Moong Dal Khichdi, or Kitchari is a simple dish made with rice and lentils, tempered in ghee with cumin seeds and turmeric. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a perfect comfort meal for weeknights or when someone is under the weather!
Khichdi is a favorite food for my daughters. They also love pongal, which is a South Indian variation of khichdi. Anytime when they are fussy about food, sick or really just anytime, give them Khichdi with yogurt and they will savor it to the last bite!
Khichdi is very light and easy to digest, hence it is also a popular meal during an illness. It is also one of the starter foods for babies for the same reason. However I love to have this khichdi on other days as well to get a break from spices and have a simple comfort meal.
What is Khichdi or Kitchari?
Khichdi is basically a rice and lentil porridge, which is typically spiced with turmeric and tempered with ghee and cumin seeds. It is vegetarian and gluten-free.
Every region or house in India has their own version of khichdi. This is a simple one made with just ghee, cumin seeds, hing (asafoetida) and turmeric. You can vary it by adding ginger or green chili's or even vegetables.
The recipe I am sharing here is the North Indian version of khichdi. In South India, ven pongal is a popular dish made with rice and lentils. It is very similar to khichdi, but spiced with black peppercorns, curry leaves, ginger and green chili's.
Some khichdi recipes have onions, tomatoes or veggies added to them, which I would refer to as Masala or Vegetable Khichdi. This one is a plain simple khichdi with just lentils and rice.
Khichdi, also called Kitchari, is recommended by Ayurveda as one of the balanced foods, which is easy to digest, gives strength and vitality. It is excellent for detoxification and de-aging of the cells. Turmeric added to khichdi has lots of good health benefits. You can add ginger to khichdi too.
Khichdi is great to eat if someone is sick, or has tummy issues. It is also great as part of a cleanse or detox to reset the digestive system after big meals during the holidays.
Did you know there is a name for a khichdi cleanse diet? It is called PanchaKarma.
It is great for babies as their first foods or for elders who needs to have foods that are gentle on the digestive system.
How to make Khichdi?
I have used Split Yellow Lentils to make this khichdi. Khichdi can also be prepared with Split Green Moong dal. As I wanted to make this a one-pot recipe, I added the tempering before rice and dal. Khichdi is best prepared in Ghee or Clarified Butter. You can make ghee in your instant pot using the recipe here. To make this recipe vegan, use your favorite plant based oil or vegan butter.
Rinse the dal and rice in a bowl. You can also soak them for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Heat ghee in the instant pot in sauté mode. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add in equal quantities lentils and rice. I used half cup each in this recipe. Add 4 cups water. Stir in the salt and turmeric powder.
Usually khichdi is cooked in double the water than what you use to prepare rice and has a runny consistency, however you can vary the amount of water to get your desired consistency.
Change the instant pot setting to pressure cook mode for 6 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
Khichdi is ready. Serve in bowls and top with a dollop of ghee.
Khichdi tastes best when it is warm.
Enjoy Khichdi with mango pickle and yogurt on the side.
You can also serve papad and buttermilk (masala chaas) along with khichdi.
Yes, you can store leftovers for up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Let it cool down, then store in an airtight container.
Khichdi does get dry when stored. So add a couple of tablespoons of water per serving before heating to the bowl. Then microwave for 1-2 minutes (varies by quantity). You can also reheat in a pan on stovetop.
Why you want to try this Khichdi:
√ It is real comfort food. Don't forget to top with lots of ghee.
√ You are sick and need to have something light.
√ After a weekend of eating outside, you want a detox meal.
So don't wait and give this Khichdi a try!
You might like other related recipes from Piping Pot Curry:
Instant Pot Khichdi
- ½ cup Basmati Rice washed (125ml)
- ½ cup Split Yellow Lentils (Moong Dal) washed (125ml)
- 1 tablespoon Ghee plus more for topping, or oil for vegan
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- ⅛ teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing) optional, skip for gluten-free
- 4 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- Cilantro leaves chopped, to garnish
- Add basmati rice and moong dal to a bowl and rinse with water a few times till the water runs clear.
- Heat the instant pot in sauté mode and add ghee in it. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
- When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add rice, moong dal and water. Add the salt and turmeric powder. Give it a stir. Then close lid with vent in sealing position.
- Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 6 minutes.
- When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally (NPR).
- Khichdi is ready to serve. Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of ghee, along with a side of papad and pickle.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method
- Follow the same steps as above and cook for 3-4 whistles on medium flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Black Peppercorns
- Grated Ginger
- Green Chili Peppers
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
This recipe has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2017.