Khichdi, a dish from the Indian subcontinent, is made with rice and lentils. In the south of India, it is called Pongal. It is wholesome, mildly spiced and is easy to digest. Khichdi has a creamy porridge like consistency. It is a comfort food to some, a staple for others and a dish prepared on religious occasions in some cases.
For me, it is most definitely comfort food. Growing up, Sunday nights used to be and continue to be Khichdi nights. Just the incredible aroma of the ghee roasted ginger and onions is enough to get me salivating. These days, when I am out of vegetables in my pantry or cannot think of what to cook, dear old khichdi comes to my rescue, and it never disappoints. In fact, when my husband comes home after a long day or work and workout, he throws everything in a pot while he freshens up. From start to finish, this is a meal under 30 minutes.
Khichdi has evolved and many variations are seen today. The variations are based on flavor differences across the many Indian states, spices and most recently, a variation in lentils and grains used for the preparation.
As someone who is not much of a rice eater, I have replaced the rice with quinoa, a more nutritious grain, and it beautifully complements the moong dal (petite yellow lentils), which are traditionally used in khichidis. It is a one-pot meal perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch.
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||15 minutes|
Grains and Lentils
- Quinoa – 1 cup
- Moong Dal (Petite Yellow Lentils) – 1.5 cups
- Onions – 1 medium, finely chopped
- Mixed vegetables of choice (Optional) – 1 cup, chopped
Spices & Herbs
- Ginger – 2 tbsp, crushed
- Jeera (Cumin Seeds) – 2 tsps
- Green Chillies – 5-6, finely chopped (Feel free to add more or less depending on your spice tolerance)
- Hing (Asafoetida) – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – As per taste
- Haldi Powder (Turmeric) – 1 tsp (Optional)
- Cilantro – A few sprigs, finely chopped (For garnish)
- Ghee (Plain) – 2 tbsp (Recommended for great flavor)
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode.
- Add ghee and jeera.
- Once the jeera splutters, add the chopped ginger and onions. Saute until the onions are translucent
- Add the green chilies and saute for 1 minute
- Add the quinoa, yellow moong dal and water
- Add salt and mix well
- Cancel the saute mode. Turn on the pressure cook mode and set the timer to 15 minutes under high pressure. Close the lid and make sure the vent is closed
- After the cooking time is complete, manually release the vent and open the lid
- If the khichdi is thick, feel free to add some water to loosen it up. Completely your choice. Don’t worry if it is too mushy, that is the right consistency for a Khichdi
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and cashews and serve piping hot
Cooking and serving suggestions
- A pressure cooker can be used for the recipe too. The cook time will be about 5-6 whistles
- If using the stove-top method, soak the moong dal for 30 minutes and then follow-up the above method. It will greatly reduce the cook time
- The Khichdi is best served with a a drizzle more of ghee on the top and with a side of yoghurt or pickle
- If vegan, eliminate the ghee and use regular cooking oil
- The petite yellow lentils can be replaced with sprouted mung beans, black lentils or other lentils of your choice
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