Who would think that a handful of simple veggies, some cooked dal (lentils) and cooked rice along with a few spices, would actually make an exotic dish? Did I make it sound so blah though? Fret not, it won’t be anywhere near the zipcode of  blah when you have some piping hot Bisibelebath with fresh potato wafers on your plate. If you asked me, its the next best comfort food after Rasam rice and potato roast…yummm-max! Pair a BBB meal with a nice flick on your home theater and there, I just gave you the recipe to having a funtastic Sunday afternoon, and right at home.

Having lived in Karnataka, the land of Bisibelebath, all my life, BBB has become a regular one-pot meal in the household and I make it most often on lazy Sundays to help me laze around even more. Lazy me. But wait till you hear about what BBB does to the other lazy bum in the house. Who do you think? The husband of course. He simply hates stepping out to pick up trivial stuff if I need something urgently while I’m cooking (psst…while he says he hates it, I choose to call him plain lazy!), but when it comes to getting us some fresh potato wafers from the chips-wallah in the local market place, I’ll be seeing the tail lights of his car around the corner by the time I’m telling him – “I’m making bisibelebaa…”. Works like a charm. Every time. Men!


For BBB Masala powder:

  • Channa Dal (Kadalai paruppu/Kadale bele) – 1/2 cup
  • Urad Dal (Uzhthambaruppu/Uddina bele) – 1/4 cup
  • Selam Chillies (the hot variety) – 3-4 nos
  • Byadgi Chillies (the colouring variety) – 3-4 nos
  • Dhaniya seeds – 1/2 cup
  • Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds) – 2 tsps
  • Asafoetida/Hing – 1/2 tsp
  • Marathi Moggu – 2 pcs
  • Cinnamon/Dalchini – 2 sticks, medium-sized
  • Copra/Dry coconut – 1/4 shell, large-sized; grated
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp

For Bisibelebath:

  • Onions – 2 nos, julienned
  • Carrots – 2 nos, large-sized, cut into rings
  • Capsicum/Bell-pepper – 1 no, large-sized, diced
  • French Beans – a handful, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Shelled Green peas (optional) – 1 cup
  • Avarekalu (Machekotte/Hyacinth beans/Surti lilva papdi) (optional) – 1 cup
  • Thick Tamarind pulp – 1/2 cup
  • Rasam powder – 1 tbsp
  • Freshly ground BBB Masala powder – 1/2 cup
  • Rice – 3/4 cup
  • Toor dal – 3/4 cup
  • Oil – 2 tbsps


  1. Rice and Toor dal should always be in equal measures.
  2. Avoid veggies like potato, okra, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, colacasia, brinjal, turnips; they don’t do much for the BBB. Some people use even tomatoes in BBB, but I go ‘belch’ when I even think of it.

For the Tadka

  • Onion – 1 no, medium-sized; julienned
  • Curry leaves – 10-12 nos
  • Asafoetida/Hing – 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 2 tsps
  • Channa dal – 1 tbsp
  • Ghee – 3-4 tsps


For the BBB Masala powder:

  • Roast all the ingredients together except copra, till the dals turn golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  • Warm the grated copra slightly on the stove for 2 minutes without any oil and allow to cool a bit.
  • Grind the dal mixture with the warm copra in the mixer to form a dry powder and set aside.
Note: I normally prepare this powder as my veggies are cooking, so it saves me even more time.

For the Bisibelebath:

  • Pressure cook the rice and toor dal. Leave it in the cooker once done so it stays hot.
  • In a wok, sauté the julienned onions with the oil.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables, add water and allow the vegetables to get cooked . You could keep the wok covered to help the veggies get done sooner.
  • Add tamarind juice, salt, rasam powder, BBB masala powder and mix properly. Allow to boil about 5 minutes.
  • Mash the cooked toor dal.
  • Add the toor dal and rice to the wok (the toor dal and rice have to be hot while adding to the veggies so this is why I said you should leave it in the cooker once they’re done).
  • Mix well, and keep on a simmered flame and allow to season for a while, about 20-30 minutes. The seasoning is really important, or the BBB won’t be as potent as it should.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the tadka – heat the ghee in a pan. Add hing, mustard seeds, channa dal, curry leaves, julienned onions chopped into long pieces, and fry till the channa dal and onions turn golden brown.
  • Add the tadka to the BBB and give it a stir. Now you’re good to go. You can also add additional 2-3 tbsps ghee for that special taste 🙂

Either way, don’t forget to garnish the BBB on your plate with ghee. Serve hot with potato wafers. Some people like to have BBB with raitha or even boondhi. Take your pick. Whatever floats your boat, as long as you’re having that generous serving of BBB in front of you. Dig in and revel in the food coma.

Oh and just to make things clear, we had our BBB with potato wafers alright. Unfortunately, we enjoyed the combo so much that we finished the potato wafers within no time, so that left me with no choice but to take pics for you all with some boondhi. Too bad huh? Kindly adjust maadi (that is a phrase you will hear more than often in Karnataka, so what better time to say it than now?!! :P).


13 responses to “Bisibelebath

  1. Love bbb..and ur pics r making me drooooooool…looks mouthwatering..Yummo..

  2. Wat a comforting dish, my fav BBB…totally inviting and irresistible..

  3. Such a yummy comfort food. A perfect one pot meal with all the proteins, veggies and carbs. I love bisibelabath with appalam and pickle.

  4. I don’t BBB,am I still your friend??

    Love the pics and the write up..for me it is Upma,whenever I make upma I just have to say I am making upmaaa…and he is off to buy those crispy banana chips from the Kerala chips store nearby..*men*!!!

  5. BBB…that is one comfort bowl.. 🙂
    looks 2 eat it any time of d day

  6. Looks yum! i too hate tomatoes in BBB….

  7. I am not much of a BBB lover unless I eat it at weddings, temples etc. I hate what I make and this is possibly ‘cuz I used store-bought BBB paste (talk about total lethargy!!). Thanks for this one, too. Making things from scratch and being able to control how much of what you put will certainly affect the final result. And yes, need I say I hate tomatoes in BBB, too!! The next time I’m in the mood for BBB, I’m coming back here. May be, this weekend!

  8. I don’t need potato wafers to adjust maadi…this is more than perfect. Confession – i actually like mine too with even mixture. Your BBB is calling out my name loud and clear. And I’m going to respond soon.

  9. I have always had this dish at friends homes – never made it myself.. i have bookmarked it for when the craving strikes with no friends in sight 🙂

  10. Wow delicious dear,luks yummy…

  11. delicious flavours looks wonderful

  12. I love the little virtual (vector) kitchen you have in your blog’s header! Cute!

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