Bisi Bele bhaath is considered the Queen of rice dishes from Karnataka, in Southern India.
Unlike the North-Indian pulao, the rice does not make a stand separate but rather concedes defeat and turns itself into a mush, for the greater good of the dish. The consistency is very much between congee and breakfast oatmeal - thick and mushy.
This all vegetarian rice dish with a fun name like Bisi-Bele (pronounce like Pele the soccer player) Huliyanna simpply means hot lentil rice with Huliyanna spices. Except there's nothing simple about it. The flavors are complex with its palimpsest of flavors and the end result, explosive.
I have had even devout non-vegetarians swoon at it's feet.
As you scroll down the list of ingredients, you'll probably feel a migraine coming on and this especially if your idea of cooking is slapping on peanut butter on jelly on a slice of bread. And I'd definitely not attempt making this one on weeknights and consider this a weekend treat.
Most of the dish can be prepared in advance but does it have quite a few steps?
Is it hard to put together?
Let me see if I can break this down for you;
Cooked lentils - meet - vegetables - meet - rice and Huliyanna spices - meet - tempering spices in hot oil - and dinner done!
In fact, this is a ideal dish for company and special occasions because it's a crowd pleaser and once it makes an appearance from the refrigerator from the day before, it will take a mere 10 minutes to set at the table.
Serve with a lovely hot & spicy tomato & garlic chutney (look for it under chutneys) and fried poppadoms and not only will you have one gorgeous feast but whomever is lucky enough to be invited will be talking about your culinary prowess for time to come!