Dinner in 20 minutes Food

Experimenting with wheat

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet Van Horne. Photo: special arrangement  

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet 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. Bisi Bele Bhath translates to ‘hot lentil rice’, but her recipe for Godhumai Bisi 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 sambhar rice. But this version of the favourite 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 flavour and texture to the time-tested combination of ingredients that make a good Bisi 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 Bisi Bele Bhath, but revel in the pleasure of re-discovering it all over again.

Photo and recipe by Rakesh with inputs from Rama Raghunathan; introduction by Preeti.

Godhumai Bisi Bele Bhath

1/2 cup thoor dal

2 cups tamarind juice extract

1 1/2 cups vegetables of your choice (carrots, beans, cauliflower)

3 cups water

Salt to taste

1tbsp oil

1 tsp turmeric

3 red chillies

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp saunf

1/2 tsp whole pepper

3 tbsp coconut

3 to 4 chopped tomatoes

2. Add oil to a pan and roast the whole dhania, cinnamon stick, saunf and whole pepper until the raw smell fades out. Set aside.

3. Fry coconut in the same pan till golden brown.

4. Blend the roasted spices, coconut and tomatoes to a fine paste.

5. Add the fine paste to the pressure-cooked dal and broken wheat mixture and cook on low flame.

6. Fry cashews in ghee till golden brown and season the godhumai bisi bele bhath.

Ingredients to pressure cook

1 cup broken wheat

Ingredients to make a paste

1 1/2 tsp whole dhania


1. Pressure-cook contents mentioned under ingredients for 4 to 5 whistles. Set aside.

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 godhumai bisi bele bhath with a dollop of ghee! Avial and pacchadi are great accompaniments.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:59:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/dinner-in-20-minutes-experimenting-with-wheat/article6839307.ece

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