Bisi (pronounced : be+see) bele (pronounced : bay+lay) bhath (pronounced : bath) is an old stalwart in the Bangalorean/Kannada kitchen. Simply put, it is a one pot dish consisting of rice, yellow lentils (split pigeon peas or toor dal), assorted vegetables and optional dollops of ghee/butter. It is one of those dishes that will always be dear to my heart and my taste buds and I’m very glad my husband loves it too. My version has red-skinned peanuts in it which my mum would absolutely shun but hey, it’s MY version.
The last time I made this dish was while I was on holiday and was busy playing with my then recently acquired Nokia D200. The result was a somewhat burnt spice mix (shhh), lots of not-so-great pictures (that caused the burning) but a delicious bisi bele bhath for a rather late lunch / early dinner. I have given you the recipe for the spice mix as well as the dish itself. Hope you will give it a go!
Bisi bele bhath with greek yoghurt on the side – It tastes better than in looks, I promise
Note: This recipe has a pronunciation section at the end for all underlined words in the text. If you find it useful (or not), let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of weeks ago, people all over India celebrated their new year. New year in March/April might sound weird but the Hindu calendar is a lunar calendar which means that it doesn’t coincide with the English calendar which is solar. The lunar calendar often means an exact date cannot be set each year so it varies each year. Whatever date it might fall on, the new year in India brings with it new clothes, new resolutions, more school holidays and lots of yummy food.
The Kannada New Year is called “Ugadi” and is celebrated all over my state of Karnataka (yes, each state also has a different day of celebration – don’t ask me why). Traditionally, this means lots of festive food including special desserts. Mum always calls to remind me what festival is on and I usually respond with “What do I cook for it?”. This time she said “Holige” and so I went ahead and made some.
Holige or Obbattu is a bread-based dessert. An authentic holige consists of dough made with a special flour called “chiroti rava” or super-fine semolina. This dough is stuffed with a mixture of fresh coconut, cardamom, jaggery (palm or unrefined sugar) and ground poppy seeds (“gasa gase” in Kannada and “khus-khus” in Hindi). The stuffed bread is rolled and cooked on a pan with a little bit of ghee or butter. Below is my attempt to make it with the ingredients I could find in my local supermarket.
Holige or pancake stuffed with coconut and palm sugar