Bisi beLe bhath (with poha/avalakki)

Bangalore, the IT capital of India, is a place where you can find all types of food from all over India. It may be because people from all over India come to Bangalore in search of jobs. So along with all other types of food, the Bangaloreans have their set of dishes which are very very famous. The most famous dishes being ‘Chitranna‘ and ‘Bisi bele bhath‘ (‘Bisi‘-hot, ‘beLe‘-lentil, ‘bhath‘-rice item. Bangalorians call it ‘bath’ instead of ‘bhath‘). One other thing I have observed about food in Bangalore is all their dishes are very very easy and fast to prepare.

Though I was not a big fan of bisi beLe bhath available in hotels, I liked to try them always. The one which I loved the most was with poha. My friend Poornima used to bring this in her lunch box. This version of bhath is softer than the version with rice.

1 cup poha/avalakki
3/4 cup toor daal
10 cups water
1/2 tea spn tamarind(extract)
2 tea spns Bisi bele bhath masala
1 tea spn jaggery(optional)
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
2 tea spns oil/ghee
A pinch asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 cup onion pieces
A pinch turmeric
1/2 cup tomato
3/4 cup vegetables (carrot, potato, beans)
2 strands coriander leaves

Heat approximately 8 cups of water. When it starts boiling, add toor daal and a pinch of turmeric. When daal is cooked, add vegetables (except onion and tomato). Cook till vegetables are done.
Add washed poha. Cook for 2-3mins. Add bisi beLe bhath powder, tamarind (mixed with remaining two cups of water), jaggery and salt. Cook till almost all water is absorbed (the bhath should not become too dry, so stop when it is in semi solid state).
In a separate pan, heat ghee/oil (ghee tastes better), add mustard. When they start popping, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Add onions and fry till they turn slightly brownish. Now add tomato and fry till they become slightly soft. Add this mixture to bhath and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot.

Serves: 3-4
Preparation time: 40mins (if not using the cooker) 15mins(if using cooker)

I haven’t used pressure cooker for cooking this as mentioned by my friend.
If using cooker, make sure not to cook the daal too much. It should not be mashed.

Cook daal and vegetables in the cooker and then repeat the procedure in microwave or stove top, since the poha might get completely mashed if cooked in cooker.

You cook use same amount of rice in place of poha.


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