Creamy Lentil "risotto" (Kichdi)

"This is my version of my mom's recipe that was made for us so often while growing up. This is sort of the Indian cousin of the risotto, since the rice grains are not separate but cooked to a porridge-like consistency. It is immensely flavorful even in the simple version I have written, but you can make a heartier version by adding extra veggies to it too. My mom used to add carrots, potatoes, and peas to it sometimes. It's delicious with pickles or a simple vegetable curry, but can be eaten by itself with a dab of butter to make it even more creamy. You'll find there is nothing too distinctive about the ingredients in this recipe, but the technique of cooking is what makes this dish decidedly different from regular pilafs etc."
photo by AaliyahsAaronsMum photo by AaliyahsAaronsMum
photo by AaliyahsAaronsMum
photo by eatrealfood photo by eatrealfood
photo by eatrealfood photo by eatrealfood
Ready In:




  • Rinse the rice and lentils in several changes of water, and let soak for 1-4 hours. Drain.
  • Add enough water to cover the lentils and rice by 1 inch, and bring to a boil (try to remove any foam that may rise to the top during this process).
  • Reduce heat and add turmeric and salt.
  • Cover and let simmer on LOW heat until rice and lentils are tender, about 30mins.
  • Keep checking to see if water needs replenishing, you don't want it to dry out. Stir often so it doesn't stick at the bottom.
  • Keep adding water till rice is overcooked (grains no longer separate) and you have a thick porridge-like consistency. (You have to play it by ear and add water to thin the consistency or increase heat for a thicker mixture).
  • In a small saucepan, heat ghee and then add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cumin seeds.
  • When they are fragrant and splutter, add the onion and garlic and cook till onion is softened.
  • Pour this mixture into the lentil-rice mixture and stir to combine well.
  • Just before serving serving, drizzle with lemon juice if desired.
  • (Note: This dish is best served hot immediately. It will thicken a lot as it cools, so if you plan to reheat it, add more water as you reheat it, till it's a soupy consistency again).

Questions & Replies

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  1. I have made this twice now. The first time I made this, I didn't add any veggies and it was okay, but not outstanding. This time, I added carrots, potatoes, and peas (peas at the very last second) and it was wonderful. I didn't grow up eating Indian food, so I can't compare it to other dishes, but I love lentils and am always looking for new ways to prepare them.
  2. This brings back memories! My Mum used to make Khichdi too when we were kids. I had some veggies (carrots and cauliflowers) in a bowl on the side that I wanted to add in the last 10-15 mins of the cooking time, which I forgot about. So I had to add in some more water for the veggies which made it super mushy! It's completely my fault. But it tasted great nevertheless! And my DD loved it too! Thank you, eatrealfood, for sharing this wonderful recipe, I will definitely be making it again! :)
  3. Sorry, but none of us liked it. Despite all the great spices, it just was too bland. Maybe I did something wrong....
  4. Comfort food at it's finest! This was absolutely delicious. I cooked it in lots of butter and lots of water so that it was really mushy. Before serving I stirred in more melted butter just to make it a bit richer. I left out the cloves because I'm not too keen on them. Thanks Varsha for reminding me just why I love Khichdi so much :)
  5. I just love this rice preparation! All the time making it I kept thinking I would need an accompaniment with it, but I added some potatoes and carrots as per your suggestion and it was excellent as is, I kept eating. The hint about adding butter is a bit wicked though, since I added more than a "dab". Much easier to make than it looks too.


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