Khichri with Red Lentils


1 c masoor dal (red split lentils)
1 c rice (preferably basmati or patna, but any long grain white rice)
1 t cumin seed
1 t brown mustard seed
4 T minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t tumeric
1/2 t red chili powder, like cayenne (opt)
2 t coriander powder
1 t cumin powder
1T salt, or to taste
2 T vegetable oil
Ghee (or melted butter), cilantro, chopped peanuts for garnish (opt)


1.Soak the lentils and rice in water to cover by an inch for an hour, if you have time (not
necessary, but improves cooking). Rinse and drain anyway.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and mustard and cook for a few seconds
un(l the mustard seed begin to pop.
3. Add the onion and garlic and cook a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the other spices
and any additional vegetables (see note below).
4. Add rice and lentils and stir. Add five cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat
and cover. Simmer twenty minutes or until the rice and lentils are done. (If begins to dry
out, add more water.) This should be pretty wet. Allow to sit off heat, covered, another 5

Note: Remember, this should be a “mushy mess” not a fluffy pilaf. Some cooks add a
little warm ghee (melted butter works) and some chopped cilantro on top to finish. In the
food processing course, the women also were encouraged to add peanuts for more
protein. For a “wet” khichri, as it would be eaten in Jharkhand, add another cup of water
in step 4. (This version is pretty “wet” as is, but still edible with a fork.) You may also
add up to 1 1/2c sautéed, blanched, or frozen (thawed) diced vegetables such as carrots,
cauliflower, green peas, chopped greens, or a mixture, in step 3. If using vegetables, add
1/2c more water in step 4. This should feed 6 or more at a potluck.


Notes and Instructions

This is the real national dish of India, eaten twice a day by many. Depending on the region and the cook, it can be prepared with a variety of pulses (mainly, types of lentils) and may be “wet “ (soupy) or “dry” (more like a pilaf, but still “mushy”). The women of Dheki Tola were taught to make it with red lentils, which are cheaper than other varieties there.
The word (also appearing as “khichdi,” “khitchri,” “khitcheri”) means “hodge‐ podge,” “mess,” or “chaos” and has come to beused for everything from government foibles to silly movies, according to Nupur at One Hot Stove.

Khichri is a food served to the ailing and small children and considered a humble comfort food
by those who are able to eat more richly—sort of an Indian grits and gravy! I’ve adapted
Nupur’s recipe, which she calls “Khichdi,” to fit with what Dr. Mishra has told me about the way
it’s done in Jharkhand. Khichri could be an accompaniment to curries, but it is more typically
eaten as the main dish with a vegetable pickle and roti. It can be made and reheated the next
day—and even improves a bit as the flavors develop. You may need to add a little more water in
reheating and watch for sticking.