Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Powerpacked One-Pot Dish

Bisibelebath, a word too familiar with true Bangaloreans :) A wholesome one pot dish packed with protein (toor dal), nutrients (veggies) and carbohydrate (rice) + mighty comforting! Eaten hot with crisp tangy boondi* and raita or pachhadi*. I turned to this simple yet filling combo for dinner when we had friends over the other day. Teamed with crisp masala vades*, cucumber pachhadi, some cooling yogurt rice and (very) sweet semiya payasam*, it made for a satisfying menu, or so our guests implied :)

I'm posting the recipes for bisibelebath and cucumber pachhadi -

Bisibelebath -
  • 1 cup rice (washed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup toor dal (washed and drained)
  • 2 cups mixed veggies - cubed - I had carrot, potato, green beans, peas and avarekalu (hyacinth beans)
  • 2-3 tbspns bisibelebath powder (store bought or made from scratch) - I used MTR ready powder
  • 1 tspn tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tspn jaggery - crushed (molasses)
  • salt to taste
For tempering -
  • 1 tbspn ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  • 1/4 tspn mustard seeds
  • a pinch of hing (asafotieda)
  • a handful of curry leaves
  • a handful of peanuts
  • a pinch of turmeric
Method -

You could quite easily follow the recipe on the MTR packet. Nevertheless -
  • Cook rice and dal together. (I used a pressure cooker)
  • Cook veggies separately (I cooked them in the microwave)
  • Combine cooked rice+dal and veggies in a big sauce pot. Add enough water to bring to a semi solid consistency, like that of a thick porridge.
  • Add all other ingredients, one by one and mix well. Bring to a light simmer.
  • Heat ghee/oil in a small pan and all ingredients for tempering.
  • Pour over the simmering bisibelebath and mix well.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of ghee, boondi or potato chips and pachhadi.
Note: This dish tends to solidify and turn lumpy when left to cool. Before serving, add a wee bit of warm water and reheat, making sure the consistency is that of a thick porridge.

Cucumber Pachhadi -
  • 2 medium cucumbers - finely chopped or grated
  • 2-3 cups yogurt or buttermilk
  • salt to taste
grind to a paste-
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 tspn jeera (whole cumin)
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 tbspns fresh coriander - chopped
tempering -
  • 1 tspn oil
  • 1-2 dry red chillies, roughly broken into chunks
  • 1/4 tspn mustard seeds
  • a pinch of hing (asafotieda)
  • a few curry leaves
Method -
  • Tip in finely chopped cucumber into a large bowl.
  • Combine coconut paste and yogurt and add to chopped cucumber.
  • Add salt to taste and mix well. Adjust consistency by adding some water if the yogurt is thick. The consistency of pachhadi should be fairly loose.
  • Heat oil in a small pan and add all ingredients for tempering.
  • Pour tempering over the pachhadi and mix well.
Bisibelebath or BBB as some people fondly call it, is a signature dish from Karnataka. Try it and you're sure to enjoy its homely, wholesome taste :)

*boondi = a crisp tangy Indian savoury made from chickpea flour
*pachhadi = a yogurt based runny salad of sorts
*masala vades = crisp spicy lentil fritters (recipe here)
*semiya payasam = a sweet porridge made from milk, sugar and vermicelli

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soulful Comfort Food

It was a cold, morbid afternoon. I wasn't in my happy place. Outside, the wind howled adding to my downcast mood. It seemed like the sun wasn't  very upbeat either 'cos he was hiding behind the dark, gloomy clouds. Nothing around me suggested cheer. Yet I had to eat...somehow I believed that I would feel better if I ate. I longed for my mom's tomato saaru and aloo fry, sigh! With that soothing picture in mind, I went about making lunch. Nothing fancy, just some really simple food. Some call it khichdi, some others may call it something else. But to me, it was a mood-lifter of sorts. 'Shhh' said the pressure cooker, three to four times and it was as if it was saying, 'hush now, everything's going to be alright'...My house smelt of jeera, ghee and hing...familiar smells of home. Now that's what I call soulful comfort food!

  • 1 cup rice (washed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup toor dal (washed and drained)
  • 2 tbspns ghee
  • 1 tspn whole cumin (jeera)
  • 1/4 tspn hing (asafotieda)
  • 2-3 fresh green chillies, slit
  • a handful of curry leaves
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tspn ground turmeric
  • a few peppercorns
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 cup avarekai - now I don't know what this is called in English. I used the frozen ones and on the packet it said Lima Beans & Tuvar Lilva (see picture)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • whole garam masala - cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and cardamom pods (optional)
  • salt to taste
Method -
  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add whole cumin, hing, pepper corns, curry leaves, green chillies, garlic and turmeric, one after the other. (If you're including whole garam masala, add at this stage.) Your kitchen should smell really good right now :)
  • Toss in chopped onion and saute for a bit.
  • Now add in rice and dal and mix well. This mixture needs to kind of fry for a couple of minutes. Give it some time until the rice turns opaque. But make sure the flame is sort of medium low as we don't want anything to burn. This is kind of an important step if you don't want everything to turn into a mush in the end.
  • Next, in go the cubed potatoes and avarekai.
  • A quick mix and it's time to add water. Now normally, we'd follow the 1:2 ratio for rice. But this needs to have a porridge like consistency. So go ahead and add about two or three cups more than you normally would. For this recipe, add about six cups of water.
  • Sprinkle salt for taste and give everything a good stir.
  • With the cooker weight on, let this cook for about three to four whistles.
  • Serve hot with pickle, more ghee and papadums.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you could probably make it in a biggish pot with a lid or you could use the microwave. Cooking times may vary.


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