Khichari - an Indian One-Pot Meal

Heidrun Kubart
by Heidrun Kubart
4 Plates
45 min

Khichari is a delicious and very digestible Indian one-pot meal that mainly consists of rice, vegetables, and lentils. This protein-rich Ayurveda recipe is easy to prepare and also very healthy. Khichari has a beneficial, digestive, and cleansing effect, which is why it is also known as a detox dish. Regardless of whether you want to do a 3 day ayurvedic cleanse, or just want to eat something delicious and easily digestible: Khichari is a great thing and has been a meal I have come to love and cook for some time.

Did you know that Khichari is probably one of the oldest dishes in India? There are mentions that go back to the 14th century. And there are reasons it is still cooked hundreds of years later …🤤

Khichari - an Indian One-Pot Meal
Recipe details
  • 4  Plates
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or another neutral oil like rapeseed oil)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • Ginger, 1 thumb-sized piece
  • optional: 1 chili cut into fine rings or some chili powder (amount depending on the desired spiciness)
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • some fresh black pepper
  • 5 cups of water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of yellow lentils (moong dal)
  • ½ cup (basmati) rice
  • 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables that you have at home. e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, pumpkin, some tomato, celery stalk, spinach …
  • If you like: fresh coriander, (coconut) yogurt, some soy sauce and / or Tabasco

Wash the lentils and rice (you can do that in a colander at the same time) until the water is quite clear.
Peel the ginger and grate it finely.
Now prepare the vegetables: wash them, peel them if necessary, and cut them into small pieces.
Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the whole spices (cumin, fenugreek, and mustard seeds) and the pinch of asafoetida for about half a minute. Be careful not to burn them.
Add ginger, chili, turmeric, and pepper. Stir and sauté for a few seconds. If you are using tomatoes for your khichari, add them now and fry them as well, for about two minutes.
Now add rice, lentils, vegetables (if you use some spinach: add it towards the end of the cooking time), water and salt.
Stir and simmer on low heat for about 35 minutes. Check in between and stir so that nothing burns. The consistency of your khichari shall be like porridge.
If you like, cut fresh coriander and add it at the end of the cooking time.
Sometimes I like to serve (coconut) yogurt with khichari. And definitely some soy sauce and sometimes Tabasco as well. I love the salty and sour aroma with lentils.
  • You can replace a part of the water with vegetable broth, but then use less salt.Kitchari thickens very quickly: add some water when you reheat it.
Heidrun Kubart
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  • Ruheena Ruheena on Mar 23, 2022

    Khichri is cooked just with rice and lentils mixed together. Vegetables with rice in it is called vegetable pulao. It should not be like porridge and soggy but the water should be enough to cook rice and lentils together and they should come out separate not sticking together.

    • Heidrun Kubart Heidrun Kubart on Mar 23, 2022

      Dear Ruheena, thanks a lot for taking the time to comment on my recipe and for clarifying the name. It is true that Khichri is basically lentils and rice. Maybe "Khichari with Vegetables" or "Vegetable Khichari" would be a more appropriate name? I have also seen "Masala Khichari" containing vegetables.

      It's definitely not a Pulao.

      I believe that it is a flexible dish that is cooked differently, depending on where in India you are. Like there is not the one original recipe, like for "Sachertorte" for example. And also not one way to write the name, I saw so endless variations.

      Google images is full of khichdis with vegetables if you only look for khichdi. But I am open for suggestions if it does improve the recipe/its name. :-) Thank you!

  • Nandini Nandini on Mar 22, 2023

    Kichri in southern India is called Pongal and it’s just rice and lentils seasoned with cumin seeds. Asfoetida, turmeric , cashews and coconut

    in the north I have seen people add vegetables sometimes.