Khichdi or Kitchri is an easy indian comfort meal made with rice and lentils. It is super simple to make, healthy and nourishing to the body. I grew up eating many kinds of khichdi made with a combination of different kinds of lentils and rice but this version made with red lentils and rice was made quite often.
Depending on how much time you want to spend, you can make khichdi either in an instant pot, pressure cooker or make it slow cooked. I go for the slow cooked version mostly because I like the consistency and the creaminess of slow cooked khichdi, however, any way you choose to make it, like most lentil & rice dishes, it is super hearty and an absolute comfort food.
What is Dal Khichdi?
Every cuisine has its comfort food, and khichdi is one of the most loved comfort food for Indians. It could be the health benefits (ease of digestion) or how easy it is to make, khichdi is very popular in indian homes.
Khichdi is made by boiling rice and lentils (red lentils or mung lentils or chana/urad lentils etc) together with turmeric and salt. Sometimes few spices are added and well as depending on how different homes like it, vegetables like potatoes or peas are also added. Everything is cooked till it resembles a runny porridge and is often tempered with garlic or cumin seeds and served warm.
Khichdi is considered as one of the most healing or restorative foods as per Ayurveda. Lentils are superfoods that can balance all the dosas (shortcomings) in the body. Due to ease of digestion and how minimally spiced khichdi is cooked, it is considered one of the best foods for people have gut issues.
What are the Ingredients Needed to Make Khichdi?
You need very basic ingredients from your pantry. Lets discuss them one by one :-
Lentils :- In this recipe, I used Masoor Dal or red lentils since this was the most common type of khichdi that was made in my home. However you can easily swap the red lentils with yellow moong dal or split green moong dal. If using yellow moong dal, dry roast them slightly before using, it gives a nice flavor.
Rice :- For the best consistency of the khichdi, I suggest using any starchy short grain rice. I use gobindbhog/kalijeera rice and it is easily available in Indian stores. However, my grandmother used to use tukda basmati rice which is simply broken grains of basmati rice. I don’t find it here at my indian stores but if you do, go for it. Please don’t use brown rice since its husky and takes away the smooth texture of the khichdi.
Ghee :- Use ghee for cooking khichdi as well as for making the tempering. Ghee is one of the most healthy fats and helps in maintaining gut health a well as enhance the taste of this simple dish. You can see recipe of my homemade ghee here. However for plant versions, you can simply use neutral oil.
Spices :- While the khichdi cooks, I spice it simply with minced ginger, hing, turmeric powder and black peppercorns. Before serving, I make a tempering of garlic, cumin and red chili powder (optional).
You can also use bay leaf, clove or cardamom to add more flavor.
How To Make Dal Khichdi?
Slow Cooking Method :-
Start by simply tempering and then boiling the lentils and rice together to a heavy bottom pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 25-30 minutes or longer depending on how long it takes for grains to cook. Keep stirring often, it makes the khichdi creamy by breaking down the starches of the lentils and rice.
Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker Method :-
Temper and add the lentils and rice to the IP or Pressure cooker with 3 times the water to begin with. Close the lid and pressure cook. For the quantities mentioned in the recipe, on medium heat, it takes about 8 minutes in an Instant pot and 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker. Let pressure release naturally in both cases, add more water an cook a little to adjust the desired consistency and then proceed to adding tempering.
How to Serve Khichdi?
In most homes, khichdi is served with pickle, papadums, and slightly tart yogurt. In Bengali cuisine, then serve it with omelete and fried potatoes or vegetables (bhaja). You can also make a simple potato curry like this one here and serve alongside. Chutneys and a quick salad also pairs quite well.
Variations of Dal Khichdi :-
Masala Khichdi :- Saute 1/3 cup of chopped onions with the ginger and add 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder and 1/4 tsp red chili powder (or to taste).
Vegetable Khichdi :- Add 1 to 1.5 cups of mixed vegetables to make vegetable khichdi.
Spinach Khichdi :- Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped or torn spinach while the khichdi is boiling.
Few tips and tricks while making khichdi :-
- Always start with a optimum quantity of water at the beginning as noted in the recipe. Later as needed or depending on the consistency you desire, add warm water and mash the khichdi.
- Don’t add too many spices. Khichdi should tastes of lentils and rice and its supposed to be a mellow dish.
- You can add 1-2 chopped green chilies to the tempering that goes on top if you like to add a little heat to khichdi.
Khichdi Recipe (Dal Khichdi)
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon hing powder
- 2-4 black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 3/4 cup short grain rice, (I use gobindbhog)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 4-5 cup water (depending on desired consistency)
For the Tempering on top
- 2-3 tablespoon ghee
- 7-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
- Rinse the lentils and rice at least three times or until the water runs clear. Add to a bowl and pour 3 cups of water and let soak for 30 minutes.
- Heat ghee in a heavy botton pot with lid(or IP or Pressure cooker).
- Add minced ginger, hing and black peppercorns to the warm ghee and saute for few seconds. Add the onions and cook them for a couple minute until translucent and starting to turn light brown.
- Add the soaked lentils and rice along with the water. Sprinkle turmeric powder. dd another cup of water. Stir well and taste the salt. Adjust salt.
- To slow cook :- Bring to a boil, cover and let cook for 20-35 minutes until lentils and rice are soft. Stir often and mash using back of spoon while the khichdi cooks. Adjust consistency with warm water as desired. Add tempering before serving and mix. Serve warm.
- To cook in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker :- Close the lid and pressure cook. For the quantities mentioned in the recipe, on medium heat, it takes about 8 minutes in an Instant pot and 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker. Let pressure release naturally in both cases, add more water an cook a little to adjust the desired consistency and then proceed to adding tempering.
- Heat up ghee in a small sauce pan and on slow heat brown the garlic. Add cumin seeds and crackle. Switch of the stove and add the red chili powder. Add to the Khichdi.