Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath Recipe: A Delectable South Indian Delight

Bisi Bele Bath recipe, often referred to as the ‘King of One-Pot Meals,’ is a fragrant and wholesome rice dish that originates from the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The name ‘Bisi Bele Bath’ itself is a testament to its essence – ‘Bisi’ meaning hot, ‘Bele’ meaning lentils, and ‘Bath’ translating to rice. This dish perfectly balances a medley of spices, vegetables, rice, and lentils, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors that will transport your taste buds to the heart of South India. Bisi Bele Bath recipe is known for its distinct spicy and tangy flavors, thanks to the use of a special spice blend and tamarind. Khichdi, on the other hand, is a simpler and milder dish made with minimal spices. Bisi Bele Bath is often served with a variety of side dishes, including:

  • Papad: Crispy papads (thin, seasoned lentil crisps) complement the flavors and add crunch.
  • Raita: A cooling yogurt-based side dish with ingredients like cucumber, tomato, or onion to balance the spiciness.
  • Coconut Chutney: A coconut-based chutney with hints of cilantro and green chilies for freshness.


For the Rice and Lentil Mixture:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1/2 cup of toor dal (pigeon peas lentil)
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

For the Bisi Bele Bath Spice Blend:

  • 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of chana dal (split chickpeas)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of urad dal (black gram lentil)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dried red chilies (adjust to your spice preference)
  • A small piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • A pinch of asafoetida

For the Tamarind Paste:

  • Gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  • Water to soak

For the Tempering:

  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • A few curry leaves
  • Cashew nuts and peanuts (optional)
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • Chopped vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, etc.)

Bisi Bele Bath


Preparing the Rice and Lentil Mixture:

  1. Wash the rice and toor dal together under running water until the water runs clear.
  2. In a pressure cooker, add ghee and heat it. Add a pinch of asafoetida.
  3. Add the washed rice and dal to the pressure cooker.
  4. Add turmeric powder and salt.
  5. Pour in the appropriate amount of water (usually around 3-4 cups).
  6. Cook until you hear three whistles. Set aside.
  7. In a separate pan, dry roast all the spices listed under the spice blend until they turn aromatic and slightly brown.
  8. Allow them to cool and then grind them into a fine powder.
  9. Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 10-15 minutes.
  10. Extract the tamarind juice and set it aside
  11. Take a deep-bottomed pan and add ghee. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  12. Add curry leaves, cashew nuts, peanuts, dried red chilies, and chopped vegetables. Sauté until the vegetables are partially cooked.
  13. Add the tamarind extract and the ground spice blend. Let it simmer for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  14. Add the cooked rice and dal mixture. Mix everything together until it’s well combined simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens to your desired consistency.


  1. Use Fresh Spices: Whenever possible, use freshly roasted and ground spices. The aroma and flavor of freshly ground spices elevate the dish.
  2. Vegetable Choices: While traditional Bisi Bele Bath includes vegetables like carrots, beans, and peas, don’t hesitate to experiment with seasonal veggies. Eggplant, drumstick, and bell peppers are great options.
  3. Tamarind Control: Adjust the amount of tamarind paste to suit your taste. Some prefer it tangy, while others like it milder. Taste as you go and find your preferred balance.
  4. Ghee for Tempering: The use of ghee for tempering adds a rich and aromatic dimension to the dish. Don’t skimp on it.
  5. Fry the Cashews and Peanuts: If you’re using cashews and peanuts for garnish, lightly fry them in ghee until they turn golden brown. This adds a delightful crunch.
  6. Consistency: The consistency of Bisi Bele Bath is a personal preference. Adjust the water content to make it thicker or soupier, as per your liking.
  7. Spice Level: Control the spice level by varying the number of dried red chilies. Remove the seeds for a milder version or increase for extra heat.

Bisi Bele Bath


1. Is Bisi Bele Bath recipe the Same as Khichdi?

No, Bisi Bele Bath and Khichdi are different dishes. While both are one-pot meals made with rice and lentils, Bisi Bele Bath is known for its distinct spicy and tangy flavors, thanks to the use of a special spice blend and tamarind. Khichdi, on the other hand, is a simpler and milder dish made with minimal spices.

2. Can I Make Bisi Bele Bath recipe Without a Pressure Cooker?

Yes, you can make Bisi Bele Bath without a pressure cooker. Instead, you can cook the rice and lentils separately in a pot or rice cooker. Just ensure that they are cooked until tender before proceeding with the recipe.

3. How Spicy Is Bisi Bele Bath recipe?

The spice level of Bisi Bele Bath can be adjusted to your preference. Typically, it has a moderate level of spiciness due to the dried red chilies used in the spice blend. You can control the heat by reducing or increasing the number of chilies or by removing their seeds for a milder version.

4. Can I Make Bisi Bele Bath recipe Ahead of Time?

Yes, Bisi Bele Bath can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. In fact, many people believe that the flavors of Bisi Bele Bath enhance when allowed to sit for some time. Just reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

5. Is Bisi Bele Bath recipe Vegetarian?

Yes, Bisi Bele Bath is a vegetarian dish. It is a popular choice among vegetarians in South India. However, some variations include meat or seafood for non-vegetarian preferences.

6. Is Bisi Bele Bath recipe Healthy?

Bisi Bele Bath is a nutritious dish as it contains a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. However, the addition of ghee and nuts does increase its calorie content. To make it healthier, you can reduce the amount of ghee and use brown rice or millet instead of white rice.

7. Can I Customize Bisi Bele Bath to My Taste?

Absolutely! Bisi Bele Bath is a versatile dish, and you can customize it by adjusting the spice level, choice of vegetables, and the consistency of the dish. Feel free to experiment and tailor it to your liking.

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