu Today said...

Hi Priya,
"Bisi Bele Huli Anna" looks delicious!!!! I like to have this with Sago Papad.. (javvarisi Vadam)...Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Priya,

This sounds and look wonderful -- I love these one-pot rice and dal meals. Will definitely try yours. Thanks for the helpful hint about which ingredients to roast together, too :)

Priya said...

MenuToday: I eat it exactly the same way...!! I even had the pic but the lighting was too bad to have it in the post !! I have always felt that your cooking style is very close to my mom's. I think I mentioned it in your blog too :-)

Linda: You will surely love it. Do give it a try :-). The spice mix is best when made fresh but you can always store some in an air tight bag or box. And all dishes with freshly grounded spices are at their best when allowed to sit for a few hours. This sambar rice for instance when made for lunch will taste even better when eaten at dinner time...but well, thats if you manage to save some !!

TNL said...

Looks good! you're right, this would be perfect for rainy days in front of the Tv! Tomato-onion Raita sounds like it would really go well with this!


Anonymous said...

I would plan my visits to Karnataka Sangha for Saturdays so that I could order this. They used to top it with some boondi which added an interesting crunch.
I have made it at home now a couple of times. More work than khichri but what a difference!
Truely comfort food.

Shah cooks said...

sounds like a comfort food. it is easier to stick to one pot meals in winter! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Priya,
It is a dish I love to have with kerala nendram chips and onion raitha. Long time I made this,thanks for reminding me.

Priya said...

@ Trupti: You should try it out sometime Trupti, and from the comments I have learnt that it is generally served with boondi on the side or with raita. So try that combo if u can. And dont forget a sllight drizzle of ghee on top ;-)

@ Anita: I have had had this at restaurants. I shud probably try it out during my next trip to India. We always preferred North Indian food when we had to eat out as the food at home was mostly South Indian and we dint want to repeat it when we were out too!!

@ Shaheen: One-pot meals magically transform into delightful and appetizing meals once the winter peeps in.

@ Lakshmi: u have reminded me of the nendrapazham chips and there is no way I can make them !! :-(
Any chance you have a recipe for them ????

Praba Ram said...

Hi Priya -

First of all, thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. It was really cute! Enid Blyton's books are so wonderful, aren't they?

Your bisibelehulianna makes me drool just like how I 've always drooled over strawberry shortcakes and jam biscuits reading EB's books. Oh, the picnic spots and the snacks...I have always imagined going on picnics like those kids in her stories...

You know what, my mom made nentharangai chips(banana) this morning with the plantains bought from supertarget! I plan to cook your bisibele bath for dinner! The weather outside is cloudy, and it's going to be a perfect dinner this evening! Can't wait to get started on your recipe. Will let you know how it comes out! :-)

FH said...

Yum! My fav ofcourse for I am Kannadiga!!looks great!! Thanks Priya!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for bisi bele baath recipe..And i found this in time..Thanks priya for such detailed explanation

Praba Ram said...

Priya - quick update! YOur bisibelehulianna came out great - particularly the masala flavors and the veggie combo! I made one little mistake - for the dhal and rice combo, didn't know how much water to add, and the thoordhal was a little bit uncooked - didn't come out fully time - will pay more attention to water proportions..!

but i am glad i found the perfect recipe for this dish!


Priya said...

@ Prabha: Thank God you liked it !! I was biting my nails all day y'day !! :-D...I generally use 1:2 ratio of dal/rice and water. Even for this I used completely cooked dal and rice and then added them to the tamarind-masala water and pressure cooked for a lil more than 1 whistle.
And I used to love EB's picnic descriptions. I would also ask my mom to buy cakes from the baker and sit in our garden pretending to have a picnic !! haha..their bicycling trips...the secret shed they met in...all of them were so wonderfully told that I can still picture it as if it was a movie I saw and not a book that I read !!

@ Annita: Glad you found the recipe helpful. Do try it out :-) Now I feel more confident recommending it as Prabha already tried it and liked the outcome :-)

Tweety said...

Wow bissibela from the scratch!!! Cool!
I gotta make this one from ur recipe some day. Thanks for posting

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