Bise Bele Baath (Tamarind rice)

In a country where 47% of people are vegetarian and rely on Lentils with Rice for their amino acid intake, there are several recipes to fill this need in every region.   This one is from the South Western Coastal state of Karnataka.

The traditional recipe calls for cooking the rice separately, the lentils separately again, the vegetables separately and then to mix them all together and crown them with a ‘Tadka’.

We have simplified the recipe to make it a one-pot dish (less washing up). However, we have not deviated from the most flavoursome of tadkas/toppings - crunchy peanuts/cashew nuts, toasted sesame seeds, crispy curry leaves shards of dry coconut, chillies.   With a dash of spice and sprinkling of tamarind juice for zing we think you will make this often.

Prep:

  1. Wash 1 cup Toor Dhal (Pigeon Peas) and soak for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Wash 2 cups Rice, drain and set aside.
  3. Peel and chop a total of 1 cup of vegetables of your choice and 1 medium onion. Traditionally, drumsticks, radish, green beans, green peas and even potatoes are used.
  4. Separate leaves from 2 stalks of curry leaves.
  5. Soak 1 Golf ball size of Tamarind in 1 cup of warm water. Mash and strain when ready to use then mix with 1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar.
  6. Measure out ½ cup peanuts/cashew nuts.
  7. Boil 6 cups of water just before you are ready to cook.

Cook:

  1. Heat a heavy based casserole dish, then add 1 tbsp ghee, chopped onion, ½ tsp of asafoetida, 3 tsp sea salt/veggie salt and 1 level tbsp. of our Lentil & Sweet Potato spice.
  2. Stir-fry for a minute on low heat.
  3. Now mix in the soaked dhal, the prepared vegetables, tamarind paste and washed rice.
  4. Then pour in 6 cups of freshly boiled water.
  5. Raise the heat and bring the water to a rolling boil.
  6. Lower to a simmer, and cover with a tight lid.
  7. Set a timer for 10 minutes and turn off the stove when the timer goes off.
  8. Rest for 10 minutes then empty into serving dish.

Tadka

  1. Heat a small pan on low heat
  2. Add 2 tbsp ghee, ½ tsp asafoetida, and 1 tsp mustard seeds.
  3. When the mustard seeds splutter add 3 red chillies (as few/many as you like) and shards of coconut (or 2 tbsp desiccated coconut) and 1 tsp sesame seeds.
  4. When the coconut turns golden brown turn off the stove then stir in the curry leaves.
  5. Pour over the rice and serve immediately.