Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath is a meal-in-a-dish and I found a way to get a fairly decent version with cauliflower, I think. It’s my ode to the state that’s been home to me now for over twenty years.

You can make the spice mix from scratch by following the steps below if you have the time, or you can buy a packet of Bisi Bele Bath Mix from any supermarket and get on with it already. It’s unlikely that the ordinary person will know the difference.

Normally in Bisi Bele Bath, you should cook the rice and dal together in a pressure cooker, but cauliflower falls apart if you cook it too much. So you have to do cook the dal separately.

You’ll need
1. The rice:
500 gms parboiled cauliflower florets made into ‘Plain Rice’

2. The dry masala:
1 tsp methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 small stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
3 cardamoms
1 tsp poppyseeds
2 heaped tbsp fresh grated coconut

3. The dal:
3/4 cup toor dal

4. The rest:
2 tsp oil
4 tsp ghee
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Leaves from 2 stalks of fresh curry leaves
12 shallots, peeled and halved
1 tomato finely chopped
50 gms finely chopped, de-seeded capsicum
1 tsp sambar powder
1 tsp coriander
¼ tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida
50 gms each carrots & beans,
15 gms tamarind, soaked in about a cup of boiling water and set aside
Salt to taste

How to
1. The rice
Follow instructions for ‘Plain Rice’

2. The dry masala:
Dry roast all the ingredients and take them off the flame before the coconut burns. Cool and then grind into a coarse powder. Or buy the pre-packaged mix.

3. The dal:
Soak the dal in about two cups of water for ten minutes. Cook on a low fire till soft and mushy. Set aside.

4. The rest:
In a large pot, heat the oil and the ghee together. Add the mustard and cumin seeds stirring till they all pop. Add the curry leaves and the asafoetida, fry for a bit.
Now add the shallots and fry them till they’re brown but not burned. Add the squooshy veggies (the tomatoes and the capsicum) and fry for a bit.
Then add the sambar powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder, stirring and frying till the masala looks well incorporated and there’s no ‘raw’ smell.
You’re ready for the carrots and beans which you’ll fry till they wilt.
Now add enough water to bring the veggies to a boil, not too much. Cover and simmer for a while until the veggies are all well-cooked.
Add the soaked dal, the tamarind water and stir.
Now add the dry masala, stir again, adding salt.
Now add the ‘Cauliflower Rice’ and stir well.
This is this a ‘gooey’ dish, so this is your chance to add a little water, check for salt and so on.
You can add an extra teaspoon of ghee on top to give it that zing.

Serve with
Roasted peanuts. Personally, I like a little sour cream. Or
yogurt, provided it’s not too tart.

Carb count
500 gms of cauliflower contains 14 gms in net carbs
The veggies all add up to less than 10 gms in net carbs
The spices have none
That’s a total of 24 gms. You can feed between four hungry people with this recipe at 6 gms in carbs per serving

Whaddya say about that?