Simple Chana Dal, Dill and Tomato Khichri

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Simple Chana Dal, Dill and Tomato Khichri

Indian khichris — also known as kidgerees or kitcherees — are simple rice and split bean pots flavored with herbs, spices or vegetables. They're a favorite of mine for very quick, easy and nourishing lunches or suppers. Not surprisingly, the full texture of cooked chana dal makes it a popular variety of split bean to use in khichris alongside the delicate texture of rice, and while I've already posted one chana dal and dill khichri, that particular combination of split beans and herbs is worth another recipe.

While the first was a dry, fragrant medley of rice, split beans and herbs — or a "sookha khichri" — this second version is a moist and savory stew, known as a "geeli khichri". Adapted from Yamuna Devi this khichri takes a little longer to cook but is almost just as simple to prepare, and makes a hearty and delicious supper served with bread and a green salad. Chana dal is easily available at Indian and Asian grocers, but substitute yellow split peas for an equally delicious meal.

Simple Chana Dal, Dill and Tomato KhichriSimple Chana Dal, Dill and Tomato Khichri
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on December 26, 2007

One-pot rice and split pea "kitcheree" cooked with dill and tomatoes for a simple, nourishing and delicious meal

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  • 3/4 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 dried whole red chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into narrow wedges
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the chana dal under cold running water and soak in water for at least 4 hours. Drain before cooking. Rinse and drain the rice.

  • Put the dal, rice, dill, turmeric and garam masala in a large saucepan with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.

  • Heat the ghee or butter and oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or medium saucepan. When hot, add the cumin seeds and red chilies and stir until the cumin seeds turn brown. Toss in the asafoetida, then immediately add the tomatoes. Fry, stirring gently, for 2 minutes, making sure that the tomato pieces are coated and glistening with the ghee or oil.

  • Pour into the dal and rice and stir in the salt. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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