Learn how to make traditional Kitchri Indian Moong Dal Basmati Rice.
This healthy vegetarian Indian side dish is full of flavour and nutritious ingredients. It’s the perfect substitute for simple steamed rice or biryani if you’re hosting an Indian lunch or dinner menu.
Our quick & easy Kitchri recipe takes just 45 minutes to prepare. It features affordable and healthy ingredients like split yellow mung beans, basmati rice, butter, garlic, cumin seeds and onion.
The recipe is vegetarian, egg free, and gluten free. You can make dairy free and vegan Kitchri by substituting ghee or butter for canola oil.
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What Is Kitchri?
Kitchari means “mixture” and usually signifies the mixing of two grains in Indian cooking.
Also known as Kitcheree, Khichuri, Khichdi, Khichri and Kitchari, it’s a dish in South Asian cuisine typically made with rice and lentils. Other variations include bajra and moong dal (split mung beans).
In India, especially in the northern areas, it is often one of the first solid foods that babies eat. Kitchri recipes can be prepared as a wet porridge or as a dry pilaf similar to biryani.
The simple Indian dish is truly an ancient recipe. The Greek king Seleucus during his campaign in India (305-303 BC), mentioned that rice with pulses is very popular among people of the Indian subcontinent. The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta mentions khichdi as a dish in India composed of rice and mung beans, during his stay around 1350. The Anglo-Indian dish Kedgeree is thought to derive from Kitchri.
Kitchri is often used in Ayurvedic cooking and considered a healthy food that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
It’s not just Indian cooks who have discovered the healthful benefits of cooking split mung beans with rice. You’ll also find beans and rice served in Latin American countries like Mexico and Costa Rica called Gallo Pinto, as well as in the Middle East in dishes like Lebanese Mdardara and Persian Adas Polo.
It’s said that you can live off a mixture of rice and pulses (like beans and lentils) indefinitely, which is why you can see nutrient packed combination served around the world!
What Are Mung Beans?
The mung bean, alternatively known as the green gram, maash, moong, monggo, or munggo, is a plant species in the legume family. The mung bean is mainly cultivated in East, Southeast and South Asia. It is used as an ingredient in both savoury and sweet dishes. If you’ve never cooked with it you should try making our Warm Sprouted Mung Bean Salad.
What Is Moong Dal And Is It The Same As Yellow Split Peas?
Mung beans in some regional cuisines of India are stripped of their outer green coats to make yellow moong dal. Recipes that call for yellow split peas can be substituted for moong dal as they are very similar.
Travel to India by Cooking Kitchri at Home
I love traveling to Asia.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, The Maldives and India.
I spent over a month traveling through India. I started in the capital, eating my way through the bustling markets and fine dining restaurants in Delhi. I then embarked on a magical weekend getaway to awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra. In India’s north you’ll find plenty of barbecue and wheat based side dishes like scorched naan bread.
For the second half of my Indian adventure I explored the southern state of Kerala. The south is famous for its seafood, coconut, tropical fruits, and rice based side dishes like crispy dosa and Thakkali Biryani. The colonial capital of Cochin was formerly run by the Portuguese. It’s also one of the only places in India you can find beef on a menu.
After enjoying a jaunt to the Maldives my India trip came to a close in the Bollywood capital, bustling and cosmopolitan Mumbai. The city is famous for its specialty street foods and fine dining restaurants at opulent luxury hotels. The Taj Mahal Palace in particular serves one of the world’s most famous Afternoon Teas.
What I found most fascinating are India’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the hyper-local cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each city in India had its own local speciality.
After you’ve traveled to India, return home to prepare an authentic and fragrant feast for friends and family featuring this flavourful Kitchri Moong Dal Basmati Rice Pilaf.
Where To Eat Indian Moong Dal Basmati Rice
Haven’t traveled to India before? It may be helpful to first sample the healthy side dish at a local Indian restaurant to better understand how it is served. Authentic recipes vary widely based on region. It can be served like a wet porridge similar to congee or as a pilaf similar to biryani.
My Family Loves Kitchri Moong Dal Rice
I’ll never forget my first experience eating Kitchri.
I woke up at a luxury hotel in Cochin, the capital of the southern state of Kerala, to find a decadent breakfast buffet. I felt like I had arrived in a different country as the dishes in Southern India are unique to what you’d find in northern city’s like Agra and Delhi.
The waiter asked me if I’d like to try a local breakfast speciality, crispy dosa served with a selection of chutneys. I remember sipping bitter darjeeling tea while dipping dosa into spicy chutney. I experienced an unforgettable explosion of flavours in my mouth as hot tea muddled with the flavours of spiced chutney. A wonderful way to wake up to the world!
The waiter saw that I loved the dosa and moments later brought over two bowls of Kitchri. He pointed out that it was a dish that can be prepared in two ways, and that it is one of the first solid foods that babies in India eat.
One of the bowls was filled with a yellow porridge that was flavoured and coloured with turmeric. The other was more like a biryani, steamed basmati rice tossed with moong dal and topped with sweet caramelized onions.
After traveling throughout India and eating at some of the world’s best Indian restaurants I was excited to share my love for Kitchri with family back home.
When I finally introduced my parents to Kitchri their eyes bulged with glee. I knew they’d both love the healthy side dish because it featured crunchy moong dal, tender basmati rice, fragrant cumin seeds and crispy fried onions. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a creamy curry or barbecued tandoori.
If you’ve traveled to India on holiday there is no better way to share your adventure with family and friends at home then by serving this Kitchri Rice and Moong Dal recipe.
Our homemade Kitchri recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Moong Dal / Yellow Split Peas are rich in cancer-fighting vitamin C, energy-boosting B vitamins, and gut-healthy fibre.
Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.
Kitchri Recipe Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time cooking Kitchri at home be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.
- Kitchri is prepared with Moong Dal, which look like yellow split peas. Do not purchase green mung beans, these are the unhusked version of the legume. You can purchase Moong Dal online or at your local bulk food store or Indian supermarket.
- We’ve used basmati rice in this recipe but you can use any long grain rice.
- We’ve used a red onion in this recipe but you could substitute with Spanish cooking onions, white onions or shallots.
- This recipe is vegetarian as it features ghee / butter. You can make dairy free vegan Kitchri by substituting with canola oil.
What To Serve with Healthy Kitchri
Vegetarian Kitchri is one of our favourite side dishes to serve when we’re cooking an Indian feast. The healthy recipe is an excellent substitute for simple steamed rice or biryani.
If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed dinner party you may want to also serve some of other popular Indian recipes:
- Chilli Paneer Gravy Restaurant Style Masala
- Tofu Meatballs in Creamy Vegan Korma Curry Sauce
- Indian Vegetarian Paneer Frankie Kathi Roll
- Oven Baked Tandoori Gobi Cauliflower
- Indian Paneer Tikka Salad
- Aloo Fry Vegetarian Indian Turmeric Potatoes
- Parippu Vada Recipe With Coconut Chutney
- Pitod Ki Sabji Vegetarian Indian Chickpea Dumplings
- Vegetarian Malai Kofta
- Vegetarian Shahi Paneer
- Chanachur Chivda Bombay Mixture Namkeen
- Chingri Malai Curry Bengali Coconut Prawns
- Pepper Milagu Rasam Vegan South Indian Soup
- Vegetarian Indian Paneer Soup
- Chicken Manchow Soup
- Turmeric Pumpkin Spice Indian Cake
You May Also Enjoy These Rice Dishes…
- Chao Ga Vietnamese Rice Porridge
- Lebanese Beef Hashweh Rice
- Vegan Peruvian Quinoa Chaufa
- Aguadito de Pollo Peruvian Chicken Soup
- Mdardara Lebanese Caramelized Onion Lentil Rice
- Vegan Gluten Free Thai Coconut Mango Glutinous Rice Balls
- Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice
- Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Vegan Curry Leaf Rice with Cashews
- Sartu Di Riso Italian Baked Risotto
- Khao Pad Sapparod Thai Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
- Vegetarian Gorgonzola Risotto al Radicchio
- Crispy Roast Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Vegan One Pot Indian Thakkali Tomato Biryani
- Spicy Pork Bibimbap
How To Make Kitchri Indian Moong Dal Basmati Rice
Kitchri Indian Moong Dal Basmati Rice
- Mixing bowls
- Large Saucepan
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- French knife
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 1 1/2 cups Moong Dal / Yellow Split Peas
- 1 1/4 cups Basmati Rice
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Canola Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Garlic Clove thinly sliced
- 1 Small Red Onion sliced into rings
- Kosher Salt + Black Pepper to taste
- Mix the dal and rice together in a large sieve and rinse well, then put into a bowl and pour in enough water to cover. Soak together for at least 20 minutes.
- Drain the rice and dal, put into a large saucepan and pour in 1 cup of water or enough to cover the rice. Add salt, and bring to boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the dal and rice are cooked and and all the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. The rice shouldn't be mushy and the dal should still have a bite. Take off the heat and set aside.
- Heat the butter and oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and fry for 30 seconds until it sputters. Add the garlic and fry until it is slightly crispy. Add the onion and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the flavoured onion mixture over the rice and dal and stir well.
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