South Asian Rice and Lentils/ Khichri

Khichri, a dish consisting of rice and lentils, is the epitome of South Asian comfort meals.  Just like any other comfort meal, Khichri can be prepared in a number of ways.  Some people, like my Mummi, cook it with mung beans and to a mushy consistency, while some people, like my mother in-law, cook it with green mung beans and like a pilaf.  Khichri can be eaten plain, with yogurt and mixed pickles on the side, or with any curry.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that was taught to me by my mother in-law, Ammi.  She is known in her circle of friends for her amazing cooking skills, and I have been very fortunate to have learned a number of things from her.  This recipe is very basic, and can easily be customized to one’s preferences.  Enjoy!





Ammi’s Khichri 

Yield: 2 – 3 Servings 


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup split mung beans with husk/ green moong daal
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 small pieces cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups boiling water


Combine rice and mung beans in a bowl and soak in cold water for at least 2 hours.

In a large vessel, warm oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté until transparent.  Add cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and black cardamoms and cook for a few minutes.  Add ginger-garlic paste and salt and cook until the oil begins to separate, 3 to 5 minutes.  If the mixture is sticking to the pot, add a splash of water.

Drain rice mixture and add it to the simmering spices.  Mix well and add boiling water.  Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes without disturbing the rice.

Remove from heat and allow it to sit undisturbed for an additional 15 minutes.  Stir and serve.



8 responses

  1. Sorry I’m so late commenting…this was the last week of school and a few other things have just made the last couple of weeks busy..Khichri looks yummy! My mom’s is very different…her’s is yellow and has masoor ki daal. It’s not mushy at all. My husband makes a mushy kichiri…but what he calls kichiri we call gulati (just minus the garam masala). Growing up we only ate gulati when we had diarrhea so I prefer to stick to my mom’s version 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m just riding high right now on the discovery that when it comes to daal, “less (spices) is more”. I finally stumbled upon the best masoor dal recipe ever! All this time I was trying to throw all that and the kitchen sink into the mix spice-wise, and it all tasted ugly. As it turns out, good tasting lentils require very little spices. Simple spices, and simple tempering render good lentils. But big on taste. Turns out I was over thinking the spices and adding too much.

    • Thanks Denise! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do (maybe even more!) 🙂
      I totally I understand where you’re coming from about throwing a bunch of things together. You’re right too though, most Pakistani dishes have a LOT of spices! It’s totally understandable to think that lentils would require a bunch of spices too! I also used to add a bunch of things whenever I cooked lentils, then I learned from my in-laws that when you use less in lentils, it really shines through. I think most of the flavor in dals comes from the tempering of the onions at the end however.

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