Kitchari (also called khichdi or khichri) is a one-pot Southeast Asian dish usually made with split mung beans, rice, and spices. You can find different variations of this dish across the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. It is a simple meal that is meant to be nourishing and easy for the body to digest. That’s why kitchari is often served to babies or cooked when someone is feeling ill. It’s also comfort food for many people.
What drew me in about this dish was how much it reminded me of the jook (粥, congee) that my mom used to cook for the family. Like kitchari, jook is rice porridge that’s easy to digest, so you can serve it to young children or the sick. People also find jook very comforting as it usually evokes memories of childhood.
This particular kitchari recipe comes from Gena Hamshaw’s beautiful cookbook, Power Plates, a collection of 100 nourishing vegan meals. Gena is a certified nutritionist and the talented mind behind The Full Helping, one of my favorite vegan blogs. I was so excited about this cookbook when she first told me about it over a year ago, and I’m glad to finally have a copy in my hands!
For any of you who are interested in incorporating more plant-based meals to your diet, check out Gena’s Power Plates!
COOKING NOTES FOR THE KITCHARI RECIPE
- Cooking Time: The amount of time you need to simmer the kitchari depends on your stove. I simmered it on low for 20 minutes on one of my larger burners and the kitchari was thick (like what you see in the photos). It was exactly the right texture that I wanted it to be. It may take a few more minutes if you are cooking over a smaller burner. If your kitchari is looking too thick, simply add 1/2 cup of water and stir to incorporate. Continue adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency.
- Leftovers: The rice and beans in the kitchari continue to absorb liquids as it cools. If it becomes too thick, add a light drizzle or splash of water to thin it out.
LOOKING FOR MORE RICE DISHES?
- Vegan Jollof Rice
- Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Fried Rice
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Mexican Rice Stuffed Peppers
Easy Kitchari (Spiced Dal with Rice)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 yellow onion, diced (yields about 1 1/3 cups)
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed
- 1 cup dried moong dal* or red lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- chili oil
- lemon wedges
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and toast them until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, ginger, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the vegetables and spices from burning.
- Once the onions have softened, add the salt, turmeric, cloves, and black pepper and stir until the spices coat the vegetables. Add the rice, moong dal, vegetable broth, and water. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer the kitchari for about 20 minutes. After 15 minutes of cooking, check to see if there are still enough liquids in the pot. If you notice that the liquids are completely absorbed by the rice and beans, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water and stir to incorporate.
- Remove the lid and check to see if the rice is tender. If the kitchari is looking too runny, let it simmer, uncovered, for a few more minutes. If the kitchari is too thick, turn off the heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup of water and stir. Taste and see if you need to add a small pinch of salt.
- Serve the kitchari in bowls, along with chili oil, cilantro, and lemon wedges, if you like.
- *I found moong dal at my local Indian grocery store. Red lentils should cook in about the same time as moong dal. Double check to make sure the red lentils are tender before serving.