Bisibelebhath recipe | How to make Karnataka Bisibelebhaat

  • Servings : 4-5
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 10m
  • Ready In : 25m

Would you believe if I told you that a bowlful of cooked rice, dal and vegetables would soothe your winter blues away? You doubt me?

Well this recipe of Bisibelebhat will make you redefine blues.

Bisibele bhat- the pride of Karnataka quite literally means Hot Dal Rice- sounds like Khichdi doesn’t it? BORING. Just a glorified khichdi, you say?

But wait, listen to the whole story, you can’t run away after just hearing the plot. You don’t know who the main stars are.. hold on.

So, I was introduced to this famous dish of Karnataka, while still in Mumbai. When we worked on Saturdays, my dear friend Michele would head straight to Kamaths ( a very popular food chain) to eat her favourite Bisibelebhath.. Then I didn’t even know what it meant. Of course, she told me. I tried it one day and I was a total convert.

After that life brought me to Bangalore for a good 6 years.

And in those years, I have had my fair share of BIsibelebhath- a million versions of it. The fun thing is, every house makes it- but none tastes the same.

Brahmins pride on using no onion-garlic, whereas the non-brahmins swear that it adds to the taste.

I’ve tasted it all.

And today, I bring to you my own favourite version.

I’m sure you’ll like it.

Ingredients for the Bisibele bhaat powder

Red chillies- 4

Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp

Mustard- 1/2 tsp

Cinnamon- 1 inch

Cloves- 3-4

Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp

Chana dal- 1 tbsp

Urad dal- 1 tbsp

Hing ( asafoetida)- 1 pinch

Coconut, freshly- sliced- 1/4 cup

Ingredients  for the Bisibele bhaat

Rice- 1 cup

Mixed vegetables, diced- 2 cups

Toor dal- 1 cup

Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

Salt- to taste

Tamarind paste- 1 – 2 tsp, according to taste

Water- 5 cups

Ingredients for the Tempering

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Curry leaves- 10-15

Cashewnuts- 2 tsp

Ghee- 1 tsp


Method for the Bisibele bhaat powder

All these ingredients need to be dry roasted.

So heat a pan. Add in the red chillies, cumin, hing, mustard seeds and fry. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in the coriander seeds. Fry for a bit.

Then add urad and chana dals. Fry well. Add in the freshly sliced/ grated coconut . Fry till dry.

Pop into a dry blender and powder. Keep aside.

Method for the Bisibele bhaat

Wash rice and dal in several changes of water till the water runs clear. Keep aside.

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Chop all the vegetables to a small size.

In a large pan, add all the vegetables. Add turmeric. Fry well. Add in the washed rice and dal. Add 5 cups of water and cook in the same pan or pressure cook till the rice is completely cooked and the dal is soft and mushy.

Now add in the tamarind paste and the powdered masala. Adjust the salt.


Heat a small pan/ kadhai.


Heat ghee, add in the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add in the hing and the cashewnuts, when slightly brown, pour over the Bisi Bele bhaat-


Serve piping hot, with boondi or some Farsan/ Bombay mix on top.



1. The best rice to use for this is not Basmati, because it tends to keep its shape. I’d say Sona Masoori is good or any small grained rice that you prefer. But in the absence of those options, go ahead use Basmati.

2. This recipe can be easily made by using Sambhar powder or Vangi bhaat powder, a tip that I learnt from my friend Varsha, at the office. She was a master at shortcuts.

3. It is better to add more than less water for this recipe, because it needs to be cooked for long. It the mixture turns too dry, you will know what went wrong.

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