Bisi Bele Bath: A Delicious and Flavorful South Indian Dish


Bisi Bele Bath is a popular rice and lentil dish that originated in the southern state of Karnataka in India. This delicious and flavorful one-pot meal is made with a unique blend of spices, vegetables, rice, and lentils. It is a comfort food that is often served for lunch or dinner in South Indian households. Bisi Bele Bath is not only a tasty dish, but it is also healthy, nutritious, and filling. In this blog post, we will discuss the Bisi Bele Bath recipe, its origin, ingredients, cooking technique, and the cultural significance of this dish. We will also explore some ways to enjoy Bisi Bele Bath as a dessert, snack, beverage, or paired with wine, beer, or cocktail.


  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, potatoes, etc.)
  • 2-3 tbsp bisi bele bath masala powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee or oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

For the bisi bele bath masala powder:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cloves powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cardamom powder



Wash the rice and dal in separate bowls and soak them in water for 30 minutes.


Cut the vegetables into small pieces.


Heat a pan and dry roast all the ingredients for the bisi bele bath masala powder. Grind them to a fine powder and keep aside.


In a pressure cooker, heat ghee or oil and add onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Saute for a few minutes until they turn soft.


Add the mixed vegetables, bisi bele bath masala powder, tamarind pulp, salt, and 4 cups of water. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.


Drain the soaked rice and dal and add them to the pressure cooker. Mix well and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.


Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and mix the bisi bele bath well.


Serve hot with a dollop of ghee on top and some crispy papad on the side.

The Origin of Bisi Bele Bath Bisi Bele Bath has its roots in the South Indian state of Karnataka, where it is a popular dish. The name ‘Bisi Bele Bath’ is a combination of three words – ‘Bisi’ meaning hot, ‘Bele’ meaning lentils, and ‘Bath’ meaning rice. This dish is an amalgamation of flavors and techniques from different regions of Karnataka and has become an integral part of the state’s culinary culture.

Cooking Technique of Bisi Bele Bath The cooking technique of Bisi Bele Bath is simple but requires patience and attention to detail. To make this dish, you need to first cook the lentils and rice separately. Then, you need to sauté the spices and vegetables in a pot before adding the cooked lentils and rice. The dish is then simmered for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Finally, it is garnished with fried cashews and served hot with ghee.

Cultural Significance of Bisi Bele Bath Bisi Bele Bath is not just a dish; it is a part of the cultural fabric of Karnataka. It is a staple food that is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. The dish is often served during festivals, weddings, and other special occasions. Bisi Bele Bath is also served in many restaurants and eateries across South India, and it has gained popularity in other parts of India and the world.

Ways to Enjoy Bisi Bele Bath Bisi Bele Bath is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some ideas to savor this dish:

  • Dessert: Bisi Bele Bath can be turned into a dessert by adding jaggery or sugar to it. The sweet and savory flavors of the dish make it a unique and delicious dessert option.
  • Snack: Bisi Bele Bath can be enjoyed as a snack by packing it in a lunchbox or as an afternoon snack. It is a filling and nutritious snack that will keep you full for a long time.
  • Beverage: Bisi Bele Bath can also be enjoyed as a beverage by blending it with water or buttermilk. This drink is refreshing and perfect for hot summer days. You can also add a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.
  • Wine: Bisi Bele Bath pairs well with medium-bodied red wines like Shiraz or Zinfandel. The spicy and earthy notes of the dish complement the fruity and robust flavors of the wine.
  • Beer: Bisi Bele Bath also goes well with light and crisp beers like Pilsner or Lager. The refreshing and effervescent nature of the beer balances the hearty and spicy flavors of the dish.
  • Cocktail: You can also use Bisi Bele Bath to create a unique cocktail. Mix some vodka or gin with Bisi Bele Bath, add some ice and garnish with a slice of lemon or lime. This drink is perfect for a summer evening.
  • Fusion and Ethnic Variations of Bisi Bele Bath Bisi Bele Bath is a versatile dish that can be adapted to different cuisines and palates. Here are some fusion and ethnic variations of this dish:
  • Gourmet: You can add some gourmet ingredients like truffle oil, saffron, or porcini mushrooms to elevate the flavors of the dish.
  • Organic and Farm-to-table: You can use organic and locally sourced ingredients to make the dish healthier and more sustainable. This way, you will also support local farmers and businesses.
  • Fusion: You can add some non-traditional ingredients like tofu, quinoa, or avocado to create a fusion version of the dish. This way, you will add some international flavors to the dish while keeping its essence intact.
  • Ethnic: You can also add some ethnic ingredients like coconut milk, tamarind, or ghee to make the dish more authentic and flavorful. This way, you will explore the diverse and rich culinary heritage of India.
  • Bisi Bele Bath is a delicious, healthy, and versatile dish that has become a part of the cultural fabric of South India. Its unique blend of spices, vegetables, rice, and lentils makes it a comfort food that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you want to savor it as a dessert, snack, beverage, or paired with wine, beer, or cocktail, Bisi Bele Bath will never disappoint you. Its adaptability to different cuisines and palates makes it a dish that you can experiment with and explore endlessly. So, next time you crave a hearty and flavorful meal, give Bisi Bele Bath a try and experience the magic of South Indian cuisine.

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