Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BisiBela Bath (Sambar Rice)

Bisi Bela Bath (Sambar Rice)
This was the first recipe I posted on my blog. This is my best friend G's mom's recipe...and since aunty is a super duper cook, I thought it is an auspicious sign to start off with her recipe... Even if I become half as good as her, I would be satisfied.


  • Rice – 1 cup (small cup)
  • Tuvar Dal – 1/2 cup (same measure of rice)
  • Water – 6 cups 3 ½ cups for the rice and 2 ½ cups for the dal – total 6 cups (same measuring cup)
  • Shallots (Sambar Onions) - 1/4 kgs
  • Tomato - 2
  • Carrot - 1 (diced)
  • Potato - 1 big (cut into square pieces)
  • Beans - 5-10 (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • Double Beans - 15-20
  • Any other Vegetables that you want to use (If you are using Brinjal, do not pressure cook it along with rice and other veggies)
  • Sambar Powder - 2 tblsp
  • Tamarind - The size of a big lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee – 6 tbsp
  • Gingelly Oil (Nalla ennai) – 4 tblsp
  • Turmeric – 1 pinch
  • Mustard and curry leaves for seasoning.

For the masala:

  • Corriander seed - 5-6 tblsp
  • Red chilly - 10-15 (adjust as per your spice requirements)
  • Channa Dal (Kadala Paripu) - 2 tblsp
  • Asafoetida (Perungayam) 1/2 inch piece
  • Fenugreek (vendhiyam/uluva) 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
  • Cloves - 2
  • Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Garlic - 2
  • grated coconut 1/2 coconut shell

  • Sauté the onions and the vegetables in ghee.
  • Wash the rice and dal and soak for 15 minutes in water.
  • Add the required amount of water, the sautéed onions and vegetables, a pinch of turmeric, tomatoes and pressure cook for 5 whistles. (Do not pressure cook the brinjals)
  • Fry the masala ingredients in a little ghee but make sure they do not get blackened as it will change the taste of the rice, dry grind them first, then add adequate water and grind it to a fine paste.
  • Boil the tamarind water (add lots of water as it is bound to eventually become dry) and salt.
  • Then add the ground masala and bring to boil again.
  • Add the cooked rice, dal and vegetables and mix well adding ghee when required and a little bit of gingelly oil.

Season with mustard and curry leaves and ur bisi bela bath is ready!!!!!!!!!! Serve with Potato Fry!

Note: Use the same measuring cup for Rice, Dal and Water. Adjust the masala quantity according to the amount of rice, dal and vegetables you have. I used a small measuring cup. Since you add so many vegetables and water, this dish usually trebles in quantity. So use a small measuring cup and retain the masala quantity according to your taste buds.

South Indian Potato Fry

The simplest and yummiest can hardly go wrong with this. You can modify it to your taste, you can keep experimenting with this dish and yet it does not fail you. Every time, i try some new concoction and am fairly satisfied with the end result... I guess it is primarily due to my bias for potatoes... Anything with potatoes are yummy for me... This can be made with South Indian Masala's and seasoning or with North Indian Masala's and seasoning... either way, it tastes great.
I made this the way the Brahman's in Chennai make it... to go along with the Bisi Bela Bath (aka Sambar Rice) I made.

Here is the recipe for this simple Potato Fry.

  • Potatoes - You can use the baby potatoes or the normal ones
  • Gingelly Oil (Nalla ennai) - 4-5 tblsp (yeah, its Potato FRY) If you do not want to use gingelly oil, you can use normal cooking oil
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sambar Powder - 1 1/2 tblsp
  • Red Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Paste - 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard - 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal (Kadala Paripu) - 1 tsp
  • Broken Urid Dal - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida Powder - 1 pinch
  • Curry Leaves - 1 sprig (What is south indian cooking without curry leaves?)
  • Wash and Pressure cook the potatoes for 2-3 whistles. Again, you may not want to cook the potatoes and fry them directly. Another alternative is to peel and cut the potatoes and boil them in water till cooked. I prefer the pressure cooker method because of its simplicity.
  • Peel and cut the cooked potatoes
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Splutter curry leaves, mustard seeds, urid dal, channa dal till fried.
  • Add the asafoetida powder and then the diced potatoes.
  • Saute for 5 minutes and then add the salt, turmeric, chilly and sambar powders.
  • Fry for 10 minutes and then cook covered for another 5.
  • Mix the tamarind paste in about 2 tblsp of water and sprinkle it over the potatoes and fry on high flame till dry.
  • Remove and Serve Hot!!!
Note: If you do not wish to add Sambar Powder, you could increase the quantity of chilly powder or you could use any curry powder of your choice. Adding the Tamarind paste is optional... I like the sourness it imparts, hence I add it. You could fry onions, garlic and tomatoes and alter this dish again. As I said, you can keep experimenting with this dish.

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