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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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{ 35 comments… add one }

  • aruna pai July 31, 2006, 8:22 am

    I never knew abt Bisi bele bhath with powa. Must give it a try one of these days. Your picture looks very very good and colourful. Thanks Shilpa.

  • Lera July 31, 2006, 8:24 am

    ooh, that looks so delicious….shilpa, bisibelehath is my fav……I usually go to woodys in Bangalore to have just this , once in a while…

    I am sure, with poha it would taste great ,would love to try your way someday soon.Thanks for sharing..:)

  • shynee July 31, 2006, 8:31 am

    Bisibelebath with poha is quite new to me….sounds good… had posted a bisibelebath recipe long back….this one is definitely something I’ll experiment on…thanx shilpa for the idea…

  • Arjuna July 31, 2006, 9:05 am

    Bisibelebath with poha.. never tried it before. Looks really good though, I am going to try this.

  • shweta nayak July 31, 2006, 12:30 pm

    hi shilpa,
    got to knw abt ur site frm your brother.vikram likes bisi bele bhaath …i’ll def try this 1 out

  • Preeti July 31, 2006, 1:06 pm

    I was going to ask you for this recipe…and looks like you’ve read my mind.

    I used to bring readymade bisibelebhath mix from the indian store and it was made with poha too. Just had to add veges and water and cook for a while….however, seems like they’ve stopped importing it now…Good for me, I have your recipe as backup!!

  • Madhu July 31, 2006, 2:25 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    Very nice poha bele bath. I make similar but add moong dal instead of toordal. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Now I also feel like eating some bese bele bath.

  • Sumitha Shibu August 1, 2006, 4:12 am

    Bisi bele bath with poha,oh yum!

  • Krithika August 1, 2006, 6:38 am

    This one is new. Need to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Vaishali August 1, 2006, 2:09 pm

    Bisi Bele Bhaat with Poha is a great idea. I am sure it takes less time to cook too. I will try it out soon and let you know how it turned out. Btw, I have my own homemade BBB powder with me. I will try and use your recipe when I make my next batch.

  • Subhash August 1, 2006, 8:25 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried this. But I found that to cook dhal itself took more than 30 mins without using pressure cooker. But you mention the cooking as 15 mins. Hows that possible?

  • Shilpa August 2, 2006, 6:36 am

    Thanks all. Please let me know if you like it :).
    Subhash, I think I was wrong about the total time. I am sorry about it. I have updated it now. Did you like the taste?

  • Subhash August 5, 2006, 10:41 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    Thanks for the recipe. Yes, I liked it very much. Everybody enjoyed at home.


  • Subhash August 5, 2006, 10:42 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    Thanks for the recipe. Yes, I liked it very much. Everybody enjoyed at home.
    I thought there was a special way to cook toor dal quickly without a cooker.


  • vanishree August 17, 2006, 1:20 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    I have tasted avalakki bisibelebath a few times and yesterday I tried it with moongdal instead of toor dal and it has come out so well that everyone liked it at home. Only today I saw this recipe on your site what great coincidence!!!!
    With moog dal it takes less time to cook.

  • Baskaran September 19, 2006, 7:01 pm

    Hello Shilpa,
    We had organised a “Pot Luck” at home last week end and prepred your avalakki bisibelebath and Green Pilav as rice items in the party. The aroma of Bisebelebath masala is just subtle and great!!!.At the end of the party the best items were selected based on the inherent expressions like taste presentation and consumption. Stunningly the winners were your Green Pilav and avalakki Bisebela bath
    Great tastes and Great feelings

  • Shilpa September 19, 2006, 7:22 pm

    Thanks a lot Subhash.

    Vanishree, I have never tried it with moong daal. Shall try next time.

    Baskaran, thanks a lot for the kind words. I am very happy :D.

  • tanu December 20, 2006, 10:51 pm

    poha comes in two versions – one which melts easily when put under water only for few minutes and one is little bit tougher. which kind of poha should i use.

  • Shilpa December 21, 2006, 9:14 am

    Tanu, the tougher poha (medium thick poha) is used for this dish. If thinner version is used, it just melts in thie dish.

  • Rama April 11, 2007, 12:42 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    This is my first feedback.

    Many times, have read this site, but, for some reason did not get chance to enter into the site. But, now, have started trying one by one.

    To start with, today, prepared BB bath with poha and it was amazing and so so good. As you said, yes, it is better than the rice version. I am very happy as we can take this as a tiffin for dinner or full course meal for lunch; that too, if I substitute brown poha, then, it will be an another nutritious food too.

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.


  • Rama April 11, 2007, 12:45 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    If not too much have a request for mysore pak, a traditional karnataka style.

    I remember eating when I was young, the shops from Mysore or Bangalore, they would sell just like a halwa and not in pieces. Have tried many recipes and they were all tasty, but not like the one I had in my childhoo. Can you help me out? Pls take yr time, btw.

    Thanks and Bye.

  • Hema July 11, 2007, 5:29 am

    Dear shilpa,
    it was really a very useful receipe.actually i was searching for bisibelabath for months…thank you very much.let me try once…

    take care…
    bye bye..

  • santosh August 17, 2007, 7:39 pm

    i was looking for kichdi,could not trace, i guess u have wonderful recipes,i usually refer ur site..when i want to make something :)
    can you put a index of all the recipes u have till date..Thank u very much

    Shilpa: Index is already there on the left hand side with caption “Main menu”. You can go to any category and click and it shows all the recipes under that category. Then I have search box where you can type in a recipe and search.

  • manasa August 29, 2007, 3:16 pm

    hi shilpa.. i came to US 3 months back from south part of india..I really had a bad experience first 1& half month as i dint know to cook & the food in these american restaurants…. later i saw ur site & now cooking is my passion… i have tried many of ur dishes..thank u so much for sharing recipes …

  • Manjula-Madrid December 20, 2007, 8:34 am

    for BBbhath if u add green capsicum and in last add Cashew nuts it tasts really very nice.
    Serve with khara bundi nor chips.

    I hope it will help to improve the taste.

  • sk February 1, 2008, 9:45 am

    I had never heard of bisi bele bath with avalakki.Always had eaten/prepared only with rice.
    I tried your recipe and it’s awesome.I ended up making double the quantity though.
    I pressure cooked dal and veggies seperately.I added abt 5 cups water.But poha gets cooked very fast ,so had to add 1 more cup of poha and adjust the masala.Pressure cooking made this a very easy recipe…thanks!

  • Dr Vinaya.A.Bhinge. April 10, 2008, 12:21 am

    hey, hi Aayl’s.
    take care.

  • Atul Shah April 10, 2008, 4:47 am


    I am a gujju from Nagpur and i was hunting for kokam kadhi recipe, thats how i bumped into your website. Visually very soothing and extremely well laid out.

    The recipes, its detailing and presentation itself is mouth watering. I am going to try Bisi bele bhat which is my all time favorite (as I grew up in Chennai), but never managed to prepare by myself. Of course the best I have had is at MTR Banglore.

    Great website, keep up the good work. Chao….

  • ayesha July 12, 2008, 8:28 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    Thanks for the recipe. I like this bisi bele bath very much . I used to eat this very often in my child hood. My mother cooks this very delicious. But due to some reason i am very far from her and after seeing this recipe i think that if i try this it tastes as like my mother made. I will try this now it self.

    Thank you very much.

  • Tara September 23, 2008, 1:50 am


    nice to see this receipe. first time heard bise bele bhath with poha.

    any way…i will try it sometime.

    thanks for shareing.

  • Hema March 11, 2009, 6:58 am

    Shilpa, Have prepared Bisi Bele Bath so many times and this will an interesting change for me… Will surely try out.

  • mandara September 15, 2009, 5:37 am

    Hi shilpa, your site is a good guide to all women especially for me as i keep on thinking what should i prepare daily?well,is poha substitute for rice? can we use this recipe with rice or is there any change?

    • Shilpa September 15, 2009, 7:09 am

      Yes, you can use exact amount of rice and make this.

  • roopa February 15, 2010, 7:25 am

    Good one shilpa

  • Rose March 1, 2012, 7:22 am


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