Satisfaction in a Bowl: Basic Version of Indian Lentil-n-Rice ‘Khichdi’

Sometimes, all one craves is a simple home cooked meal; one that literally cooks itself, using a few pantry and refrigerator staples.

Basmati Rice and Moong or Mung Lentils are Basic Ingredients for Indian 'Khichdi'

Basmati Rice and Moong or Mung Lentils
are Basic Ingredients for Indian ‘Khichdi’

Almost a generic term for comfort food, India’s favorite ‘Khichdi’ (pronounced and spelled in a variety of ways based on the tongue being spoken), in its many avatars definitely fits the bill.

Khichdi in its most basic version is a combination of basmati rice and moong/mung lentils, with minimum spices and aromatics, simmered in a covered pan till the rice and lentil grain is well cooked.

It’s a bowlful of delicious warm goodness served just as-is. The butter at the end of the cooking process is my touch to this recipe, one that gives unbeatable flavor and glaze to Khichdi. Often, vegetables are added to this rice and lentil preparation to create a heavier meal, making our Khichdi recipe a blank canvas, ready for your creativity.

Classics vegetables added to Khichdi include fresh or frozen peas, spinach, diced carrots, onion or potatoes. Or change it up and throw in a handful of Brussels sprouts, zucchini, butternut squash or kale to create your own signature Khichdi version.

With Minimal Spices and Aromatics, Indian Khichdi is a Bowlful of Satsfaction

With Minimal Spices and Aromatics, Indian Khichdi is a Bowlful of Satsfaction

Personally, this satisfying daal-n-rice mélange is my go-to meal for days when all I need is a warm bowl of Indian goodness, a no-fuss one pot preparation that can be brought together, in under half an hour.

As the warm steam from a freshly prepared bowl of Khichdi rises to meet your senses, I promise you a meditative meal for the soul like none other.

Indian Rice-n-Lentil 'Khichdi'
Serves 4
An Indian comfort food, ‘Khichdi’ is a basic combination of basmati rice and moong/mung lentils, with minimum spices and aromatics, prepared in one pot till the rice and lentil grain is well cooked.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup basmati rice
  2. 1 ½ cups yellow moong/mung lentils
  3. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (3-4 cloves garlic & 1 inch ginger, grated))
  6. ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  7. 2 teaspoons salt
  8. 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  9. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions
  1. Wash the rice and lentils together in a colander. Soak the rice and lentil grains in 7 cups of water in a bowl and leave aside till required.
  2. In a deep sauté pan with a tight fitting lid, heat the canola oil and add cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste and ground turmeric to it. Fry the aromatics and spices for a minute, and then add the measured rice, lentils and water to the pot along with salt.
  3. Mix the Khichdi and let it come to a boil uncovered. Reduce the flame to medium-low, cook covered for 15-20 minutes till the rice and moong/mung grains are cooked to your desired texture; stirring a couple of times in the last five minutes to make sure the rice and lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Taste for salt, adding more if required.
  4. Off the flame, while still hot, sprinkle fresh cilantro and butter over the rice-n-lentil Khichdi. Keep covered and serve the steaming hot Khichdi in a bowl along with your favorite pickle or chutney.
Note on Adding Vegetables to Khichdi
  1. Slower cooking vegetables like potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts can be added to the Khichdi along with the rice and lentils at the start of cooking. Quick cooking vegetables like frozen peas, zucchini, red peppers, spinach and kale should be added in the last five minutes of cooking.
Note on Consistency of Khichdi
  1. Consistency of Khichdi varies around India, with each region and ethnicity having their ideal texture and consistency. To reach your desired consistency, add water to the mixture as required and check for salt based on the liquid being added.
Peri's Spice Ladle http://www.perisspiceladle.com/
A One Pot Meal to Feed the Entire Family, Indian Rice-n-Lentil Khichdi Literally Cooks Itself, Using Few Pantry and Refrigerator Staples

A One Pot Meal to Feed the Entire Family,
Indian Rice-n-Lentil Khichdi Literally Cooks Itself, Using Few Pantry and Refrigerator Staples

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Comments

    • says

      Oh yes, no better way to use lentils and any rice variety would work here as long as its not too starchy, since the grain is pretty much crushed up in a Khichdi. Happy experimenting! Thanks for trying it…

  1. says

    This looks so good. I have only had authentic Indian food once, at a county fair where an Indian gentleman was cooking up food that gave off lovely aromas. I don’t even remember what I ordered, but it was good and I recall yellow rice. I love rice dishes, lentils are fine. Together they look delicous.

    What does moong/mung refer to? I remember getting mung bean eggrolls at a little cart tended by a Cambodian gentleman outside the library I worked during the summer farmer’s markets. I was so sad when fall came. Is it the same, the lentils referred to as beans in some places, or is moong/mung a term for something else?

    • says

      The simplest ideas are the most difficult to figure out:) dal and rice is an Indian food staple, and khichdi brings it a together into a one pot meal…though moong dal is the key here, other types of lentils take much longer to cook as compared with rice, so they are best cooked separately!

  2. says

    One of my favorites! My room-mate from college, who is Gujarati, used to make this for me all the time! I thought it had more spices that I wouldn’t be able to find, but now I will definitely make this! Thanks Peri!

    • says

      Actually Khichdi used few spice touches and instead depends on the flavor of ginger and garlic for taste:) And really simple to make, I think the toughest part is waiting for it to finish cooking:) Thanks!

  3. says

    oh yes….not only everything you say it is, but it is THE food recommended in India for people recuperating from disease, surgery and women after childbirth, and is the main source of nourishment during Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detox and rejuvination therapy) treatments . I also like to grate in carrots and sweet potatoes and some diced tomato. For all those who have never tried it, really worth the few minutes it takes to put this up to cook!! :-)

    • says

      So true, Jane, the many avatars of ‘Khichdi’ make this versatile dish also one of the most popular ones across India. I’ve been served a steaming bowl of Khichdi in Mussoorie, way up in North India and in Chennai, down in the southern part of the country! The vegetables and uses of Khichdi change but the moong/mung lentil is one of the lightest lentil varietals, which helps with recovery, digestion and recuperation, also the reason why brown rice is not used in Khichdi, its much heavier for the stomach to handle than white rice. Thanks for your vote on Khichdi, I’m with you, its worth trying out for anyone who wants a simple healthful no-fuss Indian meal:)

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