Basic Khichadi

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Khichadi is one of those meals that is a great basic to know. It is made with cheap and easy to find ingredients, (rice and lentils) and is really hard to mess up. Overcooked the rice? Turn it into soup! Undercooked? Just add a splash of water and steam it. It is also what mom used to make us when we felt sick, to give us some comfort. And right now, comforting food sounds just about right.

Khichadi is basically when you cook basmati rice and lentils together. Almost like a Pakistani version of the Jamaican rice and peas. You can use any sort of lentils you like. My mom normally makes khichadi with channa daal (split pea) or split moong daal, and J’s mom makes it with whole moong daal (mung beans).

You can also cook khichadi two ways: First, is to cook it as you would regular rice. Adding the regular amount of water as you would to cook your rice, and cooking both lentils and rice together. Or the second way, is to cook with more water to thin it out so that the rice and lentils break down and turn into this lovely thick soup. When I was younger, my mom would always make us the soup version of khichadi when we were sick, because it is very easy on the stomach. To this day there is nothing more comforting than eating a big bowl of khichadi with a big dollop of yogurt.

The sindhi twist that I like to add is a tadka (oil infusion) right before serving the khichadi. This gives it more depth of flavour, and makes it more than just your average bowl of rice and lentils. It is also a great way to refresh day old rice or khichadi.

You can do this two ways: if you make the soupy version of khichadi, just heat up some oil and add garlic, spices and cook for 30 seconds till fragrant then pour this oil mixture over top of the khichadi before serving.

Or, if you make the dry, rice version of khichadi, use a large pan to heat the oil garlic and spices, then and spread the cooked rice over the infused oil, cover and cook on low till rice gets golden brown and crisp. Flip onto a plate and you have a delicious garlicky crispy khichadi!

Traditionally khichadi is served with yogurt, or raita and some sort of veggie, like a spinach or mix veg dry curry. But I like eating my khichadi with some sindhi potatoes.

For this recipe, I made my khichadi in the instant pot and it was very easy and hands off so I highly recommend it. Or you can cook it on the stove top (directions are included in the recipe notes below).

Have you had khichadi before? How do you like to eat your Khichadi? Tell me what you think if you give this recipe a go!

Basic Khichadi

An easy basic rice and lentils recipe made with simple and inexpensive ingredients with a sindhi flavour twist (Instant pot and stove top option)
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Soaking Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6

Ingredients

For the Khichadi

  • 4 cup basmati rice (I use a sella aka aged basmati)
  • 1 cup dried moong daal (whole mung bean) -also works well with channa daal or split moong daal
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups water* (plus more for soaking & rinsing)

For the Tadka

  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds (pula zeera) or cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 fresh green chilli -optional, if you like a bit of spice
  • pinch salt

Instructions

For the Khichadi

  • Rinse and soak the lentils and rice for at least 4 hours.* Make sure you add plenty of water (about 2-3 inches above the level of the ingredients) as they will absorb a lot of water.
    (If I am planning on having khichadi in the evening, I will normally start soaking them in the morning when I wake up, so they get a good 6-8 hour soak before I start cooking in the evening.)
  • When you are ready to start cooking, drain and rinse the rice and daal one more time.
  • Place the washed rice and daal in your instant pot, add 1 1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon stick and 5 cups water. Cover, seal, and cook on the rice setting. (See stove top variation in notes below).
  • When rice is ready, start the tadka.

For the Tardka

  • In a large frying pan or wok, heat 4 tbsp oil, add the 2 tsp caraway seeds (or cumin seeds), 2 tsp minced garlic and allow to cook for 30 seconds till fragrant and garlic starts to brown, add a pinch of salt and a layer of the cooked khichadi to fill the pan.
  • Cover, and let cook on low heat till the rice starts to turn golden brown at the bottom (About 10 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, and carefully flip over onto a serving plate and serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or raita!

Notes

Soaking helps reduce the phytic acid in your lentils (which can cause gastric issues, if you know what I mean!) and reduces the amount of water you need to cook your khichadi later.
You can cook without soaking the rice and daal, but you will need to adjust the amount of water you add when cooking – add at least 1 more cup of water for dry version, and you can add more than that for the wet version (depending on how thin you want your khichadi).
For Stove Top Variation:
Place the rice and daal in a large sauce pan, add 1 1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon stick and 5 cups water. Allow this to come to a boil on high. Once it starts boiling, reduce to medium and let the rice simmer till the water is almost completely absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). Rice and lentils should be starting to soften, if not add a cup more water and let it cook uncovered till they start to get soft. Cover, turn the heat to low and allow to steam for at least 10 minutes.
For the soup version of khichadi:
Add 2 more cups water during the cooking – total of 7 cups water. Or add more if you like it thinner. Once cooked, the khichadi will thicken the longer it sits, so if you are making ahead and reheating, you will need to add more water to help thin it out again.

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