Chana Dal Khichdi: A Complete Guide to Cooking & Serving

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine curling up with a warm, comforting bowl of chana dal khichdi, a dish that’s as nourishing as it is delicious. This traditional Indian meal combines rice and chana dal (split chickpeas) into a one-pot wonder that’s both filling and nutritious. Often flavored with a blend of spices and ghee, it’s a staple that holds a special place in many Indian homes, particularly for its ease and simplicity.


For your chana dal khichdi, gather these wholesome ingredients, ensuring each component is prepared as listed to capture the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.

Chana Dal

  • 1 cup chana dal (split chickpeas), rinsed and soaked for at least 1 hour


  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear

Other Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnishing

Necessary Equipment

To make chana dal khichdi effortlessly and ensure it turns out perfectly, having the right equipment is essential. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot: This is crucial for cooking chana dal and rice efficiently. The pressure cooker reduces the cooking time significantly and helps in achieving the perfect texture for the khichdi.
  • Large Non-stick Skillet: If you choose to sauté your spices or if you’re adding a tadka (tempered spices), a non-stick skillet is ideal. It prevents spices from sticking and burning.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements of ingredients are key to the perfect balance of flavors in khichdi. Ensure you have a set of measuring cups and spoils to measure your spices, rice, and chana dal.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: Necessary for stirring the ingredients together, ensuring that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Cutting Board and Sharp Knife: For prepping ingredients like green chilies and ginger.
  • Serving Spoon: To serve the khichdi warm from the cooker to your plates.
  • Serving Bowls: To present your chana dal khichdi in the most appealing way.

Equipping your kitchen with these tools will streamline the cooking process and help you serve up a delightful chana dal khichdi with ease.


Now that you have all your tools ready, let’s dive into the preparation process of chana dal khichdi, ensuring each step simplifies your cooking experience.

Washing and Soaking

  1. Begin by measuring 1 cup of chana dal. Rinse the dal under cold running water until the water runs clear, removing any dust or impurities. This usually takes about 2-3 rinses.
  2. Place the washed chana dal in a medium-sized bowl. Add 3 cups of water to the bowl, ensuring the dal is completely submerged.
  3. Allow the dal to soak for at least 30 minutes. Soaking helps in softening the dal, which reduces cooking time and makes it easier to digest.
  4. After soaking, drain the water from the dal using a colander. Set the soaked dal aside while you prepare the spice mixture.

Tempering the Spices

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the ghee is hot, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds until they release their fragrance.
  3. Next, add 1 finely chopped onion to the skillet. Sauté the onion until it turns golden brown, which should take about 4 minutes.
  4. To the onions, add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 2 chopped green chilies. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the raw smell of garlic disappears.
  5. Now, introduce 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, and salt to taste to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Cook this spice mixture for a minute more before incorporating it into the khichdi in later steps. This mixture will provide a vibrant color and rich flavor to your chana dal khichdi.

Cooking Instructions

Now that you’ve prepped your spices and soaked the chana dal, it’s time to start the actual cooking process. Follow these steps to bring your chana dal khichdi to life with rich flavors and perfect texture.

Cooking Chana Dal

  1. Begin by Draining the Chana Dal: After soaking, drain the water and set the dal aside.
  2. Heat Oil in a Pressure Cooker: Pour two tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee into a pressure cooker. Heat it over medium flame.
  3. Sauté the Spices: Add the prepared spice mixture including cumin seeds, minced ginger, and garlic to the oil. Fry them until they start to sputter and release a fragrant aroma.
  4. Cook the Dal: Add the drained chana dal to the cooker and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring the dal is well-coated with the spices.
  5. Add Water and Cook: Pour in four cups of water and stir. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook the dal for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Wait until the cooker releases pressure naturally before opening it to ensure the dal is cooked thoroughly but still holds its shape.

Cooking Rice and Dal Mixture

  1. Rinse the Rice: While the dal is cooking, thoroughly rinse one cup of rice until the water runs clear to remove excess starch.
  2. Combine Rice with Cooked Dal: After releasing the pressure cooker’s lid, add the rinsed rice to the cooked chana dal, and mix gently.
  3. Add Salt for Taste: Season the mixture with the appropriate amount of salt.
  4. Cook the Mixture: Close the pressure cooker again and cook the mixture for another 6-8 minutes under pressure. Like before, let the pressure release naturally.

Adding the Final Touches

  1. Prepare the Tempering: In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a pinch of asafoetida (hing). Wait for the mustard seeds to pop.
  2. Add Herbs for Freshness: Once the seeds pop, add finely chopped coriander leaves and one slit green chili to the pan. Sauté for about 30 seconds.
  3. Combine with Khichdi: Pour this tempering over the cooked khichdi and stir well to mix.
  4. Serve Warm: Serve your chana dal khichdi hot, accompanied by a side of yogurt or pickle for an enhanced taste experience.

Following these detailed steps, you ensure each spoonful of your khichdi is infused with the delightful textures and flavors typical of this traditional dish. Enjoy the heartwarming amalgamation of dal, rice, and spices in your homemade chana dal khichdi.

Serving Suggestions

Chana dal khichdi is best enjoyed when served hot and accompanied by a variety of sides that complement its hearty and wholesome flavor. Here are some ideal pairings that will enhance your khichdi experience:

  • Crisp Papadums: Serve your khichdi with crisp papadums to add a delightful crunch. You can either deep-fry or roast them over an open flame.
  • Spicy Pickles: A spoonful of spicy Indian pickle, known as achar, pairs wonderfully with the mild flavors of khichdi. Choose from mango, lime, or chili pickle based on your preference for an extra kick.
  • Creamy Yogurt: Cool, creamy yogurt works well to soothe the palate, especially if you’ve spiced up your khichdi. You can opt for plain yogurt or a cucumber raita for a refreshing touch.
  • Mixed Salad: A simple salad consisting of cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and onions, dressed lightly with lemon juice and salt, offers a fresh, crisp contrast to the soft and comforting khichdi.

Each of these accompaniments not only adds variety and complexity to your meal but also ensures a balanced diet. Feel free to mix and match these suggestions according to your taste preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy your chana dal khichdi hot for a truly comforting meal.


So now you’re all set to whip up your own chana dal khichdi! Embrace the warmth and nutrition this dish brings to your table. It’s perfect for a cozy family dinner or a nutritious meal option when you’re looking to comfort both body and soul. Don’t forget to play around with the sides to find your favorite combinations. Whether it’s a weekday rush or a leisurely weekend, chana dal khichdi promises a satisfying meal every time. Enjoy the cooking journey and the delicious results!

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