Instant Pot Kitchari Recipe – Easy, Vegan & Gluten-free

Instant Pot Kitchari Recipe – Easy, Vegan & Gluten-free


Learn how to make Kitchari in your Instant Pot – a traditional Indian recipe for basmati rice with red lentils or Mung Dal that is easy to digest, packed with fiber and warming spices! Perfect for the cold season. Jump to Recipe

overhead shot of Instant Pot Kitchari

Meet Kitchari,  the ultimate Indian comfort food! Think of it as the Chicken Noodle Soup of India.

Kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ree) is a delicious, warming and super nourishing combination of split mung beans or quick-cooking lentils and white basmati rice with plenty of spices.  It’s the perfect soul-hugging food for rainy days when you’re a bit under the weather.

The unique blend of spices used in kitchari not only adds flavor but is also wonderfully warming and balancing – perfect for fall and winter and just delicious. Kitchari can be made many different ways and has references dating back thousands of years. But despite its complex flavor, it’s so easy to make!

You start by sauteeing the spices along with some onions, chili, ginger, and garlic to boost their fragrance and enhance their flavor! Then you add in your rice and dal, veggies, and some liquid. Cook it for 3 minutes in the Instant pot, let the steam release and you’re good to go.

overhead shot of basmati rice dal split mung beans and red lentils next to a bowl of water

Kitchari is dal and rice risotto like preparation that usually is very lightly spiced and served as light meal when you are sick or just to give the tummy a break with a simple nourishing meal.  The basic version is slightly bland with just 1 or 2 spices and kept so to be a light meal. You can add different spices, some vegetables, tomato etc to make it a hearty meal. This recipe is adapted from my book version. Also see my hearty green moong and brown rice version on the blog. Khichdi is generally overcooked to be more of a mash for easy digestion. I cook it for less time for the grains and lentils to retain shape (as seen in the pictured on this post) and a few minutes longer for a mash, when wanting it more porridge style.

Instant Pot Kitchari

Learn how to make Kitchari in your Instant Pot – a traditional ayurvedic recipe for basmati rice with red lentils that is easy to digest, packed with fiber and warming spices! Perfect for the cold season. 

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time10 mins

release pressure + pressure build up10 mins

Total Time25 mins

Course: Main, Side

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: indian kitchari, Instant pot kitchari, khichdi recipe, kitchari recipe, vegan lentils and rice

Servings: 4

Calories: 207kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (92.5 g) long grain white basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup (96 g) quick cooking lentils such as split Red lentils (masoor dal) or (petite yellow lentils)Mung Dal or both
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/3 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 inch (7 g) ginger finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf or 6 curry leaves , optional
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala , optional
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne optional
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped vegetables
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (473.18 ml) water 2.5 for saucier

Instructions

  • Wash the lentils and rice then soak in hot water for 15 minutes. 

  • Heat the Instant Pot on saute. Add oil and let it heat up. Add cumin or mustard seeds and cook for half a minute. 

  • Add the onion, chile, garlic and a pinch of salt (and bay leaves or curry leaves) and cook for 2 mins.

  • Add ginger and spices and mix in. 

  • Add tomato and cook for 3 mins. Mash the larger pieces. Add 2 tbsp water to deglaze mid way.

  • Drain and add the lentils and rice. Add water, salt, veggies and mix well to pick up any stuck bits. 

  • Close the lid and pressure cook one of the following times. Low pressure for 3 mins for pictured version. High pressure for 3 to 6 minutes for a porridge and if using mung dal. Once the cooking cycle is done, quick release the pressure after 5 mins. 

  • Fold in cilantro and lemon and fluff. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. 

Notes

  •  You can add any blend of veggies! Think carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and spinach. Use any blend you like.
  • Make sure not to burn the spices or your kitchari will be bitter. 
  • White basmati rice can be substituted for other quick cooking whole grains such as quinoa, and amaranth.
  • Feel free to play around with the spices and vegetables, according to what you enjoy and what’s in season.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Kitchari

Amount Per Serving

Calories 207 Calories from Fat 18

% Daily Value*

Fat 2g3%

Sodium 448mg19%

Potassium 455mg13%

Carbohydrates 39g13%

Fiber 9g38%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 9g18%

Vitamin A 167IU3%

Vitamin C 12mg15%

Calcium 64mg6%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ingredients:

  • The unique blend of spices used in kitchari is there to not only add flavor but also wonderfully warming, balancing and anti-inflammatory spices, and the blend is just delicious.
  • Along with the tempered spices, onion, ginger, chili and garlic form the base of this kitchari recipe
  • rice – basmati rice is the best choice here. Like the split mung beans, white basmati rice has been hulled and so it is pretty easy to digest.
  • Use red or golden lentils – any quick-cooking lentils or split mung beans dal

Tips & Variations:

  •  You can add any blend of veggies! Think carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and spinach. Use any blend you like.
  • Make sure not to burn the spices or your kitchari will be bitter.
  • White basmati rice can be substituted for other whole grains such as quinoa, and amaranth.
  • Feel free to play around with the spices and vegetables, according to what you enjoy and what’s in season.

How to make Instant Pot Kitchari

red lentils and rice soaking in water

Wash the lentils and rice then soak in warm water for 15 minutes.

onions, garlic and spices being fried in an Instant Pot to make Kitchari


Heat the Instant Pot on saute. Add oil and let it heat up. Start by adding cumin or mustard seeds to the oil and cook for half a minute.

Add the onion, chile, garlic, and a pinch of salt (and bay leaves or curry leaves) and cook for 2 mins. Then, add ginger and spices and mix in. Finally, add tomato and cook for 3 mins. Mash the larger pieces and let Add 2 tbsp water to deglaze midway.

soaked rice and lentils being added to Instant Pot to make Kitchari


Drain and add the lentils and rice. Add water, salt, veggies and mix well to pick up any stuck bits.

Kitchari simmering in an Instant Pot

Close the lid and pressure cook over high for 5 mins for porridge like and Low pressure for 3 minutes for more spiced rice kind of dish. Once the cooking cycle is done, quick release the pressure after 5 mins. Stir in cilantro and lemon. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.

fresh cilantro being sprinkled on top of kitchari

 

And best of all,  kitchari is great for meal prep or freezing. You can make a big batch of this lentil rice dish, keep it in the fridge for days and just heat it up whenever you’re ready to eat it!

a bowl of Instant Pot Kitchari with a spoon

 

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