Khichdi: Easy Recipe, Tips, and Nutritional Benefits

Khichdi: Easy Recipe, Tips, and Nutritional Benefits

Khichdi is a traditional Indian dish made from rice and lentils (mung dal), flavored with spices like cumin, turmeric, and asafoetida. Often regarded as comfort food, it’s soft and easy to digest. Different regions of India have their variations—for example, some add vegetables like carrots and peas, while others might include ghee (clarified butter) for richer flavor. Khichdi serves as a wholesome, nourishing meal ideal for anytime consumption.

Why Use an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot simplifies the preparation of Khichdi by combining multiple cooking functions into one appliance. It significantly reduces cooking time, ensuring the rice and lentils cook evenly without constant supervision. Using an Instant Pot retains more flavors and nutrients compared to traditional methods. Additionally, the pressure-cooking feature locks in moisture, making Khichdi creamy and uniformly soft. This appliance is perfect for those with busy schedules or anyone seeking a hassle-free cooking experience.

Ingredients and Variations

Essential Ingredients for Khichdi

To prepare Instant Pot Khichdi, you need a few basic ingredients:

  1. Rice: Use basmati or sona masoori rice. These varieties ensure the Khichdi gets a nice texture.
  2. Lentils: Opt for moong dal (yellow split gram). It cooks quickly and offers a creamy texture.
  3. Water: Necessary for cooking rice and lentils. Use in a 3:1 ratio of water to rice/lentil mix.
  4. Ghee: Adds richness and enhances flavor. Substitute with oil for a vegan option.
  5. Spices: Employ turmeric, cumin seeds, and a pinch of asafoetida. These spices provide the signature yellow color and distinct aroma.
  6. Salt: Crucial for balancing flavors. Adjust according to taste.

Khichdi variations abound, allowing you to tailor the dish to suit different palates.

  1. Vegetable Khichdi: Add vegetables like carrots, peas, and potatoes. Chop them into small pieces for even cooking.
  2. Masala Khichdi: Incorporate spices such as garam masala and red chili powder. This version delivers a more robust flavor.
  3. Millet Khichdi: Replace rice with millets like foxtail or pearl millet. Millets offer a healthier, nutrient-rich alternative.
  4. Pongal Khichdi: Include black peppercorns and curry leaves. This variation mimics South Indian Pongal.
  5. Samvat Rice Khichdi: Use barnyard millet (samvat rice) instead of regular rice for a gluten-free option. It’s popular during fasting periods.

Picking the right ingredients and variations adds versatility to your Instant Pot Khichdi, catering to diverse taste preferences and dietary needs.

How to Make Khichdi in an Instant Pot

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Rinse Ingredients: Wash 1 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of lentils (moong dal) until water runs clear.
  2. Sauté Spices: Set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode. Add 2 tbsp of ghee. Once melted, add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add Aromatics: Add 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped green chili. Sauté until onions are translucent.
  4. Incorporate Base: Add the rinsed rice and lentils. Stir to coat them in the spices and ghee.
  5. Add Vegetables (optional): If making Vegetable Khichdi, add 1 cup of mixed vegetables (e.g., carrots, peas, potatoes).
  6. Pour Water: Add 4 cups of water or vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  7. Pressure Cook: Secure the lid. Set the Instant Pot to ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ mode for 8 minutes.
  8. Natural Release: Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then use the quick release for any remaining pressure.
  9. Season and Serve: Stir in 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
  1. Texture: For a thicker Khichdi, reduce the water to 3 cups. For a soup-like consistency, use 5 cups.
  2. Spices: Adjust spices to taste. Add garam masala for extra flavor.
  3. Ghee Substitutes: Use coconut oil or butter if you don’t have ghee.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  5. Reheating: Reheat with a bit of water to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Vegetable Swap: Substitute any of your favorite vegetables like zucchini or spinach for variety.

Nutritional Benefits of Khichdi

Health Benefits

Khichdi, combining rice and lentils, offers a balanced source of protein and carbohydrates. This balance supports sustained energy levels throughout the day. Rich in dietary fiber, khichdi aids in digestion, reducing the risk of constipation and promoting a healthy gut. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. These nutrients support metabolic functions and strengthen the immune system.

Dietary Considerations

Khichdi suits various dietary needs and restrictions due to its versatility. It’s often gluten-free, making it accessible for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Variations can also cater to vegan and vegetarian diets by using vegetable broth and omitting ghee. Low in fats, especially if ghee is replaced with a healthier option, khichdi can be a viable addition to heart-healthy diets. Furthermore, it’s easily digestible, suitable for people recovering from illnesses or those with sensitive stomachs.


Crafting a delicious and nutritious Khichdi in your Instant Pot is not only convenient but also incredibly satisfying. By following the steps outlined, you can easily adjust the dish to suit your taste and dietary needs. Whether you’re seeking a comforting meal or a healthful option, Instant Pot Khichdi offers a perfect balance of flavors and nutrients. Enjoy the simplicity and versatility of this traditional dish, and make it a staple in your kitchen for those times when you need a quick, wholesome meal.

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