Brown Rice Bisi Bele Bath

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(from 12 reviews)
Bisi Bele Bath Recipe using Brown Rice

Last week I tried Pongal with brown rice and it came out very well, which made me think why not bisi bele bath with brown rice? Earlier I was very hesitant about using brown rice, wondering if we would like the taste or not. To my surprise my husband and myself liked it very much. I think this is one of the few things we both agree upon!

What is bisi bele bath?

It’s a traditional main course, rice dish from the Karnataka state of India, meaning hot lentil rice. Originally the preparation of this rice involves an elaborate procedure of preparing the bisi bele bath masala with fresh ingredients and spices. But like any other recipe which has quick short cuts to make life easier, this recipe can also be done in no time by buying store bought bisi bele bath powder.

But in this blog post I have given the recipe to make the bisi bele bath masala powder at home itself. This powder can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for future use as well. If you are faced with time constraint you can buy the masala at your regular Indian grocery stores and use it in place of the powder I have used in this bisi bele bath recipe.

I have used pressure cooker to make this bisibele bath recipe because cooking brown rice is made easier with the use of a pressure cooker to get the right consistency. You may try it in an electric cooker too but I haven’t tried it and hence can’t suggest any tips or tricks for the same.

Brown rice when cooked has a rubbery (is it even a word?) texture. Or simply it is not as soft as its white counterpart. You feel very full after eating a cup of rice, as against wanting more after eating white rice. I made zucchini raitha to go with the bisi bele bath. That’s easy to prepare too. You can find other facts about brown rice here.

Check here for more brown rice recipe ideas.


Bisi Bele Bath Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
10 Mins (not including soaking of rice)45 Mins4 Servings
Frozen DessertsFreezing
Brown Rice Bisi Bele Bath
5.0 from 12 reviews
Wondering how to make bisi bele bath? Originally prepared using white rice, I have got here a healthy spin on the traditional bisi bele bath recipe using brown rice. Don’t worry, you will still like it. No compromise on the taste whatsoever!
Ingredients For Masala Powder:
  • 1 Tablespoon Channa Daal
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Urad Daal
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Peppercorn
  • 2 To 3 Cloves
  • 1 Inch Piece Cinnamon Stick
  • As Required Red Chillies (I Used 2 Small)
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Coconut
  • 1 Teaspoon Ghee/Sesame Oil
Ingredients For Rice:
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Toor Daal
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 To 4 Cups Vegetables (I Used Carrots, Beans, Potatoes And Green Peas, 1 Cup Each)
  • 1 Medium Sliced Onion (Or Pearl Onions Preferably)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamarind Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • A Pinch Hing
  • As Required Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sesamme Oil
  • 1/2 To 1 Tablespoon Ghee (Optional)
Ingredients For Zucchini Thayir Pachadi:
  • 1 Grated With Skin Small Zucchini
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 To 2 Cups Yogurt
  • 1 Teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • As Required Green Chillies, Sliced Into Half (I Used 1)
  • A Pinch Hing
Procedure for Bisi Bela Bath:
  1. Wash the brown rice and toor daal and soak it together (also add turmeric powder) in warm water for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better). Soaking the brown rice in warm water activates more enzymes, which makes it possible to obtain a more complete amino acid profile. For 1 cup of rice and daal use 2 and 1/2 cups of water, so I used 3 and 1/4 cups of water. I did the soaking straightaway in a pressure cooker. After soaking, leave it for 5 whistles and transfer the cooker from the stove if cooking on an electric range, because the heat from the coil will continue the cooking process and you will end up scraping burnt rice from the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the masala powder, while the rice is cooking. In a small frying pan add ghee, once it heats, fry (until golden brown) one by one the ingredients mentioned in the list. Once it cools, powder it in a blender/spice grinder.
  3. In a medium size pan add the 1/2 tablespoon of oil, once it heats add the mustard seeds, curry leaves (if using) and hing. Then fry the sliced onions. Add a pinch of salt, so that the onion cooks faster. Then add the vegetables and required amount of salt and let it cook for 5 minutes. Once it is half cooked add the tamarind paste and 1 and 1/2 cups of water and close the pan with the lid. Let it cook until the raw smell of tamarind leaves. Then add the masala powder and let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
  4. Alternatively you can do the entire step in a pressure cooker easily. That’s how I do it. I have a small pressure cooker. So as usual I do the tempering, fry the onions. Then I simply add the vegetables, salt, tamarind and water and close the cooker’s lid and leave it for only 1 whistle. If you are using an electric range be sure to transfer the cooker from the stove after turning off the stove, because the heat from the coil continues the cooking process and you would end up having mushy vegetables. After opening the lid, add the masala powder and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Then add the cooked rice and daal mixture to the vegetables gravy and mix it well. If you like you can add the 1/2 tablespoon of ghee or sesame oil now. If the rice looks a bit watery, don’t worry, it will thicken up. You can keep it on low heat for sometime and it will thicken up. On the other hand if it’s very thick add some warm water to loosen it. It’s very forgiving, so don’t worry.
Procedure For Zucchini Thayir Pachadi:
  1. Wash the zucchini and grate it with the skin and place it in a bowl. Add the required amount of salt.
  2. In a small frying pan heat the oil, add the mustard seeds. Once it splutters add the sliced green chillies, hing and fry it.
  3. Add this to the zucchini and mix it well.
  4. Mix the yogurt to the zucchini when ready to serve.
My Notes:
  1. If you don’t have the time to prepare the bisi bele bath masala powder you can buy it. I’ve tried MTR brand and it’s good too.
  2. You could also buy the frozen Avial vegetables available in Indian grocery stores and save time chopping vegetables.
  3. I have pressure cookers in all size so I used one for cooking the vegetables and one for cooking rice/daal. You can also cook both in any vessel on stove top, but as far as I’ve read brown rice takes more time to cook like that.
  4. We don’t eat spicy food, so I used only 2 red chillies for the masala powder. The heat was very mild. If you prefer it more spicy use about 4-5 chillies.
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  1. Stephen

    I usually never comment on recipes if I feel some tweaking is needed. This recipe requires no tweaking! You don’t realize you are eating brown rice it’s that good. Will become a staple in our household.

    • Madhuram

      Thank you very much, Stephen.

  2. Siri

    Hey Madhu, did I ever tell you how much I *love* you. ;). I made
    this dish tonight for dinner (with yogurt & appadams) and we both
    loved it. Couldn’t wait to take pictures and blog about it, which
    I did just now.. Thanks a lot.

    Hope all is well with you,

  3. Bise Bele Bhath(Hot Lentil Rice) | Bise Bele Bhath(Hot Lentil Rice) healthful | Bise Bele Bhath(Hot Lentil Rice) > | Life Healthful | Healthful Diet | Healthful Eating

    […] was my first attempt in making BBB,so I had to refer some expert recipes of – Madhu,Sia and Madhuram.I used Brown rice and wild rice blend instead of plain white to add a little more protein and […]

  4. luv2cook

    Thanx for the wonderful brown rice bisibelebath.I tried it couple of days ago.It was rocking. My husband was totally blown away.I didn’t have zuchini that day, so made bottlegourd pachadi in the same way. Man,it was a rocking day. I tried brown rice pongal(both sweet & savory) also for Pongal festival & distributed to all my friends. Nobody could believe the wonderful taste. Thanx again for all the wonderful recipes.

    You’re most welcome, also thank you so much for your generous compliments. I too made brown rice sweet pongal for Pongal this year. I used brown rice rava for it and couldn’t believe the awesome taste. I too made bottle gourd raitha quite often. It’s very good right!

  5. Madhuri

    Hello Madhu,
    Am posting a comment for the first time. Just wanted to say that you have wonderful site and love the way describe the procedure with most valued notes 🙂 .
    I tried your Bisebele Bath with brown rice and it turned out awsome!

    Hi Madhuri, thank you so much for your valuble feedback and for trying the dish as well. I’m glad that you liked it. You should also try the brown rice pongal then.

  6. Madhu

    sure will do…. i did make the guilt free chickpea roast… they were just fabulous!!!

    Thanks. Actually I’m going to post another brown rice recipe shortly.

  7. Madhu

    Hi Madhu,
    I’ve always wanted to try out dishes with brown rice but never found anything that would suite our taste buds! Finally found one gr8 comfort food here and tried it today… it was yummy… we luv it… do keep posting more recipes on brown rice… 🙂

    Thank you very much for the feedback Madhu. You should also try the pongal, if you don’t make it already.

  8. Cilantro

    I am a little skeptical about brown rice . I have brown basmati rice for a long time …used them for tomato rice and was a disaster. With so many comments and the assurance from you, I am going to buy the brown long grain rice and make Bisi Bele Bath.

    I’ve not used the brown basmati rice. But the long grain rice is good Cilantro. Use just 2 and 1/4 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, if you want to make fried rice or eat it with curries etc. If you want it nicely mashed for pongal, bisi bele bath etc use aroun 2 and 1/2 cups of water and leave it for 5-7 whistles.

  9. Vaishali

    Bisi bele bhaath is such a favorite at my home, and I love making it with brown rice too. Gotta try your recipe sometime. I love the presentation, Madhuram.

    It was the first time I cooked Bise bele bath with brown rice and I don’t think I would be preparing it with white rice any more.

  10. Usha

    Looks yum, Madhu…I use brown rice all the time and find that it works best in bisi bele bath, khichdi and stuff like dosai and adai, it blends well there…also brown basmati tastes best 🙂

  11. Laavanya

    I love bisi bele baath.. lovely idea to use brown rice.. looks delicious.

  12. Uma

    bbb with brown rice? Now that’s interesting and looks so healthy and yummy! I haven’t used brown rice till now! May be time has come 🙂 !

    Wishing you and your family a very happy new year 2009.

  13. DK

    There seems to be a mini forum of discussions going on in your comments section Madhu 😉

    I make Brown rice BBB too 🙂 and you are bang on! I end up eating far less than what I would when made with white rice…:)

    I sent you mail with the entries..including the one u mentioned too 🙂 Also for Mochai – I am really not sure , but I think its called as Val Dal in hindi which translates to field beans….Will try to search and confirm though 🙂

  14. Sweatha

    Lovely Madhu.I too have bght brown rice thgh for another recipe I saw.I have never used it till now and thanks for the info in the post.Now I am ready to try it.The zucchini raita is yummy as well.
    I am very happy I came here late so that I could enjoy all the comments(till now) and your response to it.

    Thanks Sweatha. I’m also going to include it in our diet as often as possible.

  15. Deepa

    Madhu, Don’t worry about this changed phase. It’s just a phase. WHat I learnt is, kids go thru some mysterious phases, specially wrt food! So what I’d suggest is, keep offering it to him every few days, and I am certain he;ll take to it again. This’s NOT a permanent thing!! I have to remind myself about this even now. And also remember, kids try out different ways of testing the limits and rules and how serious you are about things. Just remind him he needs veggies to be “smart and strong”. It’s a marathon (we need long term strategies!!). Sorry for yet another comment!! Hope I am not being preachy – and there’re many ways to reach the point where a kid is generally making healthy food choices…–Deepa

    I don’t mind the comments Deepa, its not a problem at all. For the past week he is in the “Fruits-Nuts-Milk” phase. Luckily he still eats his broccoli and cauliflower.

  16. Deepa

    Made this today. Fantastic recipe. So impressed with the degree of detail, and all the points about what to do if it’s an electric stove etc. That’s just amazing. Thank you!! –Deepa

    That was very quick Deepa. I’m happy you liked it.

  17. Sister Tinh Quang

    This looks and sounds very good. 🙂

    I use brown basmati rice. Is that the same as what you are using in your recipes? ❓

    May you have a very happy New Year.

    Welcome to my blog Sister Tinh. I’ve not used brown basmati rice yet. I’m referring to the brown long grain rice. Wish you a very happy new year too.

  18. Cham

    Sounds simply superb the substitu of rice 😛

    It tasted good too Cham.

  19. rekha

    looks so yum yum never tried brown rice will start using now.

    We also started quite recently only Rekha.

  20. Deepa

    I forgot to say, do check out this book called “Feeding you child for lifelong health” if you get a chance. Also, I liked Mary Lou Henner’s “Total Health Makeover” where she talks a lot about kids… Some of these measures are hard to follow, but believe me, they yield great results. Work hard in the early years and things are so much easier for the next 15 years! –Deepa

    I wish I had known about brown rice 2-3 years back Deepa. Even though we start with healthy foods for children, I think as they grow older, they get in control of what goes into their mouth. For instance, my son when he started eating solid foods, I introduced all vegetables. There used to be a time when he wouldn’t eat his rice without a generous cup of vegetables. He would eat any vegetable and especially broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage were his favorites. But I don’t know what happened now, the tables have turned. So I’m tricking him to eat his vegetables. Thanks for letting me know about the books. I’ll definitely check it out.

  21. mahimaa

    nice try madhu. i have never tried brown rice. bisi bele looks yummm yumm. perfect comfort food.

    and reg malai koftas, yes, i used whole wheat multigrain bread. i always use only wheat bread. better than white.

    Thanks Mahimaa. I’m going to try the malai koftas very soon.

  22. Priya

    Never tried anything with brown rice, this BBB maes me hunger…looks awesome!!!

    You should try it Priya.

  23. Deepa

    Hi Madhu,
    I didn’t want my kid growing up addicted to white rice like South Indians are usually. So from his birth, we stopped buying white rice. We eat it outside on rare occasions. I have bought it to make idlis/dosas, but that’s rare (once in 2 months or so). White rice is very unhealthy and brown rice is not only higher in fiber but also has plenty of B-vitamins. We make every rice dish with brown rice, so that the kiddo never thinks it’s unusual. I think the 1st 3 years of life are a rare opportunity to train a child’s taste buds to appreciate natural flavors. If we can keep kids away from the heady flavors of processed foods like white sugar, maida and white rice COMPLETELY in those 1st 3 years, it helps them appreciate the subtler natural flavors of the healthy stuff with great ease. –Deepa

  24. anudivya

    Oh Madhuram, this is superb. We have brown rice even for curd rice, never use white rice for anything these days, so this would be perfect for me.

    We are slowly making our transition Divya.

  25. Madhu / Ruchii

    Yeah, one pot dishs are best way to try brown rice, these day I have started making idlies and dosas with of fine.
    Looks delicious, with chips and zucchini pachadi.

    I’ve made adais with it, but not idli/dosa yet. Will try that too. The zucchini pachadi goes well with vegetable pulav also.