Basic Khichdi Recipe (Instant Pot)

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Khichdi—pronounced kitch-er-ee— is a soothing stew made with basmati rice, lentils, ghee, spices, and sometimes vegetables, that has been revered as a healing food in India since ancient times for its wonderful virtue of being extremely easy to digest. 

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Khichdi on a bowl

It also happens to be extremely tasty, as well as extremely easy to make. This basic recipe is made with just 4 superfood ingredients: basmati rice, moong dal, ghee, and spices.

People with digestive issues especially appreciate how good eating khichdi makes them feel. Khichdi is the chicken soup of India, and the congee of China. 

Khichdi is recommended for anyone who’s looking to support their health with real, healthy, home-cooked food, as well as children, the elderly, and the ill.

Khichdi with vegetable topping

Khichdi health benefits 

  • Soothes an irritated digestive tract
  • Anti-inflammatory and alkaline
  • Mildly cleansing 
  • A complete vegetarian protein
  • High in fiber (moong dal)
  • Low in fat, yet still incredibly satisfying
Khichdi on a spoon

What is Khichdi made with?

Khichdi is a well-cooked porridge consisting of moong dal and basmati rice cooked in single pot, and flavored with ghee and gentle spices like ginger, coriander, and cumin. 

There are many, many variations of khichdi. 

You can enjoy it as is, with vegetables cooked right into the porridge, or with cooked vegetables prepared separately and served on the side. 

You can also top khichdi with shredded raw veggies, or other goodies, such as seeds, nuts, chutneys, sauces, and more. 

This is why I created this post for you. There are so many tasty ways to customize this healthy meal for yourself, and your family. 

To get started, you’ll want to get familiar with khichdi‘s four superfood ingredients: basmati rice, moong dal, ghee, and spices. 

Basmati rice

1. Basmati rice

Ayurveda recommends white basmati rice for regular consumption because it is very easy to digest with a relatively low glycemic index. 

Although white rice may have fewer nutrients than brown rice, Ayurveda prioritizes the digestibility of foods.

If you struggle to fully digest and assimilate the nutrients from what you eat, then it is literally going down the toilet. 

If your digestion is strong, you can experiment with using brown rice in khichdi. If you really don’t want to eat rice, you can experiment with quinoa, millet, or even oats instead. 

The best source for basmati rice is rice grown in India. Look for aged basmati rice.

Basmati rice

Aging intensifies the natural taste, aroma, digestibility, and cooking characteristics of the rice grains, and it is the highest quality.

In addition to using basmati rice for khichdi, the impossibly long-grained basmati rice is the best complement for Indian curries and dals of all sorts. 

If you don’t have basmati yet, substitute with Jasmine rice, or any long-grained white rice. 

My basmati recommendations: 

Silver Basmati Rice, by Asian Kitchen

Indian White Basmati, by Pride of India

Dehraduni Basmati Rice, by SWAD (this is what I use, but I get it from my local Indian store, and it is not this costly.)

Yellow moong dal

2. Moong dal

Moong dal is the split, hulled form of mung bean. It is tiny and yellow in color. 

Moong dal is the most commonly used dal for khichdi. 

This split form is preferred because it cooks faster, and it is the easiest to digest.

Whole mung beans are tiny and moss-colored. They are also frequently used.

Mung beans tend to be more widely available in grocery stores. 

Yellow moong dal and mung beans

Mung dal is cited in ancient Vedic texts (over 5,000 years ago) as the “king of dal” for its superb digestibility and balancing properties. 

If you are someone who has trouble digesting beans and lentils, then moong dal and mung beans are your best choice.

If you want to experiment, you can substitute with yellow lentils or red lentils first. Both of these are hulled, so they break down and get mushy. 

If you use the brown or green lentil, these are unhulled, so be aware that they will not break down.  

My moong dal recommendations

Moong dal (SWAD) – this is the one I use

Mung Bean Khichdi (with the tiny moss-colored beans)
Khichdi was almost India’s national dish for a reason! Made from rice, beans, ghee, spice, and vegetables, khichdi is a satisfying choice for lunch or dinner.
Mung Bean Khichdi (with the tiny moss-colored beans)

3. Ghee

Ghee is another one of India’s ancient healing foods. It is made by a process that clarifies butter to remove the water and solid milk proteins from the butterfat, so it is shelf stable and practically lactose free. 

Ghee has an extremely high smoke point (485 degrees) and a heavenly nutty flavor that comes from the caramelization of the milk solids in the process of making ghee.

When making khichdi, spices are cooked in the ghee to release their flavor, aroma, and medicinal properties. 

If you do not have ghee, you can substitute with avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or another vegetable oil of your choice. For a neutral oil, I like organic sunflower or sunflower because it is light. 

Khichdi on a spoon

The ghee that offers the most health benefits is cultured ghee. If you can’t find cultured ghee, choose organic and grass-fed. A cultured ghee is a little more costly than regular ghee, but it also has far more health benefits.

My ghee recommendations

My top recommendation for ghee is Pure Indian Foods

Next, I’ll recommend Ancient Organics Ghee, or Spring Sunrise

If you can’t find these brands, start with what you can find. 

For a vegan khichdi, substitute with olive, avocado or coconut oil.

Khichdi spices

4. Spices

Spices are essential for khichdi, and they are essential for a healthy diet. Spices play the role of supporting your body to digest and assimilate the nutrition from your food. Without spices, your food may feel cold in the body, dull, heavy, and stagnant. 

Knowledge of how to use spices to support your individual body type is at the heart of Ayurveda, and what I do as a health coach. The spices listed in this basic recipe are common and safe for anyone. 

If you have a spice masala from an Ayurvedic source, you can use that to replace the spices listed in any recipe.

Where to buy your spices

The very best place to buy spices is at an Indian grocery store, because this is where they will be the freshest, and the least expensive.

Of course, you can also find spices at any grocery store.

If you go to Amazon, I recommend SWAD brand or LAXMI brand spices. 

Sometimes it makes sense to purchase the seeds of coriander, cumin, and fennel, and then you can grind them yourself into powder using a coffee grinder reserved for that purpose

Khichdi with vegetable topping

Vegetable topping

My very favorite way of enjoying khichdi is with a vegetable topping.

A vegetable topping adds texture, flavor, and nutritional variety to the dish.

Recipe for Green Beans & Fennel Bulb
A simple vegetable side dish. This is the vegetable topping featured on the khichdi in the image above.
green beans and fennel bulb
Parsnips and Carrots Recipe
This parsnips and carrots recipe is a simple side dish with a sweet, pleasing buttery flavor.
Parsnips and Carrots Recipe
Indian Okra Sauté With Red Onion
A dry Indian okra side dish recipe seasoned with turmeric and red chilis, plus three tricks for eliminating okra slime.
Indian Okra Sauté With Red Onion
Indian Spiced Brussel Sprouts
A unique Brussel sprouts recipe made with turmeric, ginger, green chili and cumin. Excite your palate with this nutritious Indian vegetable side dish.
Indian Spiced Brussel Sprouts

Chutneys & other toppings

The most common chutney to have with khichdi is cilantro chutney. The cilantro supports digestion, while also bringing in a cooling effect for the spices.

Cilantro chutney also has lemon, ginger, a bit of honey, coconut, salt and pepper.

I also enjoy a prepared Indian chutney for that authentic taste. Mango and lime is my favorite combination, and not the sweet kind!

See my best pickle recommendation here. I assure you, a condiment like this can be life-changing! Just be sure to only use a little due to the strong taste.

Fresh Cilantro Chutney
Cilantro chutney is a popular Indian condiment you can enjoy with snacks and appetizers (chaat), as well as dal and khichdi.
khichdi in a bowl

Basic Khichdi Recipe (Instant Pot)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 281kcal
Print Recipe



  • 1/3 cup moong dal (soaked; see notes)
  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel powder

to finish

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


Method for Instant Pot

  • Combine moong dal, basmati rice, ghee, and spices in the Instant Pot, along with 3 cups of cold water. Cover with the lid and select “PRESSURE COOK” on “HIGH.” Set the timer for 8 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, check for residual pressure, then open the lid.
  • Hit "CANCEL," then select "SAUTE" and add in your salt, fresh lemon, and cilantro. Stir, simmer 1-2 minutes, then taste. Does it need more salt? Does it need more lemon? Hit CANCEL again as your khichdi is done.
  • Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of black pepper, an extra spoon of ghee, and/or lemon. Enjoy!

Method for Saucepan

  • Combine moong dal, basmati rice, ghee, and spices in your saucepan. Add enough water to cover by about 1 inch.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and let simmer until the lentils are soft and the vegetables are cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check periodically to see if more water is needed. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like.
  • After the moong dal is cooked to your liking, add in the salt, fresh lemon, and cilantro. Stir, simmer 1-2 minutes, then taste. Does it need more salt? Does it need more lemon? Once it's perfect, turn off the heat.
  • Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of black pepper, an extra spoon of ghee, and/or lemon. Enjoy!


Soak and rinse moong dal

Soaking is recommended for 2 hours or more, but not critical, because it cooks quickly. I do recommend a minimum of rinsing 5-6 times in cold water to remove the saponins (soapy-looking bubbles that can interfere with digestion.)

Use a spice masala

Substitute the spices listed with 1 teaspoon of spice masala. You can use any spices
you like, between 1-2 teaspoons.

Cook vegetables with the khichdi

Add 1-2 cups chopped vegetables and cook them along with the rice and dal.

Add cooked vegetables on top of the khichdi

Make a separate vegetable side, either roasted, steamed, or braised, and enjoy as a

Top with a chutney or pickle

Try with a bit of ginger-lime pickle or cilantro chutney, or another Indian pickle. You
could also grate some carrot, beet, or radish and enjoy it as a fresh topping.

Top with chopped nuts or seeds

Lightly roast nuts or seeds and enjoy as a topping.

Substitute moong dal

You can also make khichdi with mung beans, red lentils, toor dal, yellow lentils, etc.

Substitute basmati rice

One of the most common substitutes is quinoa.


Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg


  1. Eileen December 23, 2023at7:28 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Andrea, I just finished my first bowl of Khichdi. I soaked the dal for about 3 hours, and used the saucepan method. The dal remained a bit crunchy after looonnngggg cooking, but I didn’t want to waste it so I put a pinch of hing powder in some butter( no ghee on hand, YET!) sizzled it briefly and added to the dish. My first taste seemed a bit bland, but as I ate through my serving I found it strangely soothing and pleasant. I used the higher measurements for spices. The cilantro was a star, and I’ll add more next time. I made it with a few slices of red onion. I might’ve had seconds if not concerned over the beans being cooked enough….I am inspired by this recipe. Thank you so much Andrea. I know it will be a staple in my diet.

    1. December 24, 2023at11:38 am

      Hi Eileen,
      Thank you for sharing your experience, and I am thrilled that you were able to make khichdi! Something to be aware of regarding the dal not cooking is the age of your dal. When dal gets too old (1 year plus), it dries out to the extent that it can be very hard to rehydrate and cook — EVER! This has happened to me. In that case, throw out the dal and purchase fresh stuff. Sounds like this was your issue, since it shouldn’t take that long to cook! Warm regards —Andrea

  2. Eileen December 23, 2023at7:49 pm

    5 stars
    Ps, in the future I’ll try an overnight soak for the dal…or an Instant pot!

    1. December 24, 2023at11:38 am

      The Instant Pot may help, but see my other comment. If the dal is dried out too much, it will basically never soften.

  3. Eileen December 24, 2023at4:26 pm

    5 stars
    That’s helpful to know. Yes, it was old dal. I originally opened it for a flatbread recipe. I have a newer bag unopened. Will use it next time. Thanks.


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