This might not be one of the most popularly known Indian recipes. Most of you (and by that I mean non-Indians) probably have never heard of it. The Indians reading, of course, have- and probably have horrible stomach upset stories related to this dish.

So why am I sharing it today?

Because for the last three nights this is what are dinner has looked like. And whether or not there are bad experiences surrounding this dish, it is one of the most beloved comfort food cooked in Indian kitchens.

And I don’t know if its because of eating this at night or just a reduced appetite because of what happened on Thursday, I am feeling lighter and have lost 1 kilo in 2 days. Since Thursday I have actually lost 2 kgs! But I know once I am back to eating properly (which I am, as of today), those kilos lost will be gained again! But hopefully they will be gained in muscle and not fat.

Khichdi is something that was made in our household when either my brother or I got sick. More often than not it was the latter. I was a very sick child. No puns intended here. It was a given when my father went out of town on temporary duty (TD), that night I would have high fever that would run for two days. Luckily our neighbour was a doctor and he would get late night panic calls from my mother. Once I got so sick with a fever of 104 and completely delirious that I was unable to recognise my mother. My father had to be called back from his TD to tend to his very sick daughter (to clarify again-the physically sick, not the mental kinds). After numerous such cases we paid a visit to a renowned pediatrician in Delhi, he diagnosed that my resistance was low and put me on the ayurvedic Septilin– after that I kept much healthier.

There were still times that I would get food poisoning or upset stomach, especially after a round of gol gappas from the roadside vendor. That’s when my mom would make khichdi for me.

The word khichdi literally means hodgepodge or mishmash. Rice and lentil are cooked together to form a mushy light dish. That description might not make it sound inviting but it is a complete one-pot meal. The rice provides the carbohydrates, the lentils provide the protein, and if you add vegetables you get some vitamins and minerals and fiber. Topping it with some gheeย (clarified butter) provides the right amount of fat and calories, which are as essential in your diet as any other food group.

Khichdi is one of the first solid food that babies are introduced to. Its fed to infants to introduce them to grown up food. And as mentioned before, it is the food given to the sick (physically sick, not mentally). The warmth and aroma of just-cooked khichdiย  helps in building up the appetite of somebody who has lost it because of illness.

While having it the other day, V mentioned that there are four friends of khichdi. I could guess three. Ghee. Pickle. Curd. For the third I was clueless. He finally had to tell me the fourth is papad (pappadum). For lots their is a fifth friend too- kadhi. But in our household the fifth never featured.

Whatever friends you choose make sure curd and pickle are among them.

The best part of Khichdi though is that it takes about 15 minutes to get cooked, especially if you have a pressure cooker. And if you make it the way I do, there is no chopping also involved and…and..just one utensil- only the pressure cooker gets spoiled. By the way I hate washing the pressure cooker. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why we don’t eat dal on a daily basis. There are just so many components to wash and it will not go in the dishwasher. But, that’s besides the point here. The point here is you should definitely try this dish.

Besides Khichdi being perfect for times when you are ill, its also great for times when your stomach is fed up of eating heavy food on a daily basis. I generally make it when V and I have been on too much of an eating out spree (mostly after our Phoenix trips). Or when we have have been having back to back parties to attend where a lot of rich food has been served and eaten. It is a great detox food for the stomach. Light to digest. Since it is also very low in masalas, when compared to a standard curry or pulao, it makes it very easy on the taste buds and the tummy. I think it would be great after a hangover too!

There are many ways of preparing Khichdi. Some make it dry- the rice and dal separately stand out. Some on the wetter side. Some put vegetables.

I have tried this dish with an initial tempering of some whole spices (cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom), and I have also eaten khichdi with vegetables in them. I have eaten the drier version of the khichdi. But this is the way I like it. Soupy and simple. No spices- just the flavor of cumin highlighting the whole dish. This way it is also the lightest on my stomach- perfect for times when my stomach needs a rest.

Garam Masala Tuesdays: Khichdi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: main, entree, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2-3
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter (use oil if you want to make it vegan)
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ cup rice
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup yellow moong dal/split green beans (check this post- in case you are confused as to how it should look like)
  • about 4.5 cups water (use less in case you prefer a little drier khichdi)
  • salt, to taste ( I add about 2-3 tsp of salt)
  • a pinch asofaetida
  1. Wash the rice and lentils well. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a pressure cooker, heat some ghee. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and asofaetida. The cumin seeds should sizzle.
  3. Once the ghee is fragrant (you will be able to smell the cumin), add the drained rice and lentil. Fry it for a minute or two.
  4. Add in the turmeric, and mix for a few seconds.
  5. Add in the water and salt. Put the lid on let cook for two whistles on medium high. Once the second whistle blows, switch off the gas and let the pressure drop before removing the lid.
  6. Serve with khichdi's four friends- ghee, curd, pickle and papad.


23 Thoughts on “Garam Masala Tuesdays: Khichdi

  1. Rainy day and khichdi .. nothing can beat that! Although it’s not something I make a lot but now looking at that plate .. i am so craving for it!

  2. This looks delicious! I have a nervous stomach, too. I hope you feel better soon! I love cooking with a pressure cooker, but thought you shouldn’t use rice in one because of how small it is! Live and learn, I suppose. Is “two whistles” just two jiggles of the weight?

    • Oh, Indians cook rice in pressure cooker all the time! Just follow the same ratio of rice to water that you use for your rice cooker- 1 cup rice to 2 cups water and in case you making more than a cup of rice you can vary the ratio to 1 cup to 1.5 cups water. Add some salt, if required. I generally cook my rice in the rice cooker (since I HATE cleaning the pressure cooker) but I know everyone back home in India makes it in the pressure cooker. No one even has a rice cooker in India (at least no one I know). And I don’t know what a jiggle is because my pressure cooker “whistles” (haha) but I guess its the same thing as you describe it!

  3. Rice in soup is certainly one of my favorite “comfort” dish. It is not porridge yet it is not soup. I have never tried this dish, like you’ve advised but i realise i tend to love indian food. No matter the types of curry or rice. Except those in TV shows that may involve thousands of mice in the temple running around… ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Radhika on 7 August, 2012 at 10:53 pm said:

    Khichadi had disappeared from my life till the time I had kids, and now it is regular – my kids love it and lap it up every time! And even though it is made for the kids, there is always enough ‘leftover’ for my husband and me to snack on ๐Ÿ™‚ I also make it the way you have described – simple, soupy, with cumin. I also add a small pinch of asafoetida (heeng) to further enhance digestion.

    • Adding asafoetida sounds great because it does enhance digestion. I always under utilize this spice in my kitchen, probably something I get from Mama. Next time I will keep in mind to add it! Thanks Radhika di!

  5. When it comes to one pot meal, khichdi is the answer for me.. I like to use moong dal with husk for it.. In my mom’s house, we generally eat it with papad ki subji and kadhi or roasted papad or papad ki churi. In more indulgent days, some fried homemade potato chips.. But in my in laws place, they have it with dry potato bhurji subji..

    My fav comfort food

    • That’s why I love food and blogging- it sparks so many different memories for different people and blogging is a great way to know about them. Having it with moong dal with husk definitely sounds more nutritious and I was almost going to make it the other day as I was on the last leg of my yellow moong dal stock, but I figured it would be a little more heavy to digest for my stomach. Will definitely try your way now that my stomach is back to regular schedule!

  6. oooh reminded me of the days back home and grand-ma would cook some khichdi..

  7. Sounds a bit like the comfort food I remember when being sick (not mentally of course haha)…. chicken soup with rice inside, that’s how we would eat it. DELISH. This dish sounds simple enough though, Ill have to try it.

  8. Shinu on 8 August, 2012 at 5:54 am said:

    I love Khichdi…so glad it featured on your blog…looks so tempting I’m gonna make it soooon …AND get well soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. dassana on 8 August, 2012 at 1:11 pm said:

    i always make khichdi or pulao when i am short of time. in our homes too we mostly make it when we fall sick or are recovering from sickness… physical.. i mean ๐Ÿ˜‰

    we usually have khichdi with 3 friends – pickle, papad and curd…. ghee become too much:-)

    gorgeous clicks as always.

    • Oh, ghee is my husband’s friend. He can afford the high stake friendship since he is thin as a stick. I, on the other hand, became enemies with ghee long back. We really don’t understand each other- I do like its taste, but can’t handle the baggage it comes with ;)!

  10. Khichdi with ghee/pickle/curd/pappads has always been a treat for me. Bisi bele bhath is another comfort food fave of mine. Have you had it?

  11. Alok cooked Khichdi yesterday, and I remembered reading this post of yours so I gave him a quiz what the 4 friends of Khichdi are ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ He didn’t guess curd ๐Ÿ˜›
    Nisha recently posted..Birthday Surprise for HusbandMy Profile

  12. What type of rice do you use? Do you think jasmine would work?

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