Easy Khichdi Recipe

Recipe developer and registered dietitian nutritionist Kristen Carli, MS RD tells us that "khichdi is the simplest ancient dish that comes from South Asian cuisine, largely served in India and the surrounding countries." Khichdi has many different variations to its baseline although most are very slight. The dish's long history has left the foundation of this classic meal virtually unchanged because its perfect formula needs no adjustment. At its essence, khichdi is a warm and flavorful comfort food full of delicious ingredients including lentils which provide a hearty source of plant-based protein.

Khichdi is a quick one-pot recipe to put together and it uses staple items from your pantry and fridge, so you will likely be able to make it in a pinch for a warm weeknight meal. You'll be glad to find this classic recipe in your regular dinner rotation, and it can easily be tweaked to include your favorite seasonings to further solidify this staple in your household.

Gather your ingredients for this easy khichdi recipe

To get started, first gather up all of your ingredients. You are going to need olive oil, cumin seeds, a bay leaf, ground turmeric, crushed ginger, canned green chilis, diced Roma tomatoes, a yellow onion, dry white jasmine rice, dry yellow lentils, water, and salt. One convenient aspect about this dish is that everything is going into one pot, cutting down on cooking time as well as dirty dishes. So grab a big pot and you're ready to start cooking!

Toast seasonings in the oil until they are fragrant

Set your large pot on the stovetop over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric, and ginger. Sauté for about 1 minute or until the spices are deliciously aromatic. Carli notes that "sautéing the spices first allows for a more powerful flavor [in] the overall dish." This will give the spices an added element of brightness, so it's a great technique when using dried spices as opposed to fresh herbs.

Add green chilis, tomatoes, and onion

Once your seasonings are toasted, add the canned green chilis, fresh tomatoes, and onion to the pot and stir everything well. Sauté for about five minutes or until the onion is translucent. Your pot is going to smell so delicious by this point thanks to the addition of the vegetables. Now that you've created the base of flavor for this warm and comforting recipe, you're ready to add a few remaining ingredients to simmer for the bulk of the cooking time.

Simmer the rice and lentils, then serve

Before adding the rice and lentils, Carli recommends "to rinse them well with a mesh strainer as this will rinse off the excess starch from the rice and any remaining debris from the lentils." Now, add the rice, lentils, water, and salt to the pot, stirring to combine everything. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the contents simmer for 20 minutes to finish. Serve this tasty meal immediately either as a main course or side dish. 

The dish has many regional variations, and you can definitely serve it with extra vegetables or protein. Cauliflower, peas, green beans, swiss chard, and crispy potatoes all pair well with the warm flavors. Or else, toss in chicken, lamb, prawns, or paneer cheese. For added healthy fats and a source of crunch, try including nuts such as almonds or pistachios. 

Origin of Khichdi

Khichdi is derived from the word khicca which means a dish of rice and legumes, according to The Better India. The source indicates that it is one of the most ancient dishes in India, dating back to some time between the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. In many Hindu cultures, khichdi is one of the first solid foods served to babies. The dish is also traditionally served on Makar Sankranti, a Hindu celebration of worship during which people seek blessings for a fruitful upcoming harvest season.

Easy Khichdi Recipe
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Try this satisfying khichdi recipe for an easy vegetarian one-pot dish. Serve this Indian favorite as a warm meal that can easily be tweaked to your taste.
Prep Time
Cook Time
khichdi in bowl
Total time: 31 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chilis
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup white jasmine rice
  • ½ cup yellow lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, pour in the oil.
  2. Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric, and ginger.
  3. Sauté the spices until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the green chilis, tomatoes, and onion and stir well.
  5. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  6. Rinse the rice and lentils, then add them to the pot along with the water and salt and stir to combine.
  7. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
  8. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then serve.
Calories per Serving 265
Total Fat 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.8 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 4.5 g
Sodium 600.2 mg
Protein 9.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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