Bisi bele bath is a delicious pot meal made of rice, lentils, vegetables and a special spice blend. It is served for breakfast in Karnataka cuisine, but it’s a perfect dish to serve as a wholesome meal.
This no onion garlic dish is a much-loved signature dish from Karnataka. This nutritious and wholesome dish is not only a common breakfast in Karnataka cuisine but a most common dish preferred on special occasions, for lunch, picnics, travel meals or on a party menu. It is also a perfect for midweek dinner.
Traditional process of preparing a bisi bele bath is a lengthy process and involves slow cooking. Many people, specifically novice cooks, find the process daunting. But the efforts are worth it as the outcome is an incredibly delicious spicy dish.
First dal is cooked, then white rice and chopped vegetables are cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker. Later cooked rice, dal and cooked vegetables are combined with tamarind water, bisi bele bath spice mix and jaggery in a separate vessel and cooked. Finally, the south Indian spices, curry leaves and optional nuts and dry red chillies tempered in ghee are mixed.
However, it’s not always possible to spend so long in the kitchen. Especially when you are pressed for time, but craving this spicy dish. This instant pot bisi bele bath recipe comes in handy on busy days. The best part of this instant pot recipe is that it eliminates the multiple processes yet yields authentic taste with much less time and effort.
Bisi bele bath masala powder is a main ingredient and an integral part of this delicious dish. Fresh homemade bisi bele bath powder contributes to a flavourful and authentic taste. Having a batch of this aromatic spice blend comes in handy whenever you want to prepare a bisi bele bath. Use MTR bisibelebath masala for an authentic taste if you run out of homemade powder or don’t have enough time to make a batch.
What is bisi bele bath?
Bisi bele bath also known as bisi bele huliyanna is a spicy dish made of rice, toor dal, vegetables and a special spice powder. The term bisi bele bath is a Kannada language, and it translates to “hot lentil rice”.
The uniqueness of bisi bele bath is that it is a hearty and comforting, full meal packed with carbs, proteins, healthy fats and essential nutrients.
- Whole and Dry Spices: mustard, cumin, asafoetida and homemade bisi bele bath powder.
- Vegetables: tomato (missing in the above image), carrot, potato, green beans, frozen green peas, curry leaves and fresh coriander leaves.
- Rice and Lentils: I use sona masoori rice, but feel free to use any short grained rice. Toor dal is one of the key ingredients and the only lentil used to prepare bisi bele bath. It can't be either replaced with other lentils or skipped.
- Nuts and other Pantry Staples: jaggery powder to balance the taste of spicy bisi bele bath, salt, peanuts and tamarind extract.
Find the quantities and a short video in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step by Step Instructions
Wash rice and dal 3-4 times or until water runs clear. Soak them in sufficient water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Soak peanuts in sufficient water in a separate bowl.
Meanwhile, prep vegetables and gather all the required ingredients on the kitchen platform.
Press saute button, add oil and melt ghee in the inner steel pot.
Once the ghee melts, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, fry for half a minute and let them splutter.
Now add asafoetida, followed by curry leaves and stir.
Add vegetables, tomato, salt and mix well.
Cook them for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
While the vegetables are cooking, drain the water from the rice, toor dal and peanuts.
Add the soaked rice, dal, peanuts, tamarind extract, jaggery powder and homemade bisi bele bath powder and mix well.
Press the cancel button to turn the saute mode off.
Finally, add the water and coriander leaves and stir until everything is well combined.
Close the pot with the lid, move the steam release valve to sealing position.
Press the pressure cook/manual button, set the timer for 8 minutes at high pressure.
Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally (NPR = natural pressure release) for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, move the steam release valve to the vent to release the remaining pressure manually.
Once the pressure is released, the knob next to the steam release valve drops.
Now open the lid of the instant pot and stir well.
Enjoy the hot bisis bele bath with raita and chips or any side dish of your choice.
Substitutions and Variations
Brown rice could be used for a healthier version.
Rice: I use sona masoori but other short-grain rice varieties work as well. If you do not have these rice varieties, use basmati rice or easy cook rice and avoid a trip to the Indian grocery store.
Tamarind: I used pre-made tamarind pulp, you could use fresh tamarind or tamarind paste. Soak it in warm water and extract the pulp.
Bisi bele huli anna with potato chips or khara boondi is the classic combination.
Pair it with cucumber raita for a wholesome midweek meal.
Leftover bisibele bath keeps good for 2-3 days in the fridge if stored properly in an airtight container.
Tips and Tricks
Deglaze the pot before closing it with a lid to prevent a BURN message on display. Some instant pot models display burn even if a tiny piece of vegetable or spice sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Scaling: This one-pot rice and lentil recipe can be scaled up or down. To do so, increase /decrease the quantities of the key ingredients but set the timer same as the original recipe. Instant pot takes care of the rest of the process.
This recipe with the mentioned measurements is not intended to cook in a small 3 or 5-quart size instant pot. Scale the recipe down to cook for a small family.
Water: The water required to make bisibele bath is significantly higher than it would be for regular rice.
Consistency: Getting the right consistency is dependent on the rice to water ratio. This delicious rice and lentil dish requires a lot more water. The consistency is similar to ven pongal, dal khichdi and sweet pongal.
Rice-to-water ratio: The ratio also depends on the type of rice you use. I use a sona masoori that requires 1:4 (1 cup rice to 4 cups of water).
Vegetables: Use more or fewer vegetables as per your family's preference.
Leftover bisibele bath keeps good for 2-3 days in the fridge if stored properly in an airtight container.
Toor dal and rice have varied cooking times. Dal takes a longer time to turn soft and cook well than rice.
It’s challenging to get both cooked well together. The quality of water you use impacts cooking time.
Both rice and lentils cook well with soft water, however, that’s not the case with hard water. The hardness of the water is the key factor that affects cooking time.
If you set the timer to way too long, say 15 or 20 minutes, no doubt the dal cooks well. However, the rice turns mushy.
The consistency of bisi bele bath must be soft like khichdi, but the rice has to have a texture. With such high cooking time, rice turns like a paste with no texture.
The trick to overcome this issue is to soak Toor dal in hot water for at least 20 to 30 minutes. The longer the dal is soaked, the better!
No, not at all. Both are different dishes with different masala powder.
People use the terms bisi bele bath and sambar rice or sambar sadam, probably because most of the spices used in both these spice blends are similar with varying proportions.
Bisibelebath powder has a few ingredients that are not used in sambar powder, such as marathi moggu (kapok buds), poppy seeds and sesame seeds that give a distinct taste and unique flavour to bisibele bath.
A wide variety of vegetables used to prepare sambar, whereas for bisi bele bath typically a handful of vegetables such as carrot, green beans, potatoes and green peas are used. Some prefer to add green bell pepper.
The most common reason for not getting the right consistency is insufficient water.
A simple trick to fix this issue is to add more water. Add piping hot water steadily while stirring until you get the desired consistency.
Check the taste and add salt if necessary. Have hot water ready in the kettle before you open the pot, just in case!
With the instant pot method, a small amount of aroma might escape when the pressure releases. So some people may feel the aroma retained is not sufficient.
To overcome this issue, either temper a little more spices in extra ghee at the beginning to compensate for the lost aroma or temper a half teaspoon mustard seeds, half a teaspoon cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in ghee again separately at the end on the stovetop over medium heat and mix with the bisibele bath.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Do let me know if you make this traditional Karnataka style bisi bele bath recipe. If you like this recipe kindly consider rating it using stars in the comment section or on the recipe card to help more people find this recipe online. You can stay up to date by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribing to my Youtube channel. Or why not subscribe to my blog and get simple recipes straight to your inbox?
📖 Recipe Card
Instant Pot Bisi Bele Bath Recipe
- 1 Instant Pot
- Wooden Spoon
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- 468 gms (or) 2 Cups Rice
- 230 gms (or) 1 Cup Toor Dal
- 92 gms (or) ½ Cup Peanuts
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Ghee
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 10-12 Curry leaves
- ¼ Teaspoon Asafoetida
- 240 gms (or) 2 medium Potato washed, peeled and diced into cubes
- 220 gms (or) 2 big Carrot washed, peeled and diced into cubes
- 100 gms (or) 25 Green Beans washed and chopped
- 75 gms (or) ⅓ Cup Frozen Green Peas thawed
- 120 gms Tomato washed and chopped
- Salt as required
- 80 gms Homemade bisi bele bath powder
- 120 gms Tamarind pulp
- 30 gms Jaggery powder
- 10 cups Water
- Handful Fresh coriander leaves washed and chopped
- Wash rice and toor dal 3-4 times or until water runs clear. Soak them in sufficient water for 10 to 15 minutes.468 gms (or) 2 Cups Rice, 230 gms (or) 1 Cup Toor Dal
- Soak peanuts in sufficient water in a separate bowl92 gms (or) ½ Cup Peanuts
- Meanwhile, prep vegetables and gather all the required ingredients on the kitchen platform.240 gms (or) 2 medium Potato, 220 gms (or) 2 big Carrot, 100 gms (or) 25 Green Beans, 75 gms (or) ⅓ Cup Frozen Green Peas, 120 gms Tomato
- Press saute button, add oil and melt ghee in the inner steel pot.2 Tablespoons Oil, 2 Tablespoons Ghee
- Once the ghee melts, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, fry for half a minute and let them splutter.1 Teaspoon Mustard, 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- Now add asafoetida, followed by curry leaves and stir.10-12 Curry leaves, ¼ Teaspoon Asafoetida
- Add vegetables, tomato, salt and mix well.240 gms (or) 2 medium Potato, 220 gms (or) 2 big Carrot, 100 gms (or) 25 Green Beans, 75 gms (or) ⅓ Cup Frozen Green Peas, Salt, 120 gms Tomato
- Cook them for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- While the vegetables are cooking, drain the water from the rice, toor dal and peanuts.468 gms (or) 2 Cups Rice, 230 gms (or) 1 Cup Toor Dal, 92 gms (or) ½ Cup Peanuts
- Add the soaked rice, dal, peanuts, tamarind extract, jaggery powder and homemade bisi bele bath powder and mix well.468 gms (or) 2 Cups Rice, 230 gms (or) 1 Cup Toor Dal, 80 gms Homemade bisi bele bath powder, 120 gms Tamarind pulp, 30 gms Jaggery powder, 92 gms (or) ½ Cup Peanuts
- Press the cancel button to turn the saute mode off.
- Finally, add the water and coriander leaves and stir until everything is well combined.10 cups Water, Handful Fresh coriander leaves
- Close the pot with the lid, move the steam release valve to sealing position.
- Press the pressure cook/manual button, set the timer for 8 minutes at high pressure.
- Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally (NPR = natural pressure release) for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, move the steam release valve to the vent to release the remaining pressure manually.
- Once the pressure is released, the knob next to the steam release valve drops.
- Now open the lid of the instant pot and stir well.
- Enjoy the hot bisis bele bath with raita and chips or any side dish of your choice.