“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all – Hariett Van Horne”
It was with this gay abandon that our cook at home, straight from the heartland of Andhra chillies, experimented with a Karnataka delicacy. Bise Bele Bhath translates to ‘hot lentil rice’, but her recipe for Godumai Bise Bele Bhath [broken wheat-hot lentil rice] transcends the literal, and our cultivated notion of what the dish represents. We’ve all grown up with versions of it, often arguing on the minor differences between the Karnataka stamped legacy, and our very own Sambar Rice. But this version of the favorite trumped every variant we had tried. The broken wheat is not a healthy poor cousin that tolerably replaces the rice. It brings its own unique flavor and texture to the time-tested combination of ingredients that make a good Bise Bele Bhath. Its homogeneity helps it blend beautifully with the lentils and vegetables into one indivisible whole, in contrast to the traditional recipe that can sometimes feel like an unhappily married combination of rice and vegetables. Don’t let this cloud your love for the old Bise Bele Bhath, but revel in the pleasure of re-discovering it all over again.
Ingredients to pressure cook:
- Broken wheat – 1 Cup
- Thoor dhal – 1/2 Cup
- Tamarind (size of a medium lemon) juice extract – 2 Cups
- Vegetables of your choice – 1 – 1.5 cups (carrots, beans, cauliflower)
- Water – 3 Cups
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric – 1 tsp
Ingredients to make a paste:
- Whole dhania – 1.5 tbsp
- Red chillies – 3
- Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch
- Saunf – 1/2 tsp
- Whole pepper – 1/2 tsp
- Coconut – 3 tbsp
- Chopped tomatoes – 3-4 nos
- Pressure cook contents mentioned under ingredients to pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Set aside.
- Add oil to a pan and roast the whole dhania, cinnamon stick, saunf and whole pepper until the raw smell fades out. Set aside.
- Fry coconut in the same pan till golden brown.
- Blend the roasted spices, coconut and tomatoes to a fine paste
- Add the fine paste to the pressure cooked dhal and broken wheat mixture and cook under low flame.
- Fry cashews in ghee till golden brown and season the godumai bisi bele bhath.
Note: We reduced the amount of tamarind used as the tomatoes bring the required tang. You can decide the quantity of tamarind depending on how sour the tomatoes are. Make sure to enjoy this godumai bisi bele bath with a dollop of ghee! Avial and pacchadi are great accompaniments.