Makar Sankranti is the marking of a new year as per the Hindu Solar Calendar. For me, it is the perfect warm winter day to enjoy urad dal khichdi with ghee, papad, dahi, and achaar. Be sure to watch the video!
About Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is the embarking of a New Year as per the Hindu calendar. Across different states of India, the festival is celebrated as – Pongal, Lohri, Bihu, and so on.
Like any other Indian festival, Makar Sankranti also has a lot of food rituals around it. There is a variety of traditional food items and dishes enjoyed only on the day of Makar Sankranti.
A few popular ones are:
- Til Gud Ladoo
- Puran Poli
- Sweet Pongal
- Peanut Chikki
- Meethe Chawal
- Urad Dal Khichdi
- Sarson Ka Saag
- Chana Dal Pulao
- Murmura Ladoo
In Kumaoni culture or the region of Uttarakhand, we celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti with a family meal of urad dal khichdi with loads of ghee, Kumaoni vada, Pahadi raita, and Ghughute (Kumaoni sweets).
The khichdi eating ritual on Makar Sankranti day is one of my favorite food memories of childhood. Every now and then I try to relive this memory by making dal khichdi to celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti.
The Significance of Urad Dal
The split urad dal (chilka urad dal) has some sort of divine connection with the festival of Makar Sankranti.
In many regions, it is a must, to consume urad dal on the day of Makar Sankranti. Many people donate packets of uncooked black urad dal and rice to homeless people or those in need. A lot of temples offer urad dal khichdi as parasd (sacred offering) on the day of Sankranti.
And not to forget dollops of ghee with urad dal khichdi for the added flavor and to make it easily digestible.
Those of you complaining about the busy schedule I must tell you this dal khichdi is done in a pressure cooker and takes less than 30 minutes to get ready.
Though I know my grandmother’s soul won’t rest in peace seeing me cooking her favorite khichdi in a pressure cooker. But like you, I too have busy weekdays and demanding weekends. So I did cheat a little bit and adapted the quick route to making urad dal khichdi.
You can make it in an instant pot or electric pressure cooker as well like a regular dal khichdi.
Urad Dal: split black gram or chilka urad dal is the key ingredient of this khichdi recipe.
Rice: short to medium-grain white rice. I do not prefer using basmati rice for making khichdi.
Ghee: there is no substitute for ghee in this recipe. Unsalted butter can do the job but the taste is not so delicious.
Whole Spices: cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, dry red chilies
Tempering: cumin seeds, ginger, asafoetida, onion
Seasoning: turmeric, red chili powder, salt, garam masala
Watch Urad Dal Khichdi Video
There is a food saying prevalent in India, ‘Khichdi ke chaar yaar – dahi, mooli, ghee, achaar.‘ It translates as khichdi has four friends – curd, radish, ghee, and pickle, without these a bowl of khichdi is not complete.
Hence, you can serve urad dal khichdi with:
Curd or Raita
Fried or Roasted Papad
More Urad Dal Recipes
If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment and a rating. This helps us grow and reach other food lovers like you.
Urad Dal Khichdi Recipe
- ½ Cup split black gram (chilka urad dal)
- 1 Cup white rice
- ⅛ Cup ghee (jeera)
- 4 cloves (laung)
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 2 dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ⅓ Cup chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 ½ Cup water
- 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (see recipe)
- Rinse urad dal until water runs clear. Soak dal in water for 1 hour. Similarly, rinse rice until water runs clear. Soak in a separate bowl for 15 minutes.
- Once you are ready to prepare khichdi, drain all the water from lentil and rice. Keep them next to the stovetop.
- Heat ghee in a pressure cooker over medium flame. Once hot, cumin seeds, red chilies, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, grated ginger, and asafoetida. Fry for 20 seconds.
- Add chopped onion. Saute onion till light brown in color. This takes 1 minute.
- Add lentils (dal), red chili powder, turmeric, and saute precisely for 1 minute. This step enhances the flavor of khichdi.
- Next, add rice, mix nicely with other ingredients in the pressure cooker. Add water, salt, and garam masala. At this stage, taste khichdi liquid and if required season with more salt/spices.
- Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook khichdi for 2 whistles over low to medium heat. Allow the steam to release naturally from the pressure cooker.
- Open the lid and fluff the khichdi using a fork or spoon.
- Serve Urad Dal Khichdi warm with ghee, papad, and achaar.
- This khichdi is prepared with split black gram. DO NOT use skinned or whole black gram.
- Ghee gives a sweet taste and aroma to the khichdi. Also, it aids in digesting urad dal. I would not recommend using any other fat for cooking this khichdi except ghee or unsalted butter.
- Do not pressure cook the khichdi over high heat. It needs to be slow cooked so that both lentils and rice are evenly cooked.
- This is a bit spicy khichdi. Hence, adjust the number of chilies and spices according to your preference.