Khichiri: Indian rice and beans

Khichiri is the Indian version of rice and beans. For me it is the perfect comfort food. It is also supposedly very easy to make, but for the longest time I was terrified to make it. All because once when I was younger my Mom asked me to make dinner since her and my Dad were going out for the day. Then she said the fateful words: “Just make khichiri–you can’t mess that up, it is the easiest thing to make.” Well, it turned out that I left out the salt and the turmeric, which gives the khichiri its lovely yellow color, and we ended up eating a tasteless, colorless mess of beans and rice. Turns out you can mess it up.

A few months ago, I finally screwed up the courage and asked my Mom for the recipe. She was right; it is easy to make. Since then, khichiri has become a weekly meal in our house. We usually have it on Sunday evenings and I eat the leftovers throughout the week. We often have it when we return home from a trip and there is nothing in the house except rice and beans.

Growing up my Mom would add potatoes to the khichiri while it was cooking, but nowadays I throw in whatever vegetable we have in the house (spinach, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, chard…apart from butternut or gem squash I throw almost anything in).

Moong dal

Rice and moong mix

Tumeric, ground cumin, whole cumin, and crushed red chili powder

But what elevates khichiri from a boring dish to a delicious out-of-this-world meal is chaas–a lassi-like yogurt sauce. If you haven’t had chaas you do not know what you are missing. It is so delicious that my Dad drinks the leftover chaas on its own.

Cooking the cumin in butter--we didn't have ghee in the house

Chaas--tastes much yummier than it looks

Khichiri recipe

1 c yellow moong dal (You can find in Indian stores, but if you don’t have you can also use yellow split peas).

1/2 c rice (if you prefer a more rice-y dish you can make it with 1 c rice, but the greater bean ratio ensures that the khichiri is risotto-like in consistency which I prefer)

3 1/2 -4 cups water (possibly more if you are using yellow split peas)

1/2 t turmeric powder

1/4 t red chili powder

1/2 t salt

Mix moong dal and rice together and wash. Add water and put over high heat. Once water is boiling add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt. Turn heat to low once water is boiling. Cook until rice and beans are fully cooked and have become risotto-like in consistency. If the beans are not fully cooked add more water.

Chaas recipe

2 c low-fat yogurt

1/2 c water

1/2 T ghee (clarified butter) or butter

1/4 t salt

1/2 t ground or whole cumin

1/4 t crushed red chili powder

Mix yogurt, water and salt together until completely blended. Consistency should be like a thick milkshake. In a small pan, melt the ghee. Once melted, add in the ground or whole cumin. Add red chili powder once the cumin has started to brown. Stir for 10 seconds and then pour into yogurt mixture. Stir.

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8 Responses to Khichiri: Indian rice and beans

  1. Nasreen says:

    Hmm….my mouth is watering just reading about your khichiri. Love this blog!! In SA, we also regard khichiri as a good old staple, basic dish that’s mainly reserved for family instead of guests. There’s an old saying that when your hosts bring out the khichiri, its time to leave!
    We also eat it a bit differently I think. I grew up eating khadi-khichiri with pink salmon chutney…yum! We cook basmati rice with oil dhall (not moong dhall) the same way you do but then instead of chaas we make khadi where you blend together lots of coriander, green chillis, garlic, cumin seeds and salt. In a separate pan you saute finely cut onions with cumin seeds and then you throw in the coriander mixture and finally, you throw in low fat plain yoghurt. You can thin it out with some water if needs be. Eat this together with the kichiri and some kind of tomato based chutney. Yum!
    cant wait to read your next blog!

    • Aw! Thanks. It is funny, we have khichiri with khadi too (I plan on making khadi another post) but we make our khadi a little differently. But interesting how the same dish is made so differently in different parts of the world and I would venture to say in different households. Can’t wait to hear how your khichiri turns out.

    • Nasreen says:

      so I made khadi-khichiri last night and discovered I forgot to mention the most critical step in the making of the khadi….you have to whisk the yoghurt with a tablespoon of chickpea flour before you throw it into the pan with the green chutney mix. And you season the final dish with salt and a bit of sugar.
      It was delicious. We ate it with salmon chutney ( I know you don’t do the fish thing but the combination of acidic tomato chutney with salty-sweet khadi and rice) is just amazing….
      4 year old K ate two bowls full of khadi and announced that it was “quite spicy” but very delicious!

      Thanks for the dinner idea. So whats next??

  2. Ayesha Ally says:

    Yummy!…… can have a kitchri party with all these variations. I have some fond memories of kitchiri. My dads favourite food….and a dish that sustained him in his last days 😦
    We eat kitchri differently…….we mix equal quantities of basmati and whole green moong dhall and boil it in salted water till both ingriedients are super soft and all the water evaporates…….to this u add a braised onion prepared in a blob of ghee and sprinkling of jeera and serve it with plain youghurt and fried poppadums……hmmmmm 😉

  3. Sandra says:

    We need a pic of the final product! Kiwi?

  4. Sital says:

    Funny. I thought I was the only one who had ever messed up khichiri. I did the same thing forgetting the tumeric and salt and have been hesitant to cook it since. Thinking of making it for my parents when they come back. Very timely recipe. Thanks!

  5. Ashmita says:

    My grandma makes amazing khichiri. You should add the recipe for chaas as well.

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