While in India I visited Bangalore. In indian restaurants in Europe the food that is mostly served is North Indian. However, south indian cuisine has so much variety and uses such different flavours when compared to North Indian!
In this case, I was taught how to make Bisi Bele Bath, a wonderful south indian dish for the rainy season. It is usually a one-pot meal, the perfect comfort food to have in a cozy evening, enough to serve 6 people.
The friend that taught this to me tweaks the recipe a little bit, mixing different dals and using two pots instead of one. However, if you want to go for the most traditional version, use only toor dal and rice (it can be cooked in the same pot and at the same time as the rice), and skip the tadka; this will make for an easier one-pot meal.
- 2 cup of mixed dal
- 3 fistfuls of rice and 2 of broken wheat (you can use all rice for the traditional version, about 1.5 cups)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- _Optional: 2 tomatoes, chopped_
- 4-5 small shallots, peeled and whole, or a few pieces of green capsicum
- _Optional: a few green beans, chopped_
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1/2-1 tbsp tamarind paste (if you dont have any, you can use lemon juice instead)
- 5-6 tbsp of bisibelebath masala mixture OR: 1.5 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tbsp black gram dal powder, 2-3 tsp chili powder, 1-1.5 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/4-1/2 tsp fenugreek powder, 3-4 cloves and a few curry leaves
- For the tadka (optional): pinch of asafoetida, dried red chilies to taste, a bunch of curry leaves, 1 tsp black mustard seeds, 1-2 tbsp roasted bengal gram (optional) or cashews, vegetable oil
- _Optional: jaggery or sugar to taste, cashew nuts (if not used in tadka)_
- _Optional: fresh coriander to garnish_
- Wash and rinse the dal a couple of times. Tren, soak for at least 4 hours.
- In a fast cooker,pour the dal with its soaking water, then add some salt, asafoetida, turmeric, shallots and carrots. Close the lid and let it whistle about 3 times or until it smells like the dal is cooked.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice and broken wheat properly. Then, put it in a pot with salted water and boil until cooked.
- Now, mix the cooked dal and rice in the pot where you cooked the rice in and add the tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are soft, add the bisibelebath masala. Mix well and cook together for a couple of minutes. Add water if it is too thick.
- Add the tamarind into the mixture. Then, taste for salt and sweetness.
- Finally (optionally), make the tadka. Heat up 2-3 tbsp of oil in a small pan and fry the whole spices until brown in this order: asafoetida, mustard seeds, chillies, bengal gram and curry leaves. Once it is done, add it into the pot and put a lid on it for the aromas to infuse.
- Mix everything and serve.