Chana Dal Khichdi is a one-pot Punjabi style khichdi made with basmati rice, and chana dal (Bengal Gram). This dal khichdi is gluten-free, easy to make, and is very similar to a pulao. Serve it with curd and pickle for a true Punjabi style lunch.
What is ‘Chana Dal’?
Chana Dal is known as Bengal Gram. It is a yellow color lentil from the chickpea family. In India, it is well known as chana dal, cholar dal, or chole ki dal.
Bengal Gram is a plant-based source of protein that is rich in fiber, minerals, and iron. It is easy to store, and cook.
Many people confuse it with white kabuli chana (chole/chickpeas). Both are different in color, taste, and texture.
Kabuli Chana cannot be used as a substitute for Bengal Gram and vice versa.
Punjabi Chana Dal Khichdi
In Punjabi Cuisine, chana dal khichdi is one of the most popular comfort food recipes.
In many households, this dal khichdi is commonly prepared for lunch on a regular basis.
In my husband’s Sikh family, chana dal khichdi is a must cook item on special festive and celebratory occasions as a sign of good omen.
Khichdi vs Pulao
Is this a khichdi or pulao?
Chana Dal Khichdi has a texture and cooking process more like a pulao. Unlike, traditional dal khichdi it is more fluffy and less gooey.
I think because it is a combination of dal and rice, so it is called khichdi. Otherwise, I find it more like a rice pulao.
How To Make Chana Dal Khichdi
The chana dal khichdi is cooked in two steps. But it is a one-pot khichdi recipe. Hence, both the cooking steps can be easily done on the same cooking vessel.
The first step is to cook the Bengal gram or chana dal without rice in the pressure cooker.
The second step is to cook rice with the flavored chana dal to make khichdi.
Like other Indian khichdi’s this dal khichdi also tastes best with:
fresh curd or yogurt
ghee or butter
sliced onion or salad
My Tried & True Recipe Notes
Do not add too much water to cook the dal. Ratio of 1: ¼ (dal to water) works perfectly.
Soak chana dal for 15 – 30 minutes before cooking. It reduces the cooking time.
For me, in a stovetop pressure cooker, it takes 2 – 3 whistles over medium heat or 15 minutes to cook the dal perfectly for the khichdi. The chana dal should not be mushy.
The long grain basmati rice with less starch works best for this khichdi recipe.
This dal khichdi taste best when cooked in pure ghee or butter. To make it vegan you can use coconut oil.
After cooking the chana dal khichdi, fluff it using a fork, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. This ensures each grain of rice and lentil is non-sticky and fluffy.
More Indian Pulao Recipes
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Chana Dal Khichdi Recipe
- 1 Cup chana dal (Bengal Gram)
- 1 ¼ Cup basmati rice
- 4 tablespoon ghee or butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- ½ Cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon ginger – garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 ½ Cup water
- To make Chana Dal Pulao, first, wash and soak rice in water for 15 minutes. Similarly clean, wash and soak bengal gram in water for a15 – 30 minutes
- Next heat ghee in a pressure cooker over medium flame. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida Fry for 10 – 20 seconds.
- Add the chopped onion, and fry till the onion turn golden brown in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 10 – 20 seconds to remove the raw smell.
- Now drain water from the soaked Bengal gram dal. Add it in the pressure cooker along the salt to taste and spices. Fry for 1 minute.
- Add 1 ¼ cup water. Stir to mix. Pressure cook the dal for 2 – 3 whistles over medium heat. Turn off the heat. Let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker.
- Open the lid, add the soaked rice without water and stir to combine. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cup of water. Taste for seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and let the rice cook uncovered over slow heat.
- Once all the water is evaporated, cover the pressure cooker, and cook khichdi for 5 – 10 minutes.
- After cooking the chana dal khichdi, fluff it using a fork, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. This ensures each grain of rice and lentil is non-sticky and fluffy.
- Serve Chana Dal khichdi with fresh curd and pickle.
- Do not add too much water to cook the dal. The ratio of 1: ¼ (dal to water) works perfectly.
- Soak chana dal for 15 – 30 minutes before cooking. It reduces the cooking time.
- The chana dal should not be mushy or overcooked.
- The long grain basmati rice with less starch works best for this khichdi recipe.
- To make it vegan you can use coconut oil.
- You can cook it in an instant pot as well. It takes exactly 20 minutes in an instant pot.