Chana dal khichdi is a healthy, vegan one pot meal. Great for brunch, lunch boxes and busy weeknight dinners.
What is Khichdi?
Khichdi is a rice and lentil porridge with or without vegetables. It is a common dish all across India with slight variations, depending on the region. In some regions, especially in some parts of South India, khichdi has a pulao like texture and at home, that is how we prefer. Of all the khichdi varieties I prepare; moong dal khichdi, toor dal khichdi and oats khichdi, only oats khichdi has a mushy texture.
What is Chana Dal Khichdi?
Lentils for chana dal khichdi are chana dal or Bengal gram and is prepared without vegetables. Unlike most khichdi varieties, chana dal khichdi is not mushy. Both rice and dal are firm, retaining their shape. This khichdi is prepared with basic Indian spices and is a comfort food. Chana dal has a decent amount of protein, iron and fiber, making it a healthy one pot meal.
In Telugu chana dal is senaga pappu and we often call this khichdi pappu annam or senaga pappu annam.
How to Prepare Senaga Pappu Annam
This is a quick and easy, one pot meal that comes together in 30 minutes, excluding soak time. It is ideal to soak chana dal for couple of hours or pre-cook it for at least 10 minutes but in modern kitchens, soaking the dal is easily avoidable. Just microwave the dal for 3-5 minutes while you do the prep work. Soaking rice for 10-15 minutes or no longer than 30 minutes gives the best texture, but if time is a constraint, you can even skip this step.
- Soak rice and chana dal.
- Roast whole garam masala ingredients along with bay leaf and biryani flower in oil.
- Saute onions, green chilies and ginger garlic paste.
- Add spices, roast chana dal, followed by rice.
- Add water and cook until chana dal and rice are soft.
You can cook khichdi in an Instant Pot, electric rice cooker or on stovetop. I use the first two appliances and never cooked on a stovetop or in a stovetop pressure cooker. The process for cooking khichdi in Instant Pot and rice cooker is pretty much the same except for sauteeing the ingredients. In Instant pot, sauteeing and cooking is done in the pot itself where as for rice cooker method, saute in a pan on stovetop, transfer everything to a rice cooker and finish the cooking.
How to serve?
Serve khichdi with some yogurt, raita, omelet or pachi pulusu. What you see in the picture is onion raita but cucumber raita also taste equally good. Khichdi tastes good as it is, without any accompaniments.
Chana Dal Khichdi Recipe
Chana Dal Khichdi
- Instant Pot or Rice Cooker & a frying pan or a sauce pan
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 2 – 3 Cardamons
- 2 Cloves
- ½ ” Cinnamon Stick
- ½ teaspoon Saha Jeera or Jeera
- 1 Bay Leaf and Biryani Flower
- ½ small Onion sliced
- 2-3 Green Chilies slit vertically into half adjust to taste
- ¾ – 1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- ¾ teaspoon Coriander Powder
- Pinch of Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt t adjust to taste
- ¾ cup Rice washed measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker
- ¼ cup Chana Dal measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker
- 1½ cups Water
- Cilantro for garnish
- Wash and soak rice.
- In a separate microwave safe bowl, wash chana dal and microwave for 4-5 minutes until dal is semi cooked.
- Slice onions and cut the green chilies.
Rice Cooker Method
- Heat oil in a pan on stovetop, lightly roast cardamon, coves, cinnamon, saha jeera, bay leaf and biryani flower.
- Add onion and saute until translucent. Add green chilies, ginger garlic paste and saute until rawness of ginger is gone.
- Add turmeric, coriander powder, stir and add chana dal.
- Saute for few seconds, add drained rice, salt and saute for a minute or 2.
- In an electric rice cooker inner vessel, add 1 ½ cups of water and transfer the rice mixture. Rice+Chana dal to water ratio is 1 cup of rice+chana dal : 1½ cup water.
- Sprinkle cilantro on top of and switch the cooker on. You can cook khichdi on the stovetop too. I prefer rice cooker because I don’t have to keep an eye on it while it is cooking.
- Once the cooker shuts off and khichdi is done, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Instant Pot Method
- Press 'Saute' and heat the inner vessel.
- Add oil and roast whole garam masala, bay leaf and biryani flower.
- Saute onions, followed by ginger garlic paste and green chilies.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and mix well.
- Add chana dal and saute for a minute or two.
- Now add soaked rice, salt, and saute for a minute or two.
- Add 1 ½ cups of water, sprinkle cilantro and press 'Cancel'.
- Close Instant Pot lid, vent to sealed position, press 'Manual / Pressure Cook' and cook for 4 minutes.
- Do a 'Quick Release' after 10 minutes by releasing the pressure; unseal the vent. You can also do 'Natural Pressure Release' by letting the pressure release naturally.
- Open the lid, give a quick stir and serve hot.
- Chana Dal – I usually use 3: 1 or 2: 1 rice to chana dal ratio. If you prefer more chana dal, use 1: 1 ratio.
- Soaking Chana Dal – If time is not a constraint, soak chana dal for at least 2 hours. Else, semi cook chana dal separately before adding dal to khichdi. When I plan ahead, I soak dal for 2-3 hours. Otherwise, I microwave dal for 3-5 minutes until semi cooked.
- Water – I use 1½ cup water for 1 cup of rice+chana dal. That is Rice+Chana dal to water ratio is 1 cup of rice+chana dal : 1½ cup water both in rice cooker and in Instant Pot.
Theme for this week is Kid’s Lunch Boxes for BM#108. I loved taking this in my lunch box when in school. It does not require any side dish or condiments and is good as is. In case you are packing a condiment, those 4 oz Mason jars are just perfect for condiments, provided the child is old enough to handle glassware.