Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bisi Bele Bath (Indian Rice & Lentil Risotto With Assorted Vegetables)

Bisi Bele Bath (BBB) is a delicious Indian risotto and a one pot meal. Do include the cashew topping; the ocassional bites of the buttery tasting toasted cashews gives a sublime taste. I serve steaming hot bowls with a simple chopped salad or raita and some papadams for a very comforting and filling meal.
Bisi Bele Bath with Carrot Salad
Although similar to the Easy Bisi Bela, this Bisi Bele Bath is made with freshly made spice masala. Bisi Bele Bath is a great recipe that lends itself to doubling, tripling, etc and can feed a small family or a huge crowd.

This recipe comes from the Indian State of Karnataka known for the gorgeous gardens, beautiful temples, architecture, and delicious food. Tamil Nadu and Kerala, neighborig states, have Sambar Sadam and Kadamba Sadam, similar but slightly different. All are made with rice, toor dal, and vegetables but the spices vary according to region.

Assorted Vegetables for BBB: Butternut Squash or a flavorful pumpkin, Green Beans, Carrots, Potatoes, Chayote/Opo Squash, Onions, Bell Pepper, Edamame, Eggplant, Green Lima Beans, Moringa Pods, Peas, Sweet Potato, Zucchini, etc. Choose the vegetables for flavor, color, and texture. Cut the vegetables into small 1/2" cubes.
Veggies for Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi Bele Bath with Tomato and Papadam
Ingredients: For 8 Main meal Servings

BBB Masala: 
1/8 cup Coriander seeds
1/8 cup Chana Dal
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
1 (1" piece) Cinnamon Stick
5 Cloves
3 green Cardamoms
1-2 dried Byadagi or Kashmiri Chile
1-2 Dried Red Peppers
2 Tsp Sesame seeds, black or white
1 small pea-sized lump Asafetida (or 1/4 tsp ground)
1 stems Curry leaves
4 Tbsp dried Coconut shreds (unsweetened)

Start roasting the dals and black pepper in a dry skillet; add other ingredients in the list after about a minute in the order given stirring in after each addition. Roast until lightly toasted and fragrant; pour into a plate to cool well. Grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight glass jar or other container. The following amount of spices will make enough masala for 3-4 recipes depending on the amount used per recipe.

Bisi Bela Bath
2 Cups Basmati or Sona Masuri Rice
1 cup Toor Dal
2 Tsp Tamarind concentrate
4-6 cups Assorted Vegetables, see note
1 tsp Turmeric, divided 
2-3 tsp Salt, divided
3-4 Tbsp BBB Masala (see recipe above)
4 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp Oil
8 Tbsp Cashew pieces
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Asafetida
2 Stems Curry leaves, cut into fine chiffonade


Combine the rice and dal in a bowl, rinse well, soak in fresh water to cover for 30 minutes.

Drain the rice and dal, rinse well again, drain.

Place the rice-dal mixture in a large pot with half the salt and turmeric; add tamarind along with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool while preparing the vegetables.

Heat the oil if using in another large pan and add the cashew pieces; stir and toast until they are pinkish gold. Remove from pan and reserve until time to serve.

Add mustard seeds to the same pan where cashews were toasted; no need to wash or clean. When the mustard starts popping, add the rest of the seasoning ingredients and stir well.

Tip in the vegetables; add the salt, turmeric, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the BBB masala.

Gently combine the veggies with the juices and the rice-dal mixture. Add a little boiled water if the dish is not soft enough. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Let Bisi Bele Bath rest covered for 5 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Serve hot sprinkled with cilantro and cashews.


Bisi Bele Bath with Carrot Salad

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