Bengal has so many different types of khichuri (kitchari), its quite mind blowing. They adore their them. This one is a kitchari with the classic combo of peas, cauliflower and potato, together with an onion-spice mix. It is quite a flavoursome dish, and another addition to our 17 or so published and scheduled kitchari dishes.
You might guess that kitchari is also well loved in this house – a more nourishing and comforting dish is hard to find. The vegetables in this one add to its nutritional value as well as flavour and texture. Bengali’s make kitchari on rainy days, it is popular in the monsoon season – but don’t be held back. Make this dish at any time of the year.
Kitchari is also very good for babies and invalids.
It is difficult to get the local Bengali rice unless you have a specialist Indian grocer near you, so use Basmati rice. You might like to begin the recipe by making your own ginger paste and Bengali Garam Masala.
Or explore all of our Kitchari recipes and we have a number of Indian mixed rice dishes. Browse all of our Rice dishes. Our Bengali recipes are here, all of our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Autumn collection of recipes.
Also, kitchari has many different spellings around India – a dozen, maybe more. I use Kitchari most often. Khichuri is a common Bengali spelling.
Bengali Vegetable Khichuri
ingredients (serves 4)
0.75 cup basmati rice, washed and drained well (or use a Bengali khichuri rice if you can find it)
0.5 cup mung dal
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn cumin powder
0.25 tspn Indian chilli powder
0.25 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn ginger paste
0.5 cup cauliflower, broken into florets
0.5 cup shelled peas
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small cubes about 1cm
3 small green chillies, split in half lengthwise
2 Tblspn ghee
2 small dried red chillies
2 Teja Pat – Indian bay leaves (optional)
1 small-medium white or red onion, finely sliced
1 tspn Bengali Garam Masala (for authentic flavours use Bengali Garam Masala, but if it not available, use another Garam Masala)
Rinse the rice well, then soak for 10 – 15 mins. Drain well, spread on a towel and let dry for 30 mins – 1 hour.
Roast the mung dal in a dry heavy frying pan until golden and a beautiful aroma arises.
Cook the rice and dal in 1 litre boiling water in a large saucepan for 8 minutes. Stir the dry spices into the rice and mung with the sugar, salt and ginger-garlic paste.
Simmer for another 6 minutes and then add the vegetables and green chillies. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked – by this time the rice and dal will be cooked as well. At this stage, watch the water level and add a little more if necessary.
To make the onion masala, heat the ghee in a small pan and fry the red chillies and Teja Pat (if using) for a minute. Add the onion and fry gently until browning, then add the garam masala. After 10 or 15 seconds, pour the onions, spices and ghee into the khichuri. Mix it well.
Extra melted ghee or some mustard oil can be drizzled over the top for extra flavour.
Garnish with green coriander leaves if desired, and/or just a few raw shallot slices. Serve hot.