Sitting in Bangalore, I cannot help but think of the most obvious dish here… “The Bisibelebath.”
The very name of the dish tells you about the dish, “hot lentil rice”. The bisibelebath is a one pot meal with vegetables and lentils making this a wholesome meal by itself. With the addition of the ghee and the fried cashews, this dish gets extra flavor and crunchiness.
The masala added to the bisibelebath is the most important ingredient in the dish. This masala can be ground and stored in an air tight container for later use.
Shallots/ small onions (sliced if big) – 1 cup
Tomatoes (diced) – ½ cup
Mixed vegetables (any vegetable of your choice) – 1 cup
Tamarind puree – ¼ cup
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1-2 sprigs
Tuvar dhal (boiled and mashed) – ½ cup
Rice (cooked slightly soft) – 1 cup
Ghee – 1-2 tbsps
Cashews – 8-10pcs
Oil – 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
For roasting and grinding:
Red chillies – 6-8 nos
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsps
Jeera – 1 tsp
Gram dhal – 1 tbsp
Saunf – 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick – 1” pc
Pepper – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Dry roast the ingredients separately with very little or no oil and grind them to a coarse powder. Store the roasted powder in an air tight container for later use.
Heat oil in a large pan, when the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to sputter.
When they do, add the shallots/ small onions and sauté them well. Sauté the small onions till they get slightly brown in color.
Add the mixed vegetables (I used carrots, peas, potato, drumstick and capsicum) and sauté them for a minute.
Now, add the tomatoes and fry them till they soft and mushy. When they are done, add a tsp of turmeric powder and 2 tbsps of the ground masala powder and sauté till oil starts separating from the edges. Add a cup of water and close and cook till the vegetables are done.
When the vegetables are fully cooked and are easy to mash with a spoon, pour the tamarind puree and cook for another 10 minutes, cover with a lid.
Now add the cooked tuvar dhal and rice, mix it well and add a cup of water, season with salt and cover and cook on a slow heat.
Cook till all the rice, dhal and vegetables have combined well and have a nice almost thick consistency.
Remove from the heat.
Heat a small pan with the ghee, fry the cashews till they are golden brown and remove and drain on absorbent paper.
In the same ghee, fry some sliced onions, till they are brown and drain on absorbent paper.
Pour the ghee on top of the bisibelabath and mix well, garnish with the cashew and fried onions and serve with papad and curd vadai or raitha.