Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bisibelebath ( Rice,lentils and vegetables cooked together and seasoned with spices in a tamarind sauce); Diabetes Friendly Thursday.

Bisibelebath is a traditional dish of the state of Karnataka in India. It is similar to the khichidi that is popular in the northern states of India and Pongal of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Basically these are all one-pot meal in which  dal( lentil), rice and vegetables are cooked together and then tempered with some kind of seasoning. Each region/State has it's own variation with varying amounts of lentils, kind of lentil used, the presence or absence of vegetables, the kind of vegetable used and most importantly the kind of spices used in tempering. All this gives each of these dishes it's own unique taste and therefore an unique identity.In bisibelebath, split pigeon peas or toor dal is used in conjunction with rice and a variety of vegetables. Usually, vegetables that are leftover in the fridge and are not enough to make a simple dish are used for this. Any kind of vegetable can be used. The cooked mixture of lentil, rice and vegetables is then seasoned with tamarind pulp, spice mixture and peanuts. It is traditionally served with a dollop of ghee ( clarified butter) on top.

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This week the diabetes friendly Thursday team is going easy and cooking a one-pot meal for you. Bisibelebath is my contribution for those days when you are seeking comfort food but don't want to do a lot of chopping or dish washing. Cook this meal and serve it piping hot! I have made this dish diabetes-friendly by making a few alterations in the traditional recipe. Traditionally, for bisibelebath toor dal and rice is use in the proportion of 1:2. I have altered this ratio to 1:1 thereby reducing the amount of carbohydrate consumed and at the same time increasing the protein content of the meal. Rice has a higher glycemic index as compared to lentils. I have used parboiled basmati rice instead of the regular white rice or the regular basmati rice as again parboiled rice and parboiled basmati rice in particular has the lowest glycemic index among rices.  I have also loaded the dish with a lot of vegetables thereby making it even healthier and balanced. I have used coconut oil instead of clarified butter ( ghee) for seasoning.  So go ahead, try this dish at home and enjoy it! It is perfect for any meal of the day: breakfast, lunch or dinner! I am bringing this amazing one-pot meal to my favorite party Fiesta Friday! Angie, I know I haven't been at the Fiesta for the past few weeks as I was in India on vacation. I am back now and intend to mingle more now. Kaila @GF 24/7 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes are the co-hosts this week.

Servings: 3-4 ( 2 cups per person)

Ingredients :

Toor dal ( split pigeon peas): 1/2 cup
Parboiled basmati rice: 1/2 cup
Broccoli : 1 small head
Carrot: 2 medium-sized
Green beans: 10-12
Water: 12 cups
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves ( cilantro), chopped: 1 tbsp for garnishing.

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Asofoetida: a pinch
Peanut halves: 1 tbsp ( optional). Can use cashew halves instead.
Sambar powder: 1 tbsp ( any sambar powder can be used. I used MDH brand).
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp dissolved in 1/2 cup water
Jaggery or raw sugar:1/2 tsp


Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 30 mins.

Separate the broccoli florets and keep aside. Separate the hard parts of the stem. Dice the remaining part of the stem. Keep aside.

Scrape the carrots and dice them. Keep aside.

Chop the green beans into 1.5 cms pieces.

Wash toor dal thoroughly and cook it with 6 cups water, salt and turmeric powder  in a pressure cooker until half-cooked ( around 15 mins or 2-3 whistles).

Open the pressure cooker, once the pressure has eased off. Add the washed rice and the chopped vegetables to the cooker with 6 more cups of water and cook until tender without putting on the whistle ( around 15-20 mins).

If you choose to use the whistle on the pressure cooker, just cook until you hear one whistle.

Switch off the flame and keep aside.


Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds to it.

Once they splutter, add curry leaves, peanut halves and sauté until peanut halves are roasted.

Now add hing, sambhar powder and fry for 10 seconds. 

Add the tamarind pulp mixture, jaggery/ brown sugar and bring it to a boil.

Add this to the cooked rice-lentil-vegetable mixture. Mix well.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot. It is usually served with papad on the side. I have served it with onion vodi that have been microwave-fried and cucumber slices .

Note: This dish thickens considerably upon cooling. Therefore add more water while cooking if you find that it is already very thick.

Cooking made easy:

Soaking the rice is not essential. I soaked the rice because it makes the grains longer.

The easiest way to make this dish is to just add the rice, toor dal and vegetables together into the cooker with the required amount of water, salt, haldi and cook it for 20 minutes. Take it out and do the tempering as described above. The only thing is you will not be able to appreciate the individual rice grains and the vegetables may be overcooked. That is why I chose to cook it in stages.

Any vegetable that is left in your refrigerator/pantry can be used. This is a great way to clean out your fridge!

Footnotes(Tip for healthy living):

Parboiled rice has a lower glycemic index than regular rice. Basmati rice has a lower GI than other white rices. Therefore, parboiled basmati rice is one of the best rice options for diabetics next to brown rice.

Toor dal is a great source of protein for vegetarians.

All the vegetables used in this dish: carrots, broccoli and green beans are all non-starchy vegetables with a high dietary fiber content, low GI and therefore a better option for diabetics. They also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals to the body.

Disclaimer:I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

Do try these other one-pot dishes from Team DFT:

Food for thought:

A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day. Andre Maurois

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