Meditation on Food #1(Bisi Bele Bath)

Ladle oil into a rice cooker and Let it get hot; Sprinkle a teaspoonful of mustard seeds and let it crackle; Sprinkle a teaspoonful of urad dal and watch it turn golden in color; Tear a few curry leaves and drop them into the cooker along with a fistful of peanuts to give the dish a slightly nutty texture; Gently drop a chopped onion and let it get translucent; Now throw in lots of other chopped veggies like carrots, green beans, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes (In other words, almost-empty the refrigerator.); You don’t have to wait until they cook;

Spoon tamarind paste and add Bisibele bath powder (more or less depending on the spice level you can handle.) into the mixture; Sprinkle salt; Finally add rice and toor dal along with lots of water for them to cook in and turn into mush (I add brown rice instead of white to make this dish healthier than it already is. It also makes it toothsome. And to a cup of rice I add 3/4th of a cup of toor dal); Cook.

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Simple. Bisi bele Bath has “comfort food” written all over it- it is easy to prepare and a bowl of it is just what you need when you are down and under. You’ll remember your mom and how she set everything right, no matter how small or big your problems. I say, treat yourself to this warm, spicy, chewy, healthy goodness and thank the mothers in your lives who save and pass on traditional recipes.

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