Bisi Bele Bath also known as the spicy mixed vegetable sambar rice is a traditional south indian dish made from cooked rice and lentils, mashed along with a spicy tamarind and vegetable curry/sambar that is simply delicious.
To begin the preparation of Bisi Bele Bath, first make the spice powder.
To make the spice powder, heat a small pan on medium heat; add in the chana dal, urad dal. Stir continuously until they lightly brown and you get a roasted aroma.
Once the lentils are roasted, we will add in the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds and the coriander seeds. Turn the heat to low and roast well until the chillies begin to brown and you get a roasted aroma from the spices.
Next will add in the poppy seeds and coconut. Continue to roast along with other ingredients for about a 30 to 40 seconds until the coconut loses its moisture. Once it is roasted we will add in the turmeric powder and the asafoetida powder. Stir until it combines well into the other ingredients. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.
Once cooled add the ingredients to a spice blender and make a fine powder of the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and keep aside.
Next thing to do, is to make the spicy vegetable tamarind sambar.
For this, in a large pressure cooker, we will add the tamarind water, jaggery, the drumsticks, pearl onions, beans, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, salt and finally the bisi bele bhaat spice powder.
Stir all the ingredients well. Cover the pressure cooker, place the weight and allow the vegetables to cook until you hear at least 2 whistles and turn off the heat. Since the vegetables cook very quickly, we will release the pressure by running cold water over the pressure cooker. This process helps to bring the pressure down immediately.
Open the pressure cooker and smell the aroma from the vegetable curry. You can transfer this to another bowl to reuse the pressure cooker for the next process. But since I have another pressure cooker, I will leave it aside as it is.
Now lets get the main ingredients to make the Bisi Bele Bath and learn how to bring them all together
To the pressure cooked at in the washed rice, the washed lentils, the turmeric powder, salt and 5 cups of water. Cover the cooker and place the weight on the pressure cooker. Turn the heat to high and allow the rice to cook until you hear two whistles.
After you hear the whistles, turn the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. After 5 minutes have passed, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally. Rice cooks in this resting period, hence wait for the pressure to release completely.
While we are waiting for the pressure to release, Lets proceed to make the seasoning.
For seasoning the Bisi Bele Bath, heat a small pan on medium heat. Add in a tablespoon of ghee and allow it to melt. Add in the mustard seeds, the cumin seeds. Allow it to crackle. Then add in the red chilli, curry leaves and roast them until the red chillies are browned lightly. Stir to roast the ingredients well. Once roasted keep this aside.
Now we will get back to the rice and dal pressure cooker. Once the pressure is released , open the pressure cooker. Add in the spicy vegetable tamarind curry. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined and the mixture looks like a mish mash. At this stage add in the prepared seasoning and two more tablespoons of ghee. Once again give the mixture a good stir.
Transfer the Bisi Bele Bath to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and the fried boondi on top.