Bisi Bele Bhath – Instant Pot

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Bisi bele bhath is a spicy and flavor packed rice dish that is cooked with lentils, rice, lots of vegetables and aromatic spices! I love south indian food and the flavors of the fresh spices and ground lentils used in various dishes is simply divine. Bisi bele bhath to me is the ultimate comfort food  when it comes to simple home cooked south indian food. Bisi bele bhath, a south indian rice based dish means ‘hot lentil rice’. I must put this disclaimer up-front that I am no expert in south indian cooking and I am sure there are many different ways to cook this amazing dish. Bisi bele bhath or sambhar rice was introduced to me by my friend, Indu few years back. While my kitchen was under major renovation in the midst of cold winter months, Indu would deliver us fresh home made food. One of her mouth-watering dishes is this bisi bele bhath (and yes I love saying this word over and over..ha!) that soon became a favorite in my house. Once my kitchen was all ready, I couldn’t wait to get the recipe from Indu and make it myself. Her suggestion that I always follow is to use hardy vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, cauliflower, beans etc and not the leafy vegetables. bisibelebhath_vegs The spice blend used in this recipe is made by roasting and grinding dried red chilies, coriander seeds, lentils(chana daal), fenugreek seeds and shredded coconut. This spice blend powder can be made ahead of time or a store bought bisi bele bhath spice blend powder would also work. bisibelebhath_ings I usually will rinse my rice and lentils while I get the spice blend and the vegetables ready.  This also allow the lentils to soak in the water for a little and cook much faster. This is a great stove top/traditional pressure cooker recipe that I now love making in my instant pot. As with most instant pot recipes, I always make sure that I have all, I mean ALL the ingredients ready even before I turn the IP on. Here is a video on one pot version of this south indian dish that we love -bisi bele bhath in instant pot:


Although I make this dish in ghee, I love to drizzle another spoonful of ghee on top with a blob of tangy pickle and roasted papad to scoop it with! bisibelebhath in instant pot I love my Instant Pot IP-DUO60 so much that I finally went ahead and partnered with the makers of Instant Pot to bring it to you at discounted price. So go ahead and check out my brand new page – Sharing My Love of The Instant and order yours today!

3.17 from 6 votes
bisi bele bhath in instant pot
Bisi bele bhath in instant pot
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Bisi bele bhath is a spicy and flavor packed rice dish that is cooked with lentils, rice, lots of vegetables and aromatic spices!
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6
Author: Archana Mundhe
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3/4 cup toor daal yellow pigeon peas
  • 1 cup bite sized cauliflower florets
  • 1 red potato cubed
  • 8-10 pieces of drumsticks Indian vegetable
  • 1/2 cup string beans cut into small pieces
  • 2 carrots peeled and slices
  • 1/2 green pepper cut into small pieces
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • cilantro for garnish
  • You can also use pearl onions, pumpkin, squash, etc
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste more or less depending on how tangy it is
  • 2 tbsp ghee coconut oil or any cooking oil for Vegan
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafetida powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • Spice blend:
  • 4-6 dried red chilies I use mild Kashmiri chilies
  • 2 heaping tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana daal
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut dried or fresh
  1. Rinse rice and lentils and keep aside. Wash and chop all the vegetables.
  2. Lightly roast all the spices from the spice blend. Let them cool completely and then grind to fine powder.
  3. Turn instant pot to sauté mode and wait for it to display hot.
  4. Add ghee, mustard seeds, asafetida and turmeric. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add all the vegetables except the cilantro. Mix well.
  5. Add salt, tamarind paste and spice blend powder. Mix well. Add rice and lentils and 6 cups of water. Close IP lid with the pressure value set to sealing. Press the Rice button on IP. Let the pressure release naturally, about 15 mins. Open the IP and stir the bisi bele bhath lightly. Serve hot with a drizzle of ghee, tangy pickle and roasted papad.

26 thoughts on “Bisi Bele Bhath – Instant Pot

  1. Ooh la la!! Yumminess made easier … thank you! Now, if we could just figure out a way to eat straight from these gorgeous pictures 😉

  2. I am so happy to land on your delicious blog, thanks for posting such amazing recipes. Living abroad makes me crave Indian food so much. Although I love to cook, I end up cooking same dishes all the time. I am sure your blog will help me diversify my taste palate with all these awesome dishes.

  3. Archana, I love bisi bele bhat and saying it over and over again too. Love the color of your masala! Yum!
    btw, I got my IP and am trying all sorts of recipes in it too. Love it!

    1. Thank you Sandhya! Congrats on your Instapot! I am sure you must be enjoying the new cooking experience. Can’t wait to see some recipes from you!!

  4. I have to make this right now! What are drumsticks?
    I don’t have curry leaves but I have curry leaf powder. How much should I use?
    I have no tamarind paste. Can I sub something?
    I have no chili peppers. Can I use chili powder? How much? I have everything else.
    Thank you!

    1. Drumsticks are hardy beans they sell I Indian groceries, totally optional. 1/2 tsp of curry leaf powder or skip it. You can add a tsp of lemon juice instead of tamarind paste. And yes chili powder is good. Add 1 tsp first if you like spicy then add more. I think you will love it! Let me know!

  5. Quick and easy one pot comfort food!
    Archana just one issue I have is that your recipe says it serves 6 but actually I made it on 2 occasions already and both the times I could easily say it serves at least 12 comfortably as an entree dish. 1 cup rice +3/4th cup toor dal + 6 cups water + lots of cut up veggies does make for a lot more than 6 serves.

    1. Thank you Kalyani! We possibly overeat this comfort rice dish! With 3 boys in the house, our serving sizes possibly are way too big (yikes) but yes, it can feed a lot more. Thanks for your feedback as always! I am so happy that you are enjoying new way of cooking in the Instant Pot.

        1. Hi Victor, I made this recipe in my 6-qt Instant pot. From what I hear you can easily make 3 cups of rice in the 3-qt. But between the rice, lentils, vegetables and 6 cups of water I think it might be too much for the 3-qt. You can def reduce all the ingredients in half and same pressure cook time if you would like to try this. Let me know!

  6. This looks great!

    2 questions :

    The typical bisibele bath is a lot more mushy with a porridge like consistency! Is it a personal preference to make this a little on drier end?
    Also, to cook lentils I never use Low pressure mode. How did u manage to get it cooked in this mode?

    Thank u in advance

    1. With Low pressure mode, it takes longer for the Instant Pot to come to pressure which allow the daal to soak a bit and so it works well. As far as the texture, yes you can add extra 2 cups of water for a very mushy consistency.

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