Prepare rice to fry
It is very important to cool the rice immediately after cooking. Fluff up the rice gently in the colander with a fork, let all of the steam reduce. Then add a tbsp. of oil and spread it gently and then cover it. This prevents the rice from drying up & becoming hard.
Prepare vegetables for fried rice
Avoid using frozen or very cold vegetables from the fridge as they let out moisture & become too soft while frying. Keep the veggies out for a while so they come down to room temperature before frying. Chop all of them to the same size.
Stir fry perfectly
Firstly fry no more than 2 to 3 servings of rice in one batch. Frying a lot of it at one time will not bring out the flavours. If possible use a large carbon steel or cast iron wok. As soon as you add the veggies to the wok, remember to regulate your stove flame to the highest.
Continue to fry the rice until done on a high flame.
Ingredients & substitutes
Rice: Use any long grain or medium grain thin rice. Any rice labelled as long grain, basmati or jasmine work well to make fried rice. Avoid using short fat grains as they have more starch content and likely to turn sticky after cooking. Sona masuri rice also works well.
Vegetables: I personally prefer to use carrots, French beans, bell peppers, green onions & green peas for this basic recipe. Yes peas add some protein to the dish so it is always there in my kids’ fried rice.
A lot of times I make this fried rice with a single veggie like mushrooms, cabbage, zucchini and sometimes broccoli. You may use the search bar on top to check some of these versions that I already posted on the blog.
Soya sauce is also known as soy sauce. Choose naturally brewed or organic soya sauce. Naturally brewed soya sauce is fermented for several months/ years so it is much more flavorful than the regular one which is treated chemically. For a gluten-free option substitute it with the same amount of Tamari.
Vinegar is one of the less used ingredient in a fried rice. You will not find vinegar in most Chinese fried rice recipes. But it really adds a slight tang to the rice and enhances the taste. Rice vinegar is used in Chinese cooking especially in stir fry, salad dressings etc.
You may skip this easily from the recipe or use apple cider. Avoid white vinegar as it is too acidic in taste. If using apple cider, use it in combination with ½ teaspoon sugar as it recreates the same sweet flavour & taste of rice vinegar.
Tips to buy soya sauce
While buying soya sauce choose one that is labelled as naturally brewed or traditionally brewed. Other ways of making soya sauce uses harsh chemicals which may cause side effects in the long run.
I use Organic soya sauce or atleast the one made from Non-GMO soya. If you are looking for substitutes to soya sauce, then you may use Tamari, coconut aminos or liquid aminos. I personally feel tamari to be more flavorful than soya sauce.
Fried rice recipe – variations
I have shown the basic version of making fried rice above, but you can try these variations:
To add paneer, use ¾ cup diced paneer cubes. After stir frying the veggies, add paneer to the wok and fry then on both the sides for a minute. Then pour the soya sauce, vinegar and then add rice.
For using tofu, drain out the excess water from extra firm tofu and wrap it in few kitchen tissues. Place a heavy weight such as a cast iron skillet for 10 mins. Remove and pat the tofu dry with kitchen tissues. Cube and fry them in the pan first with 1 tablespoon oil. Add them back to the pan before pouring the sauce.
To make egg fried rice, slide the stir fried veggies to a side in your wok and pour 2 beaten eggs. Scramble them and cook just until set & soft cooked. Then add the sauce, vinegar and then rice. Double the soya sauce and black pepper for this.
For spicy fried rice, add a tablespoon of schezwan sauce, chilli oil or sambal olek. If using schezwan sauce, skip soya sauce from the recipe. To use sambal olek, use it in combination with kecap manis.
Spices: Many years ago I once ate fried rice in Alleppey which was super flavorful with ground star anise in it. Since then on occasions I add star anise (whole or ground). If using star anise you can skip the soya sauce in the recipe.
What is the secret to Chinese fried rice?
Cooled al dente cooked rice, High heat & Chinese wok are the secrets to the best Chinese fried rice. Avoid overcooking rice to mushy texture instead cook it al dente so it remains grainy. Use the highest heat on a large stove. Stir fry in a very hot Chinese wok made of carbon steel or cast iron so it emits a smoky aroma.
What is the best oil for fried rice?
Use any oil that has a high smoke point like peanut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil or avocado oil.
How do you get the smoky flavor in fried rice?
Heat a carbon steel wok on a large stove at a high heat. Toss the ingredients in hot oil. As soon as they hit the hot wok, smoke begins to release from it. This imparts a smoky flavor to the fried rice.
Why is my fried rice sticky?
To prevent your fried rice from becoming sticky always cook rice al dente, cool it completely and then fry no more than 3 servings at one time in the wok.
Which rice to use for fried rice?
Any long grain rice or medium grain rice is suitable to make fried rice. Long & thin grains are less starchy while short and fat grains are starchier. So avoid short grains. Any regular long grain rice, basmati rice or medium grain rice like Jasmine rice are best.
How to make your fried rice more flavorful?
Adding little rice wine & toasted sesame oil to the finished fried rice totally elevates the flavor.
Bisi bele bath is a flavorsome, spicy and slightly tangy meal made with lentils, rice, mixed vegetables and a super aromatic spice powder known as bisi bele bath powder. Packed with plant-based protein, fresh veggies and plenty of South Indian flavors, this makes for a hearty and wholesome meal that will soon be your family favorite. It’s gluten-free, can be made vegan plus it’s easy to make! You can also make it in the instant pot!
About Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi bele bath is a traditional dish from Karnataka, a Southern Indian state. The term “Bisi bele bath” translates to “Hot lentil rice dish”. “Bisi” is a Kannada word meaning “Hot” (temperature), “Bele” translates to “Lentils” and “Bath” is a word that denotes a “gooey dish cooked by immersing the ingredients in water”.
This gooey goodness tempered with pure ghee is amazingly delicious and is hugely popular in the restaurants and tiffin centres of Karnataka.
Bisi bele bath is a regular food made in a lot of households in Karnataka. So each family may have a different recipe that uses many different ingredients.
Short grain rice, toor dal, tamarind, jaggery, carrots, peas, beans, bell peppers and bisi bele bath pudi form the base of most versions.
My recipe will help you make bisi bele bath that has the same flavors and taste as you find in any good restaurants and tiffin places in Karnataka, such as MTR. This recipe has been a huge hit in my home for the past 2 decades and we have never made bisi bele bath any other way. This is the ultimate recipe to make the best Bisi bele bath!
In this post I have also shared the recipe to make your own the spice powder. It is made by roasting various spices and lentils. These are then cooled and ground to a fine powder.
This spice powder is the main ingredient that builds your dish. If you do not have time to make your own bisi bele bath powder, you may use a store bought powder which is easily available in Indian stores.
I personally prefer the homemade powder and on occasions I have also made this with MTR powder which works well.
Bisi bele bath is a favorite with my family so I make it often in the instant pot too. I have shared 2 ways to make it in the IP. For more details my notes in the recipe card.
How to Make Bisi Bele Bath (Stepwise photos)
1. I prefer to cook rice in pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook rice and dal together or separately until the dal turns completely mushy. If using pressure cooker, rinse ¾ cup rice in a bowl. Then pour 1 & ¾ cup water. Place this bowl inside your cooker.
2. I cover the rice bowl with a plate. Then pour ½ cup toor dal to another bowl. Rinse well a few times and pour 1 cup water. Cover the dal as well. Pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles on a medium flame. Both rice and dal must be soft and fully cooked.
Make Bisibelebath Powder
Skip this section if using MTR powder. These proportions work great hence I suggest sticking on to the quantity mentioned. These spices and lentils have to be roasted on a medium to low flame to get a deep color without burning. This gives a good color to the final dish.
3. While the rice cooks, Make the bisi bele bath powder. On a low flame, dry roast 1 teaspoon chana dal, 1 teaspoon urad dal & 4 red chilies (low heat variety) until dal turns golden.
Then add 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves & 1 marati moggu (optional). When they turn aromatic remove to a plate.
Add 1 pinch methi seeds & fry. When they turn aromatic, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 tablespoon dried coconut (optional). Roast these until aromatic and turn off.
7. Squeeze the soaked tamarind and extract the tamarind water. Keep 2 to 3 tbsps of this aside little. In case we need more it can be used later. Add ½ teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons jaggery and stir well until the jaggery dissolves. I prefer to filter it to a bowl to remove debris from tamarind or jaggery.
8. Add the ground bisi bele bath masala powder and mix well. Set this aside. Adding the dry powder directly to the pan usually ends up in lot of lumps. So I mix it well with the jaggery and tamarind water then pour it.
Make Bisi Bele Bath
11. Add 1 teaspoon ghee or oil to a hot pan. When the ghee turns hot, add
8 shallots (or 1 medium cubed onion)
½ cup chopped carrots
4 french beans chopped to 1 inch
¼ cup chopped capsicum
¼ cup green peas. Then fry all of them on a medium high flame together for 3 to 4 minutes until the raw flavors goes off.
16. Add 1 ¼ cup water to the pan. Stir and mix everything well. Taste test this and add more salt, bisibelebath powder, jaggery or tamarind as needed. Simmer on a low flame until slightly thick yet of pouring consistency. This is the right consistency of bisibelebath.
17. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan. Add 10 cashews, 1 broken dried red chili, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add 1 sprig curry leaves and 1 pinch of hing.
19. Pour this to the cooked rice dal and stir. Karnataka style bisibelebath is ready. As the name says bisi – meaning hot, this has to be served hot. It will thicken upon cooling, so to adjust the consistency you can pour some hot water.
1.To make bisi bele bath, you can use store bought powder or make your own. MTR brand works the best. I am also sharing an easy bisi bele bath powder recipe that smells great and is aromatic to give that authentic touch.
You can also make this powder good enough for a month or two by following this bisibelebath powder recipe.
2.Rice and dal can be cooked together or separately. I like to make my dal mushy but not the rice, so i cook the rice grainy but fully cooked.
I also cook them separately so that the rice doesn’t get mushy but the dal is cooked to smooth which gives the creamy & smooth taste to the bisi bele bath. If you like to have both mushy, then you can cook rice and dal together.
3.Bisi bele bath is one of those special vegetarian dishes which is made even on occasions like festivals or when we have guests home. If you are making it for a crowd prepare the bisibelebath powder 1 to 2 days ahead. Make the dish very gooey as it thickens over time.
4. If it turns too thick after few hours. Then bring some water to a rolling boil, then add 1 tbsp ghee to it. Pour this to the bisi bele bath and stir. If needed heat it. This helps to bring the dish to right consistency. Avoid pouring cold water.