Dal Khichdi

Lentils and rice cooked with turmeric, cumin, chilli & curry leaves

Dal Khichdi

We’ve had a few weeks of Indian monsoon over the last few months and nothing better than to indulge in something hearty and comforting on a cold muggy day when all you want to do is stay in and devour something delicious.

I’ve had my share of summer sunshine travelling away to Europe last month. Although travelling away always makes yearn for Indian food. The cooking and eating gives me equal pleasure. My kitchen is that familiar space,  home is where I feel I belong and cooking the food I inherently love is what makes feasting on it so very worthwhile. The first meal when I’m back is usually Khichdi as its simple to cook, wholesome (just what we need after a week of indulgent food!) and so delicious. It’s raining since I’ve been back home and this khichdi is just hug in a bowl I need!

I use toor dal which is my preferred dal variety for Dal khichdi; its easy to digest and also cooks quickly. You can swap it for moong dal if you prefer. I’ve also used basmati here although any short grain rice would be good too.

A good risotto must include butter and cheese, for me khichdi is like an Indian risotto where ghee is what makes it so comforting and delicious. It gives a lovely smoky flavour the dish as well. Use oil for cooking if you prefer but finish the dish with a little ghee at the end.


  1. Soak the rice and dal in plenty of water for 20 minutes. Drain and add both to a sauce pan along with 1.2 litres of warm water, turmeric and asafoetida.

  2. Bring to a boil and simmer over a low heat cooking the dal and rice for 35 minutes with the lid half on. Make sure to stir ever so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  3. Once cooked turn the heat off. Cool slightly and using a potato masher mash roughly. You still want a few grains to be left whole. Set aside

    Dal Khichdi (2)

  4. In a heavy bottom large sauce pan heat the ghee or oil over a medium flame. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves and cumin seeds fry for a few seconds.

  5. Now add the curry leaves followed by the onion. Fry for 3-4 minutes until it goes light brown. Stir well and add the green chilli followed by the ginger paste and garlic paste and fry for a minute.

  6. Add the tomato and continue to fry over a low heat for 4 minutes; as they begin to soften add the chilli powder and stir well.

  7. Add the mashed dal and rice and season the khichdi. Stir, add water and simmer on a low heat for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, garnish with coriander and rest for a few minutes. Serve warm with crispy papad, mango pickle or yoghurt.