Autumn Khichri
150 Min

Autumn Khichri

Vegetables are much easier to enjoy when they come wrapped in delicious vehicles, which is why finding ways to sneak them into flatbreads, stews, curries and soups is the way to go. A mound of grassy greens can be submerged in a pool of delicious dal; grated carrot or parsnip can disappear into roti doughs; finely chopped spinach, chard or kale with a combination of aromatic herbs wilted into rice can brighten up flavors.

The first whiff of cool weather carries with it a craving for khichri, the peasant rice and bean stew from India, another vehicle for all kinds of vegetables. There is no wrong way to make khichri — varieties of rice and beans and proportions can vary. The key is to cook the khichri long and slow to a soft creamy stew and then add vegetables of your choice. Toppings wise, anything goes — but given that pomegranates appear in the autumn, they make a delicious tart garnish. Fried eggs, minced vegetables, herbs, cheese, olive oil or butter are just a few other suggestions.

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Cook Time

2 1/2 Hours



Step 1
Rinse the rice and lentil mix in water twice. Soak for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Drain by pouring most of the water out.
Step 2
To crush cardamom and cloves, use a rolling pin or mortar and pestle.
Step 3
Combine the rice mixture with the turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and salt. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the stockpot and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on low heat, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom. Add more water if needed. This may take less or more time, depending on the thickness and shape of the pot and the heat setting. Add the grated ginger toward to end of cooking.
Step 4
In the end, the rice and channa dal should have dissolved into each other and the mixture should be thick and creamy. The spices should also have softened completely. Serve with choice of toppings.  

1/2 cup channa dal 

1 cup brown basmati rice 

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 teaspoon green cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 teaspoon cloves, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons grated unpeeled ginger


Ghee or olive oil

Currants or raisins

Nuts such as sliced almonds, pumpkin, or sesame seeds

Chopped greens

Grated carrots

Plain whole milk yogurt

Pomegranate seeds

Fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint

Lime or lemon juice

Notes & Variations

  • Any kind of brown rice will work; if using white rice, reduce the cooking time a little. Channa dal is a large yellow split lentil, but smaller lentils, such as moong or masoor, will also work.
  • Khichri can be made ahead of time and frozen in batches for up to 3 months. Reheat with a little bit of water and add toppings as desired. 
  • For a spicier finish, mince 1 to 2 serrano chiles and add to the khichri at the beginning of cooking. 
150 Min

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