winter dish

bisi-bele bāth – revisited

13th April 2018

I thought I would revisit some of my favourite recipes, which I make weekly and update our personal preferences. This is one dish I love to eat in the cooler months (which in Sintra is the most part of the year).

Once I start eating a warm bowl of Bisi-Bele Bāth, a feeling of being present warms and soothes the system, satisfying all six tastes.

~ waiting for Spring

bisi-bele bāth

preparation time – 1 hour

serves 3 – 4 

This dish nourishes the body and suits all constitutions. It is recommended to consume in the colder months. During warmer months, it will be heavier for the body. People with vata disorder or digestion problems should not consume it very often.


½ cup/100g toor dal

6 cups/1½ litres water

1 medium/80g carrot

1 medium/110g potato

1 cup/80g cabbage/green beans

½ cup/100g white basmati rice

10 curry leaves

1 heaped Tbsp/15g jaggery/brown sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp ghee

¼ cup/30g frozen green peas

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped 

sambar-coconut paste

¼ cup/20g dried unsweetened coconut

1 heaped Tbsp/18g sambar powder (moderately spiced)

1½ cups/375ml water – divided

for the voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

¼ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder


1.  Cut the vegetables into small uniformed pieces. Measure out remaining ingredients – set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, wash the dal until water runs clear, drain, then add water, bring to boil, skim off any foam which accumulates on the top and simmer for 5 minutes.

3.  Add the vegetables, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer rapidly until the dal starts to soften – depending on the type of dal – approximately 15 minutes.

4.  Rinse the rice and add to dal, along with the curry leaves – rapidly simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is sufficiently cooked. You may need to add more water.

prepare the sambar-coconut paste 

5.  In an upright blender, place the coconut, sambar powder and pour in 1 cup water  – blend on high for 1 minute.

6.  Pour into the dal, adding ½ cup water to swish the blender clean – simmer for 5 minutes, adding more water if needed.

7.  Turn off the heat, add jaggery, tamarind, salt, ghee and green peas.  Stir, cover and allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. The bisi-bele bath will thicken as it sits.

prepare the voggarane

8.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, add the asafoetida and turmeric, swishing the pan around to allow the spices to fry evenly – add to bisi-bele bath.

9.  Add coriander, taste, adding more salt, sambar powder, sweetener or tamarind.

To serve, spoon into bowls with a scoop of yoghurt and a drizzling of melted ghee.

Goodness shared by Stacey

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