Bisi bele bath powder is an essential spice blend used to make the authentic Karnataka dish Bisi bele bath.
Bisi bele bath also called bisi bele huliyanna is a one-pot meal made with rice, toor dal, vegetables, tamarind extract and this spice powder. A hot bowl of this comforting dish is a full meal. It is perfect to serve with potato chips, khara boondi and raita. This classic dish is most preferred to pack for a picnic, road trip or to feed a crowd at a party.
Bisi bele bath is a Kannada language word that translates to “hot lentil rice”. Bisi bele bath masala powder is the key ingredient of this much-loved dish from the state of Karnataka.
Although every household has its own version of this spice mix, the main ingredients remain the same but the proportion of ingredients varies. Use this spice mix to get the most delicious bisi bele bath as tasty as MTR restaurants in Bengaluru. Make a batch of this unique spice power that comes in handy whenever you want to make a traditional bisi bele bath.
Traditionally, to cook bisi bele bath, first rice and dal are cooked in a pressure cooker, in a separate vessel cooked rice and dal are combined with vegetables such as carrot, potato, french beans, optional bell peppers and green peas, bisi bele bath powder, jaggery, tamarind water, salt, a few cups of water and slow-cooked. Finally, whole spices, curry leaves are tempered in a generous amount of ghee and mixed with bisi bele bath.
The instant pot comes in handy to cook the simplified version of bisi bele bath recipe without losing its authentic taste but with minimal effort and time.
Key spices to make authentic bisi bele bath powder
Marathi moggu (buds of the kapok tree also called kapok buds) is an important ingredient in bisi bele bath powder recipe. Cassia bark(dalchini), coriander seeds and cumin seeds are a few of the main ingredients used in most Indian spice blends. Whole coriander seeds have a slightly citrus flavour with notes of sweetness. Cumin enhances the flavour of spice blends, it lends earthy and spicy sweet flavour to the spice mixes.
Each spice has its own aroma and adds its own character and burst of flavours that elevates the taste and aroma of bisi bele bath. All these spices are mostly available in an Indian grocery store. If you cannot get marathi moggu in stores then order online. But do not skip it as it is the secret spice that provides the authentic taste.
Coriander seeds: 5 tsp
Chana dal: 3 tsp
Urad dal: 2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Black peppercorns: ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds: ¼ tsp
Curry leaves: 12 -14
Cassia bark (dalchini): 1 inch
Sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Poppy seeds: 2 tsp
Desiccated coconut: 2 tsp
Asafoetida: 1 tsp
Byadigi Red chillies: 10 -12
How to make bisi bele bath powder?
In a frying pan, over medium low flame, dry roast coriander seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, chana dal and black peppercorn until fragrant.
Transfer them to a plate and let them cool completely.
Now in the same pan roast sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and poppy seeds until fragrant and the coconut turns light brown colour. Transfer them to a plate.
In the same pan roast cardamom, marati moggu, cinnamon, cloves until fragrant and transfer them to a plate.
Dry roast byadgi chillies until they are just warm and release a pungent aroma. Put these dry red chillies on a plate.
Finally, dry roast curry leaves and put them on a plate.
Once the roasted spices cool down, transfer them to a blender and grind them to a fine powder.
Store homemade bisi bele bath powder in a clean and dry airtight container.
Store this homemade bisi bele bath powder in an airtight container in the kitchen cupboard or pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
This homemade powder remains fresh for 3 months when stored at room temperature in a cool and dry place, later it loses its aroma gradually.
Consider glass jars with tight lids to store bisibelebath powder.
Variations and Substitutions
Unsweetened desiccated coconut could be replaced with coconut chips or dry coconut.
I have used byadgi chillies to impart a bright red colour to the spice blend. It has a very less heat level. You could use the combination of byadgi chillies and guntur chilies for heat factor and reduce the number of peppercorns.
Tips and Tricks
Dry roast whole spices on low flame to avoid the risk of burning them.
Use fresh high-quality whole spices rather than the old spices that could be losing their potency and aroma.
Make a small batch of bisi bele bath powder and store it properly in an airtight container to retain the freshness of the spice powder.
Whole spices typically do not expire. Unlike fresh produce, nuts, seeds or milk, spices don’t go bad or rotten but lose their potency and flavour over time. The expiry date on the package would only mean the spices lose their potency past prime time. In other words, too-old spices are not aromatic and cannot provide flavour boost and vibrant colour to the dishes.
Storing whole spices in an airtight container keeps their aromatic oils for a longer time. Thus preventing them from losing their flavour.
Store spice blends in a glass jar with tight lids. Keep them away from the heat and in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. The kitchen cupboard, pantry, or drawer is the best place to store ground spices.
Consider storing spice powder in the fridge/freezer to extend its shelf life. Ensure to seal the ziplock or close the container lid tightly to prevent moisture trapping inside.
More Homemade Spice Powders
📖 Recipe Card
Bisi Bele Bath Powder
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- 5 Teaspoons Coriander seeds
- 3 Teaspoons Chana dal
- 2 Teaspoons Urad dal
- 1 Teaspoons Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
- 4 Cloves
- 1 inch Cassia (dalchini)
- 3 Green cardamom
- 3 Marathi moggu
- 1 Teaspoon Sesame seeds
- 2 Teaspoons Poppy seeds
- 2 Teaspoons Desiccated coconut
- 12-14 Curry leaves
- 10-12 Byadgi red chillies
- On medium heat, dry roast coriander seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, chana dal and black peppercorn until fragrant.Transfer them to a plate and let them cool.5 Teaspoons Coriander seeds, 3 Teaspoons Chana dal, 2 Teaspoons Urad dal, 1 Teaspoons Cumin, ¼ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds, ½ Teaspoon Black pepper
- Now in the same pan roast sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and poppy seeds until fragrant and coconut turn light brown colour. Transfer them to a plate.1 Teaspoon Sesame seeds, 2 Teaspoons Desiccated coconut, 2 Teaspoons Poppy seeds
- In the same pan roast cardamom, marathi moggu, cassia, cloves until fragrant and transfer them into a plate.4 Cloves, 1 inch Cassia (dalchini), 3 Green cardamom, 3 Marathi moggu
- Dry roast red chillies until they are just warm and release pungent aroma. keep these chillies in a plate.10-12 Byadgi red chillies
- Finally dry roast curry leaves and keep them in a plate.12-14 Curry leaves
- Allow the spices to cool down, add asafoetida and roasted spices in a blender and blend them to a fine powder.
- Store bisi bele bath powder in a clean and dry container.
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