Masala Khichdi

Masala KhichdiA popular one-pot meal that’s cooked in just about every Indian home is a khichdi or a khichari, and those are not the only names it goes by. It’s khichuri in Bengali, pongal in Tamil, khichri in Gujarat, and kedgeree in English (yeah, as in the language spoken by the Brits). Although the Brits, somewhere in transit, made an unnecessary addition – fish — to a recipe whose vegetarian deliciousness really needs no gilding.

Today, we’ll take this recipe back to its roots but we’re going to do so with flair. A khichdi, at its most basic, is a pot of rice and lentils cooked together and it can be starkly plain (lentils, rice, salt, period). But the version I have for you today has, as the name suggests, a melange of flavorful spices and it’s enriched by the goodness of a ton of fresh vegetables. Even better, I make it with brown rice.

Masala KhichdiOne of the reasons I love Masala Khichdi is that it is a true one-pot meal, not one of those dishes that pretends to be one-pot and then asks you to, erm, please serve me with this side or that or I’m just not going to taste that good! When you make a Masala Khichdi, you can rest assured that all you need is a spoon and a bowl. And if you decide to make the wise decision of serving up some poppadums alongside, well, good for you!

You can also add all kinds of veggies to the khichdi– really, use what you have on hand.  I used sweet potatoes, eggplants and green peas because I had those around, but carrots and zucchini would be great here.

Before I move on to the recipe, I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you who have written in recently to say you’ve cooked the recipes, or just to say hello. Your emails and the messages you leave on the blog are much valued and I read — and am thrilled by — each one. You inspire me to keep going and learning what you like helps shape Holy Cow!

Enjoy the recipe!

Masala Khichdi

4.0 from 3 reviews
Masala Khichdi
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups brown rice
  • 1 cup moong dal
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ cup tomato puree or 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup finely chopped coriander or mint leaves
Instructions
  1. If you have a pressure cooker, heat oil in the pressure cooker.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and when they sputter, add the onions and curry leaves.
  3. Saute, stirring, until brown spots appear on the onions.
  4. Add the ginger and saute another minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, cayenne and coriander powder. Mix well and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato puree darkens a couple of shades and bubbles at the corners.
  6. Add the vegetables. If you're using frozen peas, don't add them now.
  7. Add the rice and lentils.
  8. Mix everything well together, then add six cups of water or vegetable stock.
  9. If you're cooking in a pressure cooker, cover now and let the khichdi cook for 20 minutes after the cooker comes to pressure.
  10. On the stovetop, if not using a pressure cooker, bring the water to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook 45 minutes or until the rice and lentils are really soft. Add more water if needed at any time. You want the khichdi to have a slightly runny consistency, like a risotto. It shouldn't be too dry.
  11. Open the pressure cooker or pot. If you're using frozen peas, add them at this point and stir the khichdi well. Add the garam masala and salt and return the khichdi to heat to let it warm through.
  12. Garnish with the coriander or mint leaves.
  13. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 288 Fiber: 11.9 grams Protein: 11.4 grams

 

Comments

  1. Ambica says

    Khichdi is my ultimate comfort food. I can’t wait to try out your version – it reminds me of bisibele bath.
    Ambica

  2. Shani says

    Yum! This is very similar to my mum’s recipe. It is the ultimate comfort food!! She doesn’t add veggies though- I will have to try that! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE your blog :)

    • says

      Dear Shani, thanks for your lovely message and kind words. So glad you wrote. :) And yes, this really is the ultimate comfort food, isn’t it? Best part is, it’s so simple.

  3. says

    For the pressure cooker instructions, when do we add the rice? Do we add them with the vegetables? I’m hoping to try out this recipe soon. It looks fantastic!

  4. Meena says

    hello Vaishali,
    Tried this khichdi for lunch this noon. very very nice; extremely simple, nutritious and comfort food. Everyone including my son loved it. He usually enjoys rice with chips; today he said this was so good by itself he didn’t feel the need for chips…:-)

    Thank you so much..appreciate bloggers like you taking time and effort to make and share these recipes…

    Meena.

    • says

      Hi Meena, so happy you and your family liked it! And so great that I passed the kid test. :) Thanks for taking the time to let me know– I appreciate it! :)

  5. MrsJennyK says

    I was excited to try this recipe, as my vegan son is coming for a visit and I thought this would be a wonderful homey meal to serve. I went to my local co-op thinking it wouldn’t be hard to find the right ingredients there. LOL! I was wrong! No moong dal… hmmm I bought regular old green lentils. No curry leaves…. hmmmm I looked up some substitutions online and figured I’d use bay leaf instead. They did have brown rice but I thought some nice basmati would be good. I don’t have eggplant but do have a few zucchini in the fridge that need to be used. Everything else I have.

    Sooo… it seems I’m not really making the original recipe at all! Do you think my substitutions will work? Since I’m using white rice should I lessen the amount of water or shorten the cooking time or maybe add the lentils later? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • says

      Hi Jenny, white rice is fine– use only four cups of water instead of six, and if the khichdi is too dry once cooked, just add some more water to give it a risotto-like consistency and reheat. Cook the rice and lentils together, just like I did with the brown rice. The other substitutions are fine. It’s the spices that give this khichdi its flavor, and so long as you use the rest of the spices you should be good. Green lentils would work perfectly well, and bay leaves are commonly used in Indian cooking so although they are not the same as curry leaves, they will work well here.

      • MrsJennyK says

        Thank you so much for your quick reply! I’m making it this evening, so your advice is very helpful. I’ll come back and let you know how it turned out. :-)

        • MrsJennyK says

          We had it for dinner last night and it turned out great! Everyone gobbled it up, including my carnivorous husband. My 3-year-old twins each ate two big bowls. I’m looking forward to finding some moong beans and trying this again some time!

  6. Suba says

    Hello Vaishali,
    Thanks a lot for this recipe. This is the first time trying one of your recipes though have bookmarked this one a while back. My one year old got cold n had resisted solids for a couple of days now. I tried this recipe and he loved it a lot. Thanks again! I was desperate to find recipes that I can feed him. I am planning to try other recipes from ur site. Thanks again n again for making me a happy mom :)

  7. Noodle says

    I’m always on the lookout for a good khichdi recipe. My 7 yo will not pick out the veggies and my 10 month old likes it too. I can wrap up dinner with just one meal for everyone. Yours turned out great and my 7yo has asked me to feature this in the lunch menu for next week :) I can’t tell you enough how much I love your recipes. I have tried many of them (the others were given a pass only because I can’t get some of the ingredients in Bangalore!) and they all are easy, delicious and feed my soul. Thanks for sharing, Vaishali.

    • says

      Hi Noodle, thanks for that lovely message and for your encouraging words. So thrilled you tried the khichdi– and thrilled even more that your 7-yr-old liked it. :) If you ever have questions about substituting for any ingredients you can’t find in Bangalore, feel free to ask.

  8. Suchitra says

    This Masala Khichdi was out of the world. The spices all work great together and everyone in the family was asking for seconds. Thank you!!

  9. Paul says

    Hi Vaishali,

    Just made this for dinner tonight here in New Zealand, and it was outstanding, with a resounding thumbs up from us all here!

    So many vegan dishes we have made lately have been bland and uninspiring, this recipe is certainly not that :)

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  10. says

    Vaishali, I love this kichidi:) Never made it before but my memory was kick started after a meal at a newly opened restaurant nearby. I didn’t really google for the recipe…thought I’d check here and sure enough, you had a recipe:) Surprised everyone at dinner tonight:)
    For some reason I can’t seem to rate it…I give it a 5!

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