Kichdi. Gujarati Rice and Lentil Pilaf

Kichdi is an Indian rice dish made with rice and lentils lightly seasoned with turmeric and salt and then cooked until tender.  Between the energy boosting rice and the protein rich lentils, kichdi is considered a very healthy vegetarian dish. Considered comfort food in Western India in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan kichdi is usually served when one wants a quiet simple dish.

Carbs, dietary fiber, and protein and anti-inflammatory benefits.

This gluten-free simple vegetarian meal has all 10 essential amino acids and is also power-packed with lentil protein making it a complete protein source according to the USDA National Nutrient Database.  Turmeric which is also added to kichdi is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Containing curcumin, turmeric aids in relieving arthritis and is a well-documented treatment for various respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, runny nose, cough, and sinus. It also helps treat allergies and helps heal wounds.

Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Lentils used in khichdi can also significantly reduce blood sugar levels. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition stated that replacing half of your portion with lentils can lower your blood glucose levels by more than 20 percent and improve your body’s response to carbohydrates, benefiting people with diabetes.

Kichdi and Ghee.  A Great Source of Macro-nutrients

Freshly prepared khichdi is usually eaten with ghee which is a great source of macro-nutrients, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat. Hari Sharma, a researcher at the Center for Integrative Medicine and Department of Pathology at Ohio State University, calls ghee the healthiest source of edible fat that promotes longevity, strengthens the brain and nervous system and lubricates the connective tissues and joints. [9.)

Kichdi: Mom-in-law’s recipe

Kichdi can be served just the way it is cooked with rice, lentils, turmeric and salt, or for some extra boost of flavor you can add onions fried in ghee.  This is the way that my Mom-in-law taught me how to make kichdi for a simple feel good dish. Here is the recipe.

Kichdi with onions fried in ghee
seves 4-5
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup lentils such as moong lentils, toor daal (pigeon peas), or masoor daal (orange moong lentils)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large onion finely cut
  • 4 tbsp ghee

Directions:

  • Rinse all the rice and lentils.  Add 4 cups water, turmeric and salt and stir in.   Place the mixture in the Instapot and pressure cook for 25 minutes until all the lentils are tender.
  • While the pressure is being released from the Instapot prepare the fried onions.  In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp ghee and fry the onions until translucent.  Add the cooked kichdi and mix into the onions.  Kichdi is ready.
  • Serve kichdi with a dollop of ghee on top.

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  • Kichdi can be served with a side of spiced tomato eggplant stew called gotsu.

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Happy healthy eating.

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