Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bisibelebath - The Quick & Easy way

Bisibelebath - has always been a difficult recipe for me to prepare but recently i found an easier way to make it while retaining its authentic taste. Though this recipe has been in the tradition for ages in Tamil Brahmin families, like many girls out there, i too learned to make this only after marriage! Obviously i have never entered kitchen so much before wedding as much as i did after being married...:-) So, whenever my mom-in-law used to make this, it used to be an elaborate process of cooking rice and dhal together, boiling vegetables separately, preparing sambar and then mixing all of these together....ooooppphhhh...such a task but don't worry....i have now found an easier way to do let me stop bragging and start with the recipe for the dish..


Mixed Vegetables cubbed - 1 medium carrot, 1 medium potato, some cauliflower florets, 1 Drum stick, 1 medium capsicum, 1/4 cup green peas, 1 small white/red raddish, 8-10 pieces cubbed white pumpkin, 2 small brinjals cubbed.
You could add less or more veggies based on your choice and availability. 3-4 cups of veggies would suffice.

1 cup of Raw Rice
1/2 cup of Toor Dhal
1 small lemon sized ball of Tamarind for puree
1tsp of turmeric powder
3/4 cup of grated coconut
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:

2-3 tbsp of cooking oil
4 tbsp of ghee (clarified butter)
6-8 pieces of Cashews
1tsp of mustard seeds
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
Fresh coriander

For the Sambar Powder:

Channa Dhal(Kadalai paruppu) - 1 tbsp
Dhania (Coriander seeds) - 2 tbsp
Red Chillies medium - 5-7 nos
Methi seeds( Vendhayam) - 1/4 tbsp
Cinnamon Stick - 2 pieces
Cloves - 2-3 nos
Elaichi - 1 no
Hing( Asafoetida) - 1 small piece or 1/4 tsp

Vary the number of red chillies depending on your level of spice intake. Minimum of 5 medium red chillies should suffice.

Preparation time: 20 mins Cooking time: 25 mins


In 1 tsp of oil, roast the Channa dhal, dhania, red chillies, methi seeds, cinnamon, cloves, elaichi and hing and grind on cooling with the coconut. Add water and grind into a smooth paste and keep aside.

Soak the tamarind, in some warm water, while you set on to clean and cut the veggies, so that they will be ready to puree when you are all set to start making the dish. You could use ready to use tamarind paste as an alternative too. However, check the quantity depending on how sour you like the dish to be.

Similarly, keep the toor dhal also soaked duirng this time. This way, you can be sure it will cook fine with rice as I have noticed some dhal cuase quite a pain in getting cooked in 3 whistles:-)

Take a pressure pan and set on stove top at medium heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of oil and on heating, splatter a tsp of mustard seeds and some fresh curry leaves.

Now add the veggies and toss them in the pressure pan for 2 mins, adding a bit of salt to coat the veggies. Add the turmeric powder too.

To this add the tamarind puree, preferably strained with 2 cups of water. If you are using tamarind paste just dilute it in 2 cups of water and add the same.

Now, add the ground masala paste to the pressure pan and let it boil for a minute.

Then add the washed cup of raw rice and toor dhal together into the pan. Add 4 cups of water into the pan and Salt to taste and mix the ingredients in the pan.

Please note that although there is already 2 cups of tamarind water and the masala was also made using water, you will still need to add 4 cups of water, in order for the rice and dhal to cook fully. The dish has to come together on the laddle and should not be lose and seperate like pulav or biriyani. Adding a little extra water will also ensure that the food does not get burnt on the bottom of the pan:-)

Give it 3 whistles ( my regular for cooking rice and dhal) and let it simmer for a minute before switching the stove off.

Let the pan cool for a while until the steam escapes. Roast the cashews in the ghee and garnish on top of the hot bisibelebath, once you open the pan. Also sprinkle the freshly cut coriander for added color and flavour.

Serve hot with fried Papad, Potato fry or with boondi raitha! Hope you make a good one and enjoy the flavour of this delicacy!

Foot note: For those of you who have home made Sambar powder, you could use less spice in the above masala. Preferably 2 medium chillies and add 1-1/2 tbsp of home made sambar powder too!

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