For me, khichdi is pure comfort food from my childhood in India. When we had the tummy troubles, my mom would whip up a simple khichdi of rice and lentils with minimal spices and then up the spice ante for a dinner party- approved masala khichdi served with plain yogurt and a tangy spicy mango pickle. This recipe is somewhere in the middle, perfect when you are looking for a quick comforting weeknight dinner that's light on effort, easy on your digestive system and big on flavor.
Technique tip: Sautéing the rice and lentil mixture in the spiced oil with the vegetables helps add a nice complexity to the dish. Also, you can add as much or as little water as you like depending on your preference for a drier or soupier khichdi.
Swap option: You can use ghee instead of oil and quinoa instead of rice. You can also use yellow or whole green lentils, though the latter will take a bit longer to cook.
Special equipment: Instant Pot or pressure cooker (not necessary but will help speed things up).
Soak the rice and lentils with enough water to cover for 1-3 hours.2.
Warm the oil on a medium-high flame until it shimmers. Add the cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, clove, bay leaf and chiles, and allow them to sizzle for a minute.3.
Add the ginger and cook for a minute.4.
Add the hing and turmeric and sauté for a minute.5.
Add the vegetables and salt, and cook for 3 minutes.6.
Add the drained, soaked rice and lentils and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until lightly toasted.7.
Add 3½ cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and cook on a low flame for 20-25 minutes until cooked through, adding more water if you want a more porridge-like consistency (if using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, use 2 cups of water and cook for 10-15 minutes on high pressure).8.
Adjust the salt to taste. Serve with a garnish of fresh cilantro and a dusting of garam masala. You can also add a dollop of plain or coconut yogurt and your favorite tangy pickle.