Khichari is a delicious and very digestible Indian one-pot meal that mainly consists of rice, vegetables, and lentils. This protein-rich Ayurveda recipe is easy to prepare and also very healthy. Khichari has a beneficial, digestive, and cleansing effect, which is why it is also known as a detox dish. Regardless of whether you want to do a 3 day ayurvedic cleanse, or just want to eat something delicious and easily digestible: Khichari is a great thing and has been a meal I have come to love and cook for some time.

The spellings of khichari are as diverse as the preparation options themselves: khichdi, khichri, kitchri, khichadi, kitchari … or simply khichari. This is probably due to the widespread use and long history of the dish. Khichari is cooked in most states and is even considered as India’s unofficial “national dish”. But you can also find it in neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.

The word khichari is derived from the term khiccā, which in Sanskrit, in ancient Indian, stands for a dish made from rice and legumes. Khichari is probably one of the oldest dishes in India. There are mentions that go back to the 14th century.



Over time, variations of khichari emerged in different parts of India and every family cooks it differently. Therefore, I have to disappoint you if you are looking for the original khichari recipe, because it simply doesn’t exist. Basically, all recipes have one thing in common, namely lentils, rice, mostly vegetables, and of course spices (which vary).

You can make khichari with different lentils, but the most common version is the mung bean khichari or mung dal khichari (more on that in a moment). Since in Ayurveda (and more about that) white rice is considered more digestible than brown rice, Basmati rice is the main ingredient – which is also the case in this recipe. The weighting of rice to lentils is also very different from recipe to recipe. For example, I use twice as many lentils as rice and I find this mixture to be perfect. You will see in the detailed recipe, that the cooking time is double as long as you would usually cook rice plus that you will need several cups of water, because we want a porridge-like consistency.

By the way, traditionally you would cook Kitchari with Ghee, which is Indian clarified butter. So that the Kitchari recipe is vegan, it is best to use coconut oil or a neutral oil such as rapeseed oil.

Which vegetables for Khichari

Some khichari recipes only consist of lentils, rice, and spices, but some also have vegetables as an ingredient, including this one. How much of what you use is up to you. For me, spinach, pumpkin, celery stalks, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, and tomatoes have proven to be particularly good. And fresh grated or finely chopped ginger! Which is one of the spices. Speaking of spices for khichari: Very often fennel seeds are part of the recipe, besides turmeric, cumin seeds, salt, and black pepper. Since I’ve grown to love fresh fennel as a vegetable, but not the seeds yet, I don’t use them in this recipe.


Mung Beans

During my research for this post, I realized that mung beans are not lentils at all. They are mung beans, which are also a type of legume. Whole mung beans are not used for khichari, but mung dal, which is the skin-free yellow split mung bean. However, this goes quite into depth. Like lentils, mung beans are a plant species within the legume family. And they look like lentils. So please don’t be confused if I continue speaking of lentils.

By the way, I buy mung beans as mung dal or moong dal very cheaply in the Indian supermarket. If you don’t have one near you, you can also order them online *). You can also use toor dal, urad dal or masoor dal (red lentils) instead of mung dal. The method of preparation remains the same, only the cooking time varies slightly up or down.

Not only tasty, but also very healthy

As mentioned at the beginning, khichari is a recipe from Ayurvedic cuisine. I only have a rudimentary knowledge of Ayurveda, so I don’t want to go into too much depth here. But what I do know is that in this thousands of years old Indian alternative medicine system, much revolves around three types (doshas) namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three doshas are three different life energies that give each person their individual constitution. In terms of Ayurveda, a balance between these types is the goal.

Vata and Kapha types can easily eat garlic, Kapha can also eat onions (Vata also can, but only cooked). And the Pitta type neither nor. For example, I’m a Pitta type, so I’m very fiery. Therefore, I should be more reluctant to consume some foods I really love to eat, such as garlic, chili, and onion. The practical thing about a simple khichari is that it has a balancing effect on all three doshas.

Baby food

By the way, in case you are wondering if khichari is a suitable dish for babies: It’s one of Karla’s (my girl) fave dishes, she loves it! Legumes shouldn’t be one of the first things to eat, but are mostly fine after the age of eight months. So yes, moong dal khichari for babies is a great idea. Maybe just use less chili powder, while cooking your khichari and add a bit of extra spiciness on your plate if you like.


Khichari detox recipe

Khichari is also used as a detox dish because it is said to have a wholesome, cleansing, and easily digestible effect. It is a dish that definitely won’t leave you hungry. Although it is light food, gluten-free, and cleanses the digestive system, it is also very invigorating and nourishing. This Indian dish is therefore great for people who do not want to or cannot or should not fast so strictly. During a 3-day cleanse, khichari is eaten three times a day, starting with breakfast.

As already mentioned, you can not only alternate the vegetables, but also use different types of lentils or grains, which is why Kitchari should not get (that much) boring even after three days. Mung dal are considered to be particularly well tolerated.

No matter whether you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian comfort food recipe, are planning a mung beans and rice cleanse or just want to eat something delicious and healthy: Khichari it is! I hope that I can infect you with it and that you will like it as much as I do.

Yield: 3-4 portions

Khichari - an Indian One-Pot Meal


Khichari is a very wholesome Indian one-pot meal made from rice, vegetables, and lentils. It's easy to make, healthy, and very tasty.


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or another neutral oil like rapeseed oil)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • Ginger, 1 thumb-sized piece
  • optional: 1 chili cut into fine rings or some chili powder (amount depending on the desired spiciness)
  • ΒΎ tsp turmeric powder
  • some fresh black pepper
  • 5 cups of water
  • ΒΎ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of yellow lentils (moong dal)
  • Β½ cup (basmati) rice
  • 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables that you have at home. e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, pumpkin, some tomato, celery stalk, spinach …
  • If you like: fresh coriander, (coconut) yogurt, some soy sauce and / or Tabasco


  1. Wash the lentils and rice (you can do that in a colander at the same time) until the water is quite clear.
  2. Peel the ginger and grate it finely.
  3. Now prepare the vegetables: wash them, peel them if necessary, and cut them into small pieces.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the whole spices (cumin, fenugreek, and mustard seeds) and the pinch of asafoetida for about half a minute. Be careful not to burn them.
  5. Add ginger, chili, turmeric, and pepper. Stir and sauté for a few seconds. If you are using tomatoes for your khichari, add them now and fry them as well, for about two minutes.
  6. Now add rice, lentils, vegetables (if you use some spinach: add it towards the end of the cooking time), water and salt.
  7. Stir and simmer on low heat for about 35 minutes. Check in between and stir so that nothing burns. The consistency of your khichari shall be like porridge.
  8. If you like, cut fresh coriander and add it at the end of the cooking time.
  9. Sometimes I like to serve (coconut) yogurt with khichari. And definitely some soy sauce and sometimes Tabasco as well. I love the salty and sour aroma with lentils.


You can replace a part of the water with vegetable stock, but then use less salt.
Kitchari thickens very quickly: add some water when you reheat it.

Did you try this recipe?

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