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Author Notes: This is the flagship rice dish from the Indian state of Karnataka. A piquant spicy blend of rice, legumes & an array of fresh vegetables, the Ultimate one pot dish ( well, almost!), I never use the same set of vegetables twice ( only because,i cant remember what I used the previous time!).
Given that rice & dal are the main ingredients in the dish, and the vegetables, being numerous, do not call for more than one of each type, A rough appraisal puts the cost around a dollar per serving. That combined with the inherent healthy tag, puts this dish in the category of absolute value for money. All you need is a side of crunchy greens for a satisfying dinner!
I adapted my variation from a recipe from a little known Indian book called Vegetarian delicacies by Padma Santhanaraman - Panfusine —Panfusine
Food52 Review: Panfusine’s Bisi Bela recipe yields a enticingly fragrant and comforting one-dish meal. Coconut adds a nice subtle sweetness to the roasted spices, and the sprouted mung beans add a really lovely, verdant taste and crunch. The pressure cooked rice and lentils (4 minutes on my watch) couldn’t be simpler, and the rest of the recipe comes together quickly and easily if you have your mise en place ready before you start. Consider dollops of this bisi bela, wrapped in crispy lettuce leaves, as a wonderful hand-held hors d’oeuvre at your next dinner party or gathering. - Jennifer Ann —Jennifer Ann
- 1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
- 2 inch cinnamon stick, broken up
- 1 tablespoon split dried garbanzo beans (chana dal)
- 1 tablespoon split dehusked urad dal
- 4-5 black peppercorns
- 3-4 cloves
- 1/3 cup frozen Fresh shredded coconut
- Water as needed
The rice dish
- 1 cup jasmine tai rice
- 1/2 cup dried pigeon peas (tuvar or arhar dal)
- 2-3 teaspoons tamarind extract (the lighter colored ones from the glass bottles, not the blackish plastic bottles (tamcon) labelled in yellow)
- 1 cup sprouted mung bean
- 1/2 cup split green pea (rehydrated) or frozen peas
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup peeled diced potatoes
- 5-6 scallions chopped green & white
- Any other vegetables you can think of (except slimy okra!)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Lime wedges
- Dry roast all the ingredients for the masala till golden & emitting an aroma. Remove & set aside. Do the same for the shredded coconut, toast till it turns a reddish brown hue.
- Combine & grind to a paste using as little water as needed
- Wash the rice & dried pigeon peas. Add ~ 3 cups water and cook till the pigeon peas are well cooked & mashed up. A pressure cooker is ideal for this. Set aside
- Heat the ghee in a large dutch oven pan, add the mustard, cloves & cinnamon, when the mustard seeds sputter, add the Curry leaves & give a stir.
- Add the sprouted mung beans and other vegetables & sautee till slightly soft. For the crunchier root vegetables You may microwave in adequate water till soft, drain & add to the other vegetables.
- Add the tamarind paste, turmeric and salt.
- cover and cook on a low flame (with a little water if needed) till the vegetables are done.
- Add the Masala paste and combine. Cover & cook for ~ 5 minutes.
- Add the Rice& lentil mixture, stir well, adding water if needed, lower the heat & let it simmer for 5-7 minutes till all the flavors combine.
- Remove from heat, & allow to rest. The rice will thicken up during this time, so don't fret if the mix is watery.
- ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro & lime juice & serve with a side of papad ( or potato chips), or a green salad.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner