Bisi bele bath powder is a spice blend that is added to a very popular dish in Karnataka known as Bisi bele bath, which is a spicy one pot rice, lentil and vegetable dish.
I remember having this famous dish for the first time in Bangalore in one of the MTR restaurants on the recommendation of hubby. It is one of his favorite rice-lentil dish which he would often have during his engineering stint in Bangalore.
The recipe was requested by one of my readers. I could have easily purchased a ready made masala packet and made the dish. But I thought why not give a homemade and authentic touch by making the spice blend at home.
Normally, I make all spice blends at home like cumin powder, Goda masala, Coriander powder, Sambar powder, Rasam powder and Garam masala powder. these are much better than the store bought ones. Although it takes effort to make authentic masala powders at home but it is worth taking this time and effort.
To make this masala powder authentic, a particular spice called as ‘Marathi moggu‘ is added (the spice in center in the below pic). They are larger than cloves. They are buds of the kapok tree and hence also called as kapok buds in english. They have a musky aroma.
This one special spice gives this spice mix its important flavor. I would easily get marathi moggu in Bangalore but not here. So I ordered them online. If you live outside India, you can order from amazon.
Below an illustrative pic of the spices used for this masala powder. Poppy seeds are missing from the pic. The amount of spices shown in this picture is illustrative and not the actual measures.
Two kinds of dry red chilies are used. The byadagi variety of chilies give a deep red color and is less hot. The other type is guntur chilies which is a hot variety.
This masala powder is slightly spicy and hot. Reduce the guntur red chilies in the recipe if you cannot tolerate spicy food.
This recipe does not use asafoetida powder/hing. I usually add asafoetida to the main dish. But you can add asafoetida while making the masala powder.
This recipe has been adapted from Pratibha’s Blog (her blog has some authentic recipes from the Karnataka cuisine) and a cook book. I reduced the proportions and did make a few changes though. The recipe is good and gives you a really tasty bisi bele bath.
This recipe yields about 150 gms of the masala powder and stays good for a couple of months in the refrigerator.
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Bisi Bele Bath Powder
- ½ cup coriander seeds
- ¼ cup chana dal (husked and split bengal gram)
- 1 tablespoon urad dal (husked and split black gram)
- 10 to 12 byadagi or bedgi red chilies - less hot dry red chilies
- 5 to 7 guntur red chilies - hot dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon whole black pepper
- 3 green cardamom
- 1.5 inch cinnamon
- 3 to 4 cloves
- 4 marathi moggu (kapok buds)
- 4 tablespoon unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 2 teaspoon poppy seeds (khus khus)
- ½ of a whole mace or 1 small mace (javitri)
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 12 to 14 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) - optional
- Heat a frying pan or a small kadai and first dry roast the coriander, cumin and fenugreek until they are crisp and fragrant. Roast on a slow flame and make sure you don't burn the spices. Remove and keep aside in a plate or tray.
- In the same pan, now dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, mace and marathi moggu till become aromatic. Remove and keep aside in the same plate and tray.
- Now add chana dal and urad dal. These take a longer to roast than the spices.
- Roast them till you get a nice lentil aroma and the lentils have become browned. Keep aside.
- Now dry roast the dry red chilies till they become crisp.
- Dry roast the curry leaves till they crisp.
- Now roast the poppy seeds till they become light golden.
- Dry roast the asafoetida if you plan to add it in the masala powder.
- Lastly roast the dessicated coconut till the flakes become golden.
- Now let the roasted spices cool. Mix all the spices very well. Break the red chilies in small pieces. Deseed them if you prefer.
- Add the ingredients in batches in a dry grinder or coffee grinder.
- Grind to a fine powder. Remove from the jar and store the masala powder in an air-tight jar or container. Keep the jar in the refrigerator.
- Use the masala powder as required.
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How to make bisi bele bath powder
1. Heat a frying pan or a small kadai and first dry roast the coriander, cumin and fenugreek until they are crisp and fragrant. Roast on a slow flame and make sure you don’t burn the spices. Remove and keep aside in a plate or tray.
2. In the same pan, now dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, mace and marathi moggu till these spices become aromatic. Remove and keep aside in the same plate and tray.
3. Now add chana dal and urad dal. These take longer to roast than the spices. You can also roast the urad dal and chana dal separately.
4. Roast them till you get a nice aroma and the lentils have become browned. Keep aside.
5. Now dry roast the dry red chilies till they become crisp.
6. Dry roast the curry leaves till they crisp.
7. Now roast the poppy seeds till they become light golden.
8. Lastly roast the desiccated coconut till the flakes become golden.
9. Now let the roasted spices cool. Mix all the spices very well. Break the red chilies in small pieces. Deseed them if you prefer. Add the ingredients in batches in a dry grinder or coffee grinder.
10. Grind to a fine powder. Remove from the jar and Store the masala powder in an air-tight jar or container.
11. Use the masala powder as required. Keep the jar in the refrigerator.