Bisi-bele-bhaath: A guest post by Vijitha of ‘spicesnaroma’

This post has been long over due…it was suppose to get published by Diwali which was in October just before Halloween. But things were so crazy while I was visiting India that I just did not get to post it. So first of all I really apologize Vijitha for not posting it on time and I am truly thankful for you sharing your delicious n comfy recipe on ZaikaZabardast.

I have known Vijitha through her blog “spicesnaroma”. She has such a wonderful eye for photography as well as her traditional Indian recipes are just mouth – watering. What amazes me the most about this girl is that although she has a year old kid, she manages to blog about her passion…isn’t that great?? Professionally she is a molecular biologist and she is also a freelance writer. Vijitha, you rock girl..truly amazing. Hats off to you. Oh and by the way do not forget to check out her Pathirpeni recipe and her foodbuzz 24×24 feature! Truly amazing!

I am really happy to have you sharing your recipe and hosting my very first guest post on this blog.

By the way have you entered the giveaway  that is sponsored by “Eversave” yet? Today is the last day to enter it and $15 voucher can buy you a Spa/nice dinner/yoga class or anything that they are offering on their website. And they are giving away 2 of $15 each of “Eversave save rewards”! Sounds like a good deal…Enter it today because today is the last day…Announcing the winners tomorrow. Here’s the link…

Or else, continue with the post…

For my today’s post she has made this yummy but so comfy Bisi-bele-bhaath which is just perfect for this chilly weather. Again thank you. Now I am handing it over to Vijitha of ‘Spicesnaroma‘.


Thanks Grishma for having me over to your space. Grishma and myself have known eachother for little more than 5 months through our respective blogs and facebook chats. I love her blog and best thing about it are her unique recipes. I especially love the ice cream flavor she comes up with. She is simple, friendly and down to earth, that’s what I like in friends, that makes it easier for others to reach up and talk to them. One such gem of a person is Grishma.  Thanks sweety for all the love and friendship.

My love for S periamma (mom’s elder sister) keeps increasing everytime I visit her. She is a warm, compassionate and a patient woman who takes each day at a time in her life. She is just like my mom, has no unrealistic dreams and lives for her family.  She lives about 20 minutes from my place, in a two storey independent home about couple of streets away from Raghavendra mandapam (wedding center) in Kodampakkam, Chennai. She had been living there for more than two decades with her husband and her kids who are now married and have kids of their own. A day before my trip to UK, she arrived home to give few packets of her spice powders. They were organic and home cooked. Those packets weren’t filled with just the aroma of the spices but with her indefinite love for me. I left for my masters and everytime I scooped out a teaspoon of her magical powder to make sambhar or rasam or any curry, I would be reminded of her serene face that glows with the shade of turmeric, the huge red dot on her forehead, glittering diamond nose stud, her crooked teeth that always smiled at me. I would ask about her during my weekly calls with amma. I returned home after two years and I visited her for lunch as that was the routine back home, visiting family for lunch/dinner after one comes back from years long trips abroad. I knocked at her door. A thin body clad in soft cotton saree with few pleats pulled up and tucked in her waist stood as the doors were opened. Her eyes closed in happiness and her smiles went for miles and her head went up-down-up-down in excitement and kept welcoming me over and over again. I saw more wrinkles around her eyes, they were puffed a bit too. I felt she has grown old real quick. I looked at my mom. Yes, even she has grown old. They were best buddy sisters and they do everything similar since childhood. Except that my amma is lot chubbier than my aunt, for everything else they were one.

The house smelt of the delicious food that was getting cooked in the kitchen.Infact I already knew the menu from the smell and also from knowing my aunt.She would make her signature dish – bisi-bele bhaath, then cumin scented taro curry, peppery rasam, cool cucumber raita served with her homemade spicy mango pickle and store bought potato chips and for dessert it would be payasam. The day would end with loud laughters, reliving their childhood memories and creating fresh memories for our lifetime.

Since Grishma is a vegetarian and since I was reminded of my aunt, I am sharing her bisibele bath recipe. It’s a South Indian rice based meal cooked with equal portions of rice, lentils and vegetables cooked in an exotic spice blend. Bisi-bele-bhaath translates to hot-lentil-rice in Kannada, A South Indian language. Here is the recipe for it.

"Daahl, Rice and Cilantro"

Serves 4


  • 1 cup raw rice – cleaned and washed
  • 1 cup toor dal – cleaned and washed
  • 2 cups vegetable medley – cubed (onions, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, peas, beans)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 9 cups Water
  • ¼ cup cilantro for garnish

For the masala

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 6 dry red chilly – whole
  • 2 tablespoon coriander Seeds
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2-3 cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon channa dhal

For the tempering

  • 4-5 Tbsp sesame /gingelly oil
  • 2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • 2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves – about 10-12
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder


  1. In a little bit of heated oil, fry the masala ingredients, except for the coconut. Grind all of the masala ingredients to a coarse powder. Keep aside.
  2. In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Once they are hot, add the ingredients for the tempering. Add the mixed vegetables and fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the rice and dal and fry for a few more seconds. Now put in ground masala, water, tamarind and salt to taste. Cook in the pressure cooker for 8 whistles.
  4. Remove once the steam has settled down. Open and stir well to combine. Drizzle about 2 teaspoon sesame oil and garnish with cilantro. Serve steaming hot with chips, pickle and raita.

"Tangy Pickle"

"Perfect comfy dinner"