Bisi bele bath

Bisi bele bath is a popular dish from Karnataka which translates to ‘hot lentil rice’ in Kannada. Along with rice and lentils, a variety of other vegetables are also added which makes it a wholesome meal.

This recipe has been adapted from my mother. When I first asked her for the recipe, she said everything about it and finally she told me this too… “This is how you like it, so this is how I would do.” So, I have done it the same way my mom told me to without altering the recipe. And, when I taste-tested it, it was very similar to the one that my mom usually makes and I just loved it.

Preparing bisi bele bath is a very loooong process but trust me, the end result is worth all the effort. Hot sambar rice topped with some melted ghee and fried cashews… Ohh My God!! That is heaven!! I know I often say this in all my posts but, good food is like being in heaven!

I had bisi bele bath with papads and raita on the side. For me, this is the perfect combination. In Karnataka, it is usually topped with some fried boondi and served hot. So, why wait to enjoy the deliciousness? Get an apron and start cooking! Bon Appétit!

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Bisi Bele Bath

Abhipriya Raghav
Bisi bele bath is a rice and lentil dish prepare along with lots of veggies and spice powders.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


To cook the dal and rice

  • 75 grams rice
  • 25 grams toor dal
  • 1.5 cups water, to cook the dal and rice

To prepare bisi bele bath

  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3-4 red chilies
  • 1 lemon sized tamrind
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 300 grams mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, capsicum, potato, pumpkin, ash gourd, yam, brinjal, green peas, lima beans, broad beans)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp sambar powder
  • salt, to taste
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp idli/tiffin sambar powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • oil, to cook
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves, to garnish

To temper

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • handful of split cashews
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 marathi moggu or kapok
  • 1/8 tsp hing


To cook dal and rice

  • Wash the dal and rice together and transfer it to a pressure cooker. Fill the cooker with 1.5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or until well cooked.
  • Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and mash the dal and rice with a potato masher and set aside.

To prepare bisi bele bath

  • Soak the tamrind in 1/3 cup of water for 15-20 minutes.
  • Chop all the vegetables to bite sized pieces and set aside
  • Chop the onions and tomatoes, extract the tamrind juice and prepare the rest of the ingredients required for the bisi bele bath.
  • In the same pressure cooker, add some oil and let it heat.
  • Add the mustard, cumin, pepper corns, fenugreek and red chilies to the oil and let it crackle.
  • Add the curry leaves, onions, green chilies and cook till onions turn pink.
  • Add the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook till it turns soft and mushy.
  • Add all the vegetables and mix them well along with the onion tomato mixture.
  • Add the sambar powder, turmeric powder, salt and the tamrind juice to the veggies. Mix them well.
  • Add some water and let the vegetables cook for 4-5 minutes on a medium flame
  • Add the rice and dal to the pressure cooker and mix them well. Let it cook till almost 80% of the water is absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients required for tempering.
  • In a tadka pan, add the oil and fry the whole garam masala (bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, marathi moggu) along with hing.
  • Add the fried whole garam masala to the pressure cooker and mix well.
  • When almost 80% of water is absorbed, switch off the stove and add the garam masala powder and the idli/tiffin sambar powder to the cooker along with the tempered whole garam masala.
  • In a tadka pan, add the ghee and fry the cashews till golden brown.
  • Add the fried cashews to the pressure cooker and mix well.
  • Finally add some coriander leaves.
  • Serve it hot along with fried pappads and raita on the side. Swirl in some ghee just before serving.


  • To cook the dal and rice, add water according to the quality of the dal and rice you have taken. 1.5 cups is an approximate amount.
  • Chop all the vegetables to the same size to make sure they cook for the same time.
  • Add water to just immerse the vegetables for cooking them.
  • The tiffin sambar powder recipe will be posted soon. You can also use store bought powder if you do not have it at home.
  • Bisi bele bath turns thick on cooling. So make sure that you turn of the flame when it reaches the desired consistency.
Keyword bisi bele bath, lentils, rice, sambar, vegetables

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