Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bisi Bele Bath (Sambhar Rice)

Bisi Bele Bath is a very popular dish of Bangalore. It is also popular as Sambhar Rice or as BBB! In kannada, Bisi bele bath means hot lentil rice. As in its name, this dish has to be eaten hot. Me and my husband are a big fan of this dish. BBB when made using home made spice powder, is a treat. The fresh ground spices add a great flavor to it. The procedure might look lengthy but the happiness and satisfaction on the face of your loved ones, after eating it makes it worth the effort and make it again and again.

My amma makes it often from many years. She noted down this recipe from some book ( I don't know). She gave me a rough measurement (as she eyeballs it) and I have been making it from a year or so and never failed, when it comes to its taste. Try making it from scratch to know the difference!
This is a healthy dish as it has proteins from dal and lot of veggies. Altogether it is a complete meal!

  • Rice- 1 cup
  • Toordal- 1/3 cup
  • Carrot, big sized- 1
  • Peas, Fresh/frozen/dried- 1/3 cup
  • Beans, chopped- 1/3 cup
  • Cashews- 1 Tbsp (optional)
  • Tamarind, soaked in water- A small ball (gooseberry sized)
  • Oil- 1-2 Tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 3/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves- Few
For Masala:
  • Grated Coconut, fresh/frozen- 1/2 cup
  • Coriander seeds- 1 Tbsp
  • Chanadal/Split chickpeas- 1 Tbsp
  • Urad dal/Split blackgram- 2 Tbsp
  • Cinnamon- 1 inch piece
  • Cloves- 4
  • Whole peppercorn- 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin/Jeera- 3/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds/Methi- 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Dry red chilli- 4-5
  • Marathi Moggu- 2-3 (I didn't have)

Wash the rice and Toor dal. Take them in a cooker. Add enough water (the water level should be 1-1.5 inches from the rice-dal mixture). Also add the chopped veggies- carrot and beans, peas (I used frozen beans and peas. hence I didn't cook them in a cooker, as they cook quite fast). Cook them altogether for 2-3 whistles (don't worry if the resulting cooked mixture is mushy). While it is cooking, prepare the masala.

To make BBB powder: First dry roast the grated coconut. Fry until it turns light brown. Half way through its frying, add turmeric powder. Transfer it to a plate and let it cool. Now in the same pan, fry all the spices listed under masala, one by one until they turn light brown. Allow them to cool. Blend them together to get a fine powder. BBB powder is ready.

Now, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, Once it starts spluttering, add curry leaves and cashews. Fry for few seconds and then add BBB powder. Mix well and add 2 cups of water. 
Then add chopped beans and peas (if you have not cooked them along with rice- dal mixture). Add salt and close the lid. Let it cook for a while, say 3-4 minutes. 
Then add the cooked rice- dal- veggie mixture and mix well. Add enough water. 
Then add tamarind pulp and check for salt. Close it with a lid and bring it to a boil. Adjust the consistency of the BBB, once it comes to a boil (I like it little watery. You can as well serve it thick. But remember that BBB will become  thick as it cools down). Turn off the heat. Bisi Bele Bath is ready!!

Serve it hot with Boondi (Spicy chickpea balls) or raita along with generous amount of ghee on top! It also tastes good when served with potato chips. Enjoy this on a cold winter day! Heaven on plate:-)
Above measurement serves four people.

Note: Some people as well add capsicum, potato, cauliflower, potato etc while making BBB. But I personally prefer carrot, beans and peas. So add veggies of your choice.


  1. I absolutely love this...looks very very delicious n yummm

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  3. Hi Lakshmi!
    Your blog is very good and so are your recipes.
    I am a konkani from mangalore.
    Since your tag line is 'rediscovering konkani tradition of food', just wanted to tell u that bisibelebath is not konkani but kanndiga cuisine popular in bangalore, mysore etc.

  4. Its recognized from a shoe bath by being a similar stature all around the head of the bath.Inflatable Hot Tubs