Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Jihva for Toor Dal ~ Bisi Bele Huli Anna

Bisi Bele Huli Anna

They see each other everyday.

Unassuming and simple, darling daughter of lentil family – the golden Toor Dal.

The upright, some even call almighty – the proud and pristine Rice.

A hill of rice on a banana leaf, and a ladle full of dal next to it. Served and seated next to each other, the attraction between them was instantaneous and electric. It hasn’t escaped the wise hostess notice. The marriage was inevitable. Nourishing vegetables and sensual spices were added for a seductive liveliness. Under the sacred fire, they seized to be toor dal and rice, instead became Bisi Bele Huli Anna. “A match made in heaven, for good times and for hard times”, people praised the joyful union.

Bisi bele huli anna. Yes, all would be all right!

That was the “once upon a time” story for Bisi Bele Huli Anna, the famous south-Indian comfort food. Originated in Karnataka region of India, the rustic and rural Bisi bele huli anna with its uncomplicated, unfettered and fundamental recipe has many fans. From children to very elderly, many Bharatiya find delight in this humble food.

This week’s cold snap made Bisi bele hule anna a prudent choice for us. And, I remembered I had a jarful of Rosematta rice. The plump, terracotta colored rice from Kerala region absorbs flavors very well and I know that toor dal will be swooning in Rosematta company. My preparation started with fresh Bisi bele ground masala and cutting up the vegetables. We can add any number of vegetables and I went with gawar beans, red bell pepper, red onions, peas and carrots. The Bisi bele huli anna turned out to be a delightful meal. Long live Bisi Bele Huli Anna!

Rosematta Rice, Toor Dal, Vegetables and Bisi bele Masala
Rosematta Rice, Toor Dal, Vegetables and Bisi Bele Masala ~ for Bisi Bele Huli Anna


1 cup Rosematta rice
1 cup toor dal (Kandi Pappu)
3 cups cut vegetables (beans, carrots, peas and peppers etc)
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon jaggery
½ teaspoon each – turmeric and salt
2 tablespoons – Bisi bele masala (Homemade or store-bought)
Popu or tadka ingredients:
(12 Curry leaves, pinch each- cumin, mustard seeds and hing)

Take rice and toor dal in a wide pot. Add about 6 cups of water. Cook the dal and rice to very tender. Gently mix and mush them. I resorted to pressure-cooking, but back at home, they cook it for an hour or so on slow heat. Results in superb taste.

While the rice and dal are cooking, in another big vessel, heat a tablespoon ghee or oil. Add and toast the tadka ingredients (curry leaves, cumin, mustard seeds and hing).

To the tadka, add the cut vegetables and saute. When they start to get tender, add the tamarind pulp, jaggery, turmeric and salt. Also the cooked and mashed rosematta rice-toor dal mixture. Stir in the masala along with two cups of water. Combine well. Have a taste and adjust the spices to your liking. Cover the pot and simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes on medium-low heat.

Serve hot with a teaspoon of ghee drizzled and with papads.

Bisi Bele Bhath
Bisi Bele Huli Anna with Papad ~ My Jihva for Toor Dal and Our Meal Today

Recipe Notes:
Rosematta idea from My Chow Chow Bhath. Brown rice or brown basmati also works well for this recipe.
My recipe for Bisi bele masala:
5 dried red chillies, 1 tablespoon each- chana dal & coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon each -cloves, cinnamon, methi seeds and black peppercorn. Dry roast. Cool. Then take them in a Sumeet Mixer or blender. Add 2 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut and pinch of salt. Grind to fine consistency.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice),Rosematta Rice,Toor Dal (Tuesday November 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm- permalink)
Comments (38)

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38 comments for Jihva for Toor Dal ~ Bisi Bele Huli Anna »

  1. Looks sooo delicious:)!! I cant wait to try this recipe.

    Comment by Vandana — November 13, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

  2. Yay! I am the first to comment!! How excited am I!
    Well, as usual, Indira! I love the pictures! I look up at your site everyday…. just to see what is new! Do I have to say again that I love your site and simply adore you?

    I will try this recipe soon and let you know how it turned out!

    Comment by Madhu — November 13, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

  3. Good story on the marriage of the Lentil and Rice. Funny but appropriate:-)

    Comment by Madhuri.A — November 13, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  4. BBB looks perfect and ultimate dish to do with toordal.Very Nice entry.

    Comment by Madhu — November 13, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Indira, I am amazed at all the things you cook with our(not anymore, I guess) rosematta rice. We only know to boil it until soft, and serve it plain with other accompaniments. You are doing wonders ever since you adopted rosematta. You even conducted a wedding, I see! 😀

    RP: a wedding for rosematta, that’s funny. 🙂

    Comment by RP — November 13, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  6. Thanks for the posting the recipe of one of the most popular dishes of Karnataka. I regularly make bisibele baath, as it is such a simple recipe if you already have the bisibele baath powder!

    Comment by Kumudha — November 13, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  7. i love bisibelabath, but dear hubby doesnt like it,, hmm havent had this for so long.., im drooling now!

    Comment by kalva — November 13, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  8. loved the write-up indira..i read the whole thing with a wide smile!!..

    Comment by Rajitha — November 13, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  9. Hi Indira, thank you so much for this lovely recipe for JFI. I found some red rice a while ago, so am anxious to try this. The story and the dish both are beautiful! 🙂

    Comment by Linda — November 13, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

  10. Hi Indira,
    I was just thinking yesterday that it would be good if u have the recipe for this:)///

    Do u think you have time to post bisi bela bhath powder (homemade)…I would really appreciate.Pl let me know.


    Comment by madhuri.V — November 13, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  11. Bisi Bele Baath is a classic toor dal dish Indira and it looks delish…:)

    Comment by Siri — November 13, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  12. and love the lovestory of of dal and rice..:)

    Comment by Siri — November 13, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  13. Indira gaaru,

    Bisi Bele Bath is mouth watering, since my husband from Bellary he like this very much. So, i will prepare monthly once. I used MTR but now its not available in Doha.

    But u r home made powder will help me.

    Thnx & Rgds,

    Comment by Vijaya — November 13, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  14. Excellent Indira! The writing was simply superb and I enjoyed each word of it! I love this dish because of its nutrition value and a wholesomeness it renders! I have tried it with MTR Bisi bele bath masala abut yours looks simple and doable at home. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Comment by Nirmala — November 13, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  15. I love bisi bele huli anna and so does my husband, so this is just the inspiration I needed to make this dish this week.

    Your story was a nice accompaniment to this comfort food, not to mention your brilliant pics. Thanks so much for that morning dose of freshness!

    Comment by Miri — November 13, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

  16. Indira-
    Bisibele is my all time fav, and though I believe in making fresh meals, when it comes to this one, I make enough to keep me going for three days – I make this for most of my non-South Indian friends when they come home and everyone just loves it…I learnt it from a Blogger – Anna Saru Paalya and her recipe turns out perfect each time 🙂
    Love you dal-rice marriage description 🙂

    Comment by Nandita — November 14, 2007 @ 4:14 am

  17. A perfect description of bisi bele bath 😛

    Comment by Chithrupa — November 14, 2007 @ 6:58 am

  18. Lovely pics and presentation Indira. Is toor dhal the ingredient for next month’s JFI?

    Comment by Rina — November 14, 2007 @ 8:01 am

  19. Looks delicious… Never tried with rosematta rice… Will try this recipe….

    Comment by anusriram — November 14, 2007 @ 11:21 am

  20. some new with rosematta rice …have never tried it …looks very yummy

    Comment by Deepa — November 14, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  21. It looks so yummy!! I love the write-up!! Great job as usual!

    Comment by Sudha — November 14, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  22. hi indira,
    I just noticed that u did mention the powder from the scratch…Sorry..I m gonna try it soon.:)


    Comment by madhuri.V — November 14, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  23. Hi Indira,

    I visit your website regularly (sometimes several times in a day!) and admire your work. I am one of those anonymous readers who seldom comment but are always grateful for the advice you offer about wholesome cooking. You have inspired me to start a food blog and it is on my to-do list as soon as I am done with my thesis.

    You must be wondering as to why I decided to comment this particular time. The answer is that I want to request you to please peruse this website: and possibly link to it in one of your future posts. The incentive that freerice offers is not earth-shattering but it is something…

    You make me a happy net-surfer 🙂 Thanks!

    Comment by Sonia — November 14, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  24. Hi Indira,
    I tried this recipe last night substituting brown rice for the red and the veggies I used were carrots, green beans and tomatoes. I really loved the dish, being from Hyderabad Southie food is my weakness after Hyderabadi food. Thank you for a fond trip down memory lane!

    Comment by Fatima — November 15, 2007 @ 10:44 am

  25. Lovely recipe, and picture looks soo delecious and with papad yumm!

    Comment by sagari — November 15, 2007 @ 11:52 am

  26. Hi…
    Ur recipe site is really very nice.. pictures r superb..
    I tried Pumpkin halwa it came out good..
    Thank for d recipe an comment.. :)…
    Happy Deepavali..!!

    Comment by Archana — November 15, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  27. Looks delectable Indira. I love rosematta rice but does it get mashed well enough for bisi bele baath? Mine usually turn out quite chewy (which I love) when I pressure cook it.

    Comment by Laavanya — November 15, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  28. Thank you all for your lovely comments, they are like “akshintalu/talambaraalu” for Bise bele huli anna, I feel. So sweet of you all to cheer this beautiful duo. 🙂

    Linda: Thanks very much for hosting this month’s Jihva and featuring Toor dal. You will be seeing many more from me with toor dal.:) I love toor dal very much.

    Sonia: Thank you for your good words, and also for the lovely link. I played few hours yesterday night, very addictive.:) I’ve also placed the banner on sidebar.
    All the best with your thesis!

    It’s nice to hear from you again Fatima. Hope all is well, and I am glad that the recipe worked out for you.

    I kept the rice-dal combo till 3 whistles and they came out very soft, Laavanya. It was surprising to see. I guess Rosematta bowed down to charms of toor dal and water.:)

    Comment by Indira — November 15, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

  29. Hi Indira, I tried your besi bele bath recipe and it turned out great! thanks for posting your recipe!

    Comment by Nandini — November 15, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  30. Just the words I was hoping to hear, Indira, as I stand quietly in the wings, calling “encore, encore”!! 🙂

    Comment by Linda — November 15, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

  31. I’ve never had Bisi Bele Bhat, but I really love the way you have narrated the whole story & the preparation looks mouth watering. I love it & want to have it right now.

    Comment by Shella — November 15, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

  32. Hello Indira Gaaru,
    First of all hatsoff for your enthusiasm to post recipes with great pictures, they are really really AWESOME. Havent seen a website like this in a while…i like your style of not to rename/alter the dishes(and vegetables) names. I tried bisibelebath–it turned out to be awesome, i just missed jaggery(i din have it at home), everything else i followed as it is. Awesome masala recipe. I also made your “Kottimeera pacchadi” it was awesome too, i too made it for our today’s breakfast-Utappam :-). Its refreshing to see somebody devoting so much time for Vegeterian dishes. Thanks a lot for posting all these with so much passion, please keep doing it(as long as its practical to you). Hatsoff again!!!!

    That’s great to read and I am glad that recipes worked out for you.
    Thanks Mallik.
    – Indira

    Comment by Mallik — November 18, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  33. Indira,

    I know this is really lazy of me – but if one finds it tedious to make the bisi bele masala separately, will sambar powder work in a pinch? Or is the taste totally spoilt?

    I am dying to try this one out though…I’ve only eaten it at darshinis here in Bangalore..


    Hi Apu,
    You know what, I also sometimes make bise bele masala with sambar powder.:) It turns out fine.
    Also, I believe that rice plays major role in bisi bele bhath taste. Unpolished variety (brown or rosematta rice) brings a lot of flavor to the preparation. Please try it like that.
    Bisi bele huli anna blessings to you. 🙂
    – Indira

    Comment by apu — November 18, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  34. Indira,

    The BBBath as we call it in Bangalore looks very delicious. We make this almost every weekend at home back in bangalore and for every single marriage reception too.

    Since I have been making this for many years, just thought of sharing a quick trick incase you dont have the authentic BBBath masala powder. You can use the regular sambhar powder, along with it add a tsp of fresh ground cinnamon powder and 1/4tsp nutmeg. This makes a ton of difference in flavour..
    This is my upcoming recipe in my blog you are free to check out..

    I am a very very new blogger and I wish all the bloggers a very happy holidays!!Great job guys in keeping the spirit of cooking so lively…

    Hello Paru,
    Thanks for the neat tip. I will definitely follow.
    Congratulations on your new blog, I’ve already bookmarked several recipes to try from your blog. Great work, Keep it up!
    Happy Holidays!
    – Indira

    Comment by Paru( — December 12, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  35. Wow, this is on my to do list for a long time. but the recipe I have is a bit complicated so i have always postponed making this yummy dish. I am absolutely going to try your recipe. It is wonderful just like many others.

    Comment by Meera — December 16, 2007 @ 1:08 am

  36. Hi Indira,
    I have tried this many a times and it has turned out well every time.many many thanks to you.


    Comment by shalini — January 27, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  37. Hi Indira,
    i never saw bisi bele huli anna before let alone taste it. but yes, heard abt it. but my husband had it before lot of times at friends’ homes so he was very fond of it. after many requests made by him, i searched for the recipe on internet, found one and made it. well, you shud look at my husband’s face when he saw the dish! wat a disappointment for him. next day i searched again for the recipe on internet and chanced upon urs. well, now u shud see my face when i saw the picture of this wonderful recipe! no more words from me. thankyou… thankyou… thankyou…. you are really wonderful and thoughtful of taking pictures of even popular and age-old recipes! good for new cooks like me who only know how to cook rice!

    Comment by sailaja — February 15, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  38. Hi Indira,

    Your website was n is very helpful to me since my wedding( especially being far from from home country) whenever I want to try our traditional dishes, the one sure thing I do is to check your website. It is so great that you cover almost all dishes of all regions in India.

    Thank you so much.

    Comment by sri — February 29, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

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