Chana dal khichdi

This is festival staple and come bhai-dhooj, it would be made in our household year on year, along with halwa. That reminds me that I haven’t made halwa for ages, primarily due to our dietary restrictions, but will do one sometime soon. It makes me so nostalgic, the fresh aroma of cooked dal and rice and the tadka and the ‘sibling love’ for the day; we would keep all differences aside and be good as it was bhai-dooj Pooja. The next day, is another story- fighting all over again, totally not the same brother and sister!

For those who don’t know what the festival is, it is a prominent Indian festival that celebrates the love of brother and sisters. The sisters do ‘tilak’ and Aarti (prayers) for long and prosperous life of the brothers. My kids, being two girl siblings, haven’t ever celebrated it but I realize that they will not know this lovely festival; so this year on, my girls will do tilak to each other.

This simple khichdi can be easily dressed up with accompanying pickles, relishes, chutney’s and popadoms to make a meal fit for kings.


Prep Time: 5 Mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins
Recipe Level: Easy

Spice Level: Mild

Serves: 4
Shelf Life: Eat fresh. Refrigerate upto 2 days
Serving Suggestion: With yogurt, chutney, pickle and papadum.


A wide mouth sauce pan, fry pan, chopping board, knife, hand grater and serving plate


  • 150 gms Chana Dal
  • 250 gms rice 
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves, small
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 black pepper 
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 medium sized onions, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp organic ghee
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dry long red chilli


  1. Wash and soak Chana dal for 2 hours.
  2. Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes.
  3. Place the sauce pan on low flame and add 1/3 tbsp ghee and cumin seeds and then the whole spices (star anise, bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, cloves). Roast till fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add grated ginger garlic and cook for 2 minutes till the raw fragrance smells cooked.
  5. Saute the the onions in a separate pan in 1/3 tbsp ghee till golden/ light brown with some charred bits.
  6. Add salt, coriander powder and garam masala.
  7. Add the soaked dal and 3/4 of the sautéed onions. Add double the amount of water (300gms). Cover and cook for 8-10 mins.
  8. Open the lid and check if the dal is cooked half way through (soft on the outside and hard inside, press a piece in pincher grasp to check)
  9. Add soaked rice and double the amount of water. Cover with lid. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  10. Open and check if the rice and dal is cooked. If so, remove the lid and dry the remaining water else cover with lid again and cook for another few minutes
  11. In a small sauce pan, add 1/3 tbsp ghee and mustard seeds, when they pop add the curry leaves and dry red chilli. Add the saved sautéed onions. Roast together for a minute.
  12. Plate the khichdi and garnish with the tadka before serving.


  • One can avoid the onions all together and the khichdi still would taste great however I prefer the onions as we don’t use a lot of masala’s or chilli in the preparation.
  • Rice cook better in wide open mouth utensils as they fluff up well.

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