Vegetable Masala khichdi (Spiced Lentil Porridge)

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This hearty masala khichdi recipe is Indian comfort food at its best! Made with rice, lentils, and veggies, this easy, one-pot dish makes for a complete meal. It is perfect for busy weeknights.

A bowl of Masala khichdi topped with cilantro leaves.
Vegetable Masala Khichdi

What is khichdi

Khichdi (pronounced kich·dee) is mildly-spiced rice and lentil-based dish with a soft texture. Most Indians would consider it their comfort food.

While traditional Indian dishes like biryanis and pulao are often textured with very little liquid remaining in the dish, khichdi is actually quite mushy. Extra water is added for a porridge-like consistency. This makes masala khichdi a soft food that is perfectly suited for young children and those who are not feeling well.

History

The dish we commonly refer to as masala khichdi dates back to at least as early as medieval India and likely much further back.

Throughout its history, khichdi was primarily made using rice, moong dal (split green gram), salt, and a few whole spices. However, ingredients can vary greatly by region, time period, and even household.

Some alternate names for khichdi include:

  • Gujarati masala khichdi
  • Masala dal khichdi
  • Masala wali khichdi
  • Kishri
  • Khichri
  • Vegetable khichdi or veggie masala khichdi

With many regional specialties, including:

  • Bhuni khichuri
  • Bhog’er khichuri
  • Bisi bele hulianna
  • Bisi bele bhath
  • Alamgiri Khichdi (contains fish and boiled eggs)
  • Amla khichdi (made with gooseberries)
  • Balaee khichdi
  • Garhwali khichdi
  • And many others!

Khichdi in various countries

While khichdi is a primarily Indian dish, like so many traditional dishes, it transcends borders, and many other countries have their own versions. Those countries include:

  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • Nepal
  • Britain and other UK Countries: After colonization, this became a popular food with the British, and they now have their own heavily adapted version called kedgeree.

About this masala khichdi recipe

A few years ago, I shared a khichdi recipe that was mild yet flavorful but had minimal spices. This is different thanks to the use of spice powders and veggies.

Don’t worry; it is not spicy, just spiced – you can still feed it to your toddlers and small children. They’ll like the soft texture, and the veggies will help make it a complete meal.

What I like most about this recipe is that it is a great way to use up all the veggies in your refrigerator.

Health benefits

Vegetable masala khichdi has many health benefits, all depending on how you make it and what you add to it. It contains protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, making it a satisfying and healthy meal.

This rice and moong dal dish also lends itself well to customization – meaning you can add extra vegetables or even sprouts to make it more nutritious.

Reasons to love this recipe

  • Comfort food at its best – Perfect for toddlers or for when someone is under the weather.
  • Nutritious -Loaded with veggies, protein, and carbs, masala khichdi is a complete meal.
  • Versatile – It can be made with any lingering veggies in your fridge. You can mix up the lentils too. For a vegan version, replace ghee with avocado oil.
  • Quick and easy one-pot meal – It takes only 20 minutes to make.

Here’s what you need to make the recipe

Ingredients for Masala khichdi
Masala Khichdi Ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Short-grain rice: sona masoori rice, surti kolam, ambe mohar, etc., is traditionally used. Basmati rice does not mush easily, which is why it is not recommended. If you want to use brown rice, increase the cooking time to 22 minutes if using an Instant Pot.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need onion, green chilies, garlic, and ginger.
  • Spices: Cumin seeds (jeera), black peppercorns, hing (asafoetida)
  • Ghee: This is traditionally used, but you can use avocado oil if you want it to be vegan.
  • Vegetables: What vegetables are included may vary by region or even what you have available. I recommend chopped tomatoes, peas, carrots, and beans for the base recipe.
  • Spice powders: To add flavor, you’ll need salt to your taste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and chili powder.
  • Water: This is added to give the masala khichdi a thin, porridge consistency.
  • For serving, you will need some garam masala, cilantro leaves, and additional ghee (if desired).
Masala khichdi in a bowl served with water on the side.
Masala khichdi restaurant-style

Tools

Instant Pot

Variations and substitutions

  • Increase the warmth of this dish by using whole spices such as whole black peppercorn (5-6), cloves (2), bay leaf (1), and cinnamon stick (1 one-inch stick). Add these spices once the cumin seeds have started to sizzle.
  • To save prep time, you can use frozen veggies such as beans, carrots, and corn. No need to thaw!
  • Mix up the veggies – I like to make Pav bhaji masala khichdi by adding potatoes, cauliflower, peas, capsicum, and 2 tablespoons of pav bhaji masala.
  • You can also add leafy greens such as spinach or kale.
  • Try different lentils – instead of moong dal, use toor dal (pigeon peas), split green mung dal, or masoor dal to mix it up.
  • Add more flavor by substituting water with vegetable broth.
  • For a vegan and gluten-free recipe, skip asafoetida and replace ghee with any vegetable oil.
  • Make a spicy masala khichdi by increasing the chilies in the dish.

Prep ahead and storage tips

Since khichdi is such a simple and easy dish, there is really not much you can do to prep ahead. If you need to make it ahead, I would recommend preparing the entire dish and reheating it when you are ready to serve.

Alternatively, you could prepare by chopping the vegetables and placing them in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.

Refrigerator: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezer: If you would like to freeze your leftovers, you can do so, and they will store well for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Reheat: As your khichdi cools down, it will thicken slightly. Add a few tablespoons of water to help get the same consistency when reheating.

Serve it with

Serve this masala khichdi restaurant style, piping hot with pickle and raita. Here are the ones I recommend:

  • Cucumber raita – cooling Indian raita made of grated cucumber combined with creamy yogurt and cilantro and tempered with curry leaves.
  • Boondi raita – crispy chickpea flour balls soaked in spice-infused creamy yogurt.
  • Cucumber tomato raita – this yogurt-based accompaniment is perfect for balancing any spice and heat in your dish.
  • Onion raita – this easy recipe is made with ingredients you have at home and is ready in less than 5 minutes. 
Pink circle with light bulb

Frequently asked questions

Can I use brown rice while making khichdi?

Yes, you can use brown rice to make khichdi. If you choose to do this, be sure to increase the cooking time to 22 minutes if using an Instant Pot, as brown rice takes longer to cook.

What is the rice-to-lentil ratio to use in khichdi?

The most common ratio to use is a 1:1 rice-to-lentil ratio, but you could also add just slightly more rice than dal if you prefer the texture of more rice.

How much water to use?

The correct ratio is 1:3 – For every combined cup of rice and dal, use 3 times the water.

What kind of lentils/dals can be used?

While moong dal is the most common lentil/dal to use in khichdi, you could try using toor dal (pigeon peas), split green mung dal, or masoor dal to mix it up.

Other Instant Pot Dal recipes to try

  • Ven Pongal – This South Indian breakfast recipe made from rice and lentils is a great way to start your day.
  • Dal fry – A classic Indian recipe from my Mom’s kitchen adapted to be made in the Instant Pot.
  • Dal Tadka – A one-pot recipe that is easy to make, healthy, and delicious.
  • Instant Pot Moong dal – This one-pot, 5-ingredient meal is easy on your stomach and is perfect for all ages.

Masala khichdi with veggies recipe

A bowl of Masala khichdi served with rice.

Vegetable masala khichdi recipe

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This hearty masala khichdi recipe is Indian comfort food at its best! Made with rice, lentils, and veggies, this easy, one-pot dish makes for a complete meal. It is perfect for busy weeknights.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Pressure building time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Diet : Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup moong dal
  • ¾ cup sona masoori rice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, jeera
  • 5-6 black peppercorns, optional
  • teaspoon hing , asafoetida [optional]
  • 1 cup chopped onions, optional
  • 1-2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, optional
  • 1-inch ginger piece, grated, optional

Veggies

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped beans

Spice powders

Serve with

Instructions
 

  • Transfer rice and dal to a medium-sized bowl. Rinse them until the water runs clear. Set them aside.

Pressure cooker method

  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and black peppercorns.
  • When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add asafoetida and cook for 2-3 seconds.
  • Add onions along with green chilies, minced garlic and ginger. Saute them for 2-3 minutes till the onions soften.
  • Add tomatoes, rinsed rice and moong dal, veggies, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Saute for about 2-3 minutes.  
  • Add about 4.5 cups of water and mix well.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and place the vent on it. Cook the khichdi in the pressure cooker till the vent or whistle goes off 4 times. Set it aside to cool until the lid opens easily.
  • If using garam masala, now is the time to stir it in.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves. Top it with ghee (optional step).
  • Serve hot with a side of curd and pickle.

Instant Pot method

  • Add oil in the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to "low" and wait till the display reads "Hot.”
  • Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and black peppercorns.
    2 tablespoons ghee or oil, 5-6 black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add asafoetida and cook for 2-3 seconds.
    1/8 teaspoon hing 
  • Add onions along with green chilies, minced garlic, and ginger. Saute them for 2-3 minutes till the onions soften.
    1 cup chopped onions, 1-2 green chilies, slit lengthwise, 4 garlic cloves, minced, 1-inch ginger piece, grated
  • Add tomatoes, rinsed rice and moong dal, veggies, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder and cumin powder. Saute for about 2-3 minutes.  
    3/4 cup moong dal, 3/4 cup sona masoori rice, 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup green peas, 1/2 cup diced carrots, 1/2 cup chopped beans, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, salt to taste
  • Add about 4.5 cups of water and mix well.
    4.5 cups water
  • Press "Warm / Cancel" button and then select "Pressure Cook." Adjust the time to 10 minutes and pressure selection to high or alternatively select the "Porridge" setting. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position.
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally.
  • If using garam masala, now is the time to stir it in.
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves. Top it with ghee (optional step).
    1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Serve hot with a side of curd and pickle.

Notes

Substitutions and variations – Please review the post for various ways to make this recipe.

Prep ahead and storage tips

Since khichdi is such a simple and easy dish, there is really not much you can do to prep ahead. If you need to make it ahead, I would recommend preparing the entire dish and reheating it when you are ready to serve.
Alternatively, you could prepare by chopping the vegetables and placing them in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
Refrigerator: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezer: If you would like to freeze your leftovers, you can do so, and they will store well for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheat: As your khichdi cools down, it will thicken slightly. Add a few tablespoons of water to help get the same consistency when reheating.

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 73gProtein: 18gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 206mgPotassium: 1061mgFiber: 10gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 4080IUVitamin C: 105mgCalcium: 283mgIron: 10mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : Indian porridge, Khichdi in Instant Pot

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