South Indian Rice with Lentils (Bisi Bele Bhath)

One pot meal of spicy south Indian rice with lentils and homemade coconut masala.

Eating Style: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Refined Sugar-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time:

Serves: 6

Ingredients

Coconut Masala

  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1-3 red chili’s (optional) – see note
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or 8 whole cloves
  • 8 white peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

Main Event

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 cup diced red onion onion
  • 1¼ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  • ¼ cup diced french beans
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced potatoes
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup cubed eggplant
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed well
  • ½ cup moong dal, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed well
  • 6 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoon date syrup if chilis were used in the masala
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Melt coconut oil in a large cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cumin seed. Cook until cumin seeds are brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and salt, stir to combine and continue to cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add beans, carrots, potatoes, red pepper and eggplant to the mix and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Transfer vegetable mixture into a large saucepan. Add rice, lentils and water. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until rice is tender.
  5. Meanwhile, place all masala ingredients in a small cast iron pan. Cook on medium high heat until coconut has browned, about 3 minutes. Grind in a coffee grinder or small processor and set aside.
  6. Add homemade coconut masala and date syrup if chili’s were used in the masala. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in fresh cilantro and serve.

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Notes

I don’t handle my spice well, so I made the first batch with no chili at all. It was good, but lacked the kick! For the second batch, I tried it with 1 chili and it was perfect. Feel free to go up to using 3 chili’s if you’re the adventurous type. I’m pretty sure I’d burn my face off if I tried it.

Soaking the rice and lentils made a huge impact on the digestibility of this dish. I couldn’t believe how easy it was on my tummy. Major win in my books!

Nutrition Information Per Serving

  • Calories: 318
  • Calories from Fat: 83
  • Total Fat: 9.2
  • Saturated Fat: 8.2 g
  • Sodium: 511 mg
  • Carbs: 53.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 8.1 g
  • Net Carbs: 45.8 g
  • Sugars: 7.6 g
  • Protein: 10.1 g