Easy Kitchari (Instant Pot Friendly!)

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Lime wedges next to a bowl of Instant Pot kitchari

There’s a lot to love about kitchari, the cozy Ayurvedic porridge made with rice and lentils. It’s comforting, nourishing, infused with warming spices, and incredibly customizable. Our inspired take is Instant Pot friendly, making it a 1-pot and 30-minute dish! Let us show you how it’s done.

Spices, avocado oil, rice, coconut milk, carrots, water, and split yellow moong dal

What is Kitchari?

Kitchari (also known as khichurikhichri, or khichdi) is a dish with ancient roots in India. As early as 300 BC, an Indian philosopher and statesman named Chanukya wrote about a balanced meal made from rice, lentils, salt, and ghee or oil (source).

Kitchari means “mixture” and the dish is known for containing two main ingredients: rice and lentils (often moong dal). And it commonly includes spices such as turmeric, ginger, and more. In Ayurvedic medicine, kitchari is known for aiding detoxification and balancing the three doshas.

Recipes differ in regard to the spices used and can be modified to balance your doshas. If you want to learn more about kitchari, Ayurveda, and doshas, take a deeper dive here.

Toasted cumin seeds and mustard seeds

How to Make Kitchari

This recipe starts with toasting cumin seeds and mustard seeds in coconut or avocado oil to infuse the oil with flavor and give the seeds more nuttiness.

Next we add ginger, cardamom, and garam masala for warmth, turmeric for vibrancy, and carrots for a sweet spring addition. For the liquids, we use both water (which is more traditional) and light coconut milk (to add a creamy element).

Pouring coconut milk into a pot of kitchari

White basmati rice and moong dal soak up the flavors and cook in the Instant Pot in just 4 minutes (no soaking required!). The Instant Pot is a weeknight cook’s best friend.

But if you don’t have an Instant Pot, that’s okay, too! You can soak the moong dal overnight and use our stovetop instructions.

Instant Pot kitchari with carrots

After the Instant Pot does its magic, it’s ready for taste testing. Though not a traditional addition to kitchari, we enjoy adding coconut aminos here for depth of flavor.

Holding a bowl of kitchari topped with cilantro and coconut milk

We hope you LOVE this kitchari! It’s:

Comforting
Flavorful
Gingery
Creamy
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

It’s especially perfect for meal prep because it reheats well. And it feels incredibly nourishing any time you’re feeling under the weather. We love garnishing with fresh cilantro, coconut milk, and lemon or lime to take it up a notch. Pair with your favorite seasonal vegetables (we suggest kale and sweet potatoes!) for an easy and balanced meal. And for a serious flavor explosion, try pairing with our DIY green curry paste.

More Ayurvedic-Inspired Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a bowl of kitchari topped with cilantro and coconut milk

Easy Kitchari (Instant Pot Friendly!)

Delicious, easy, Ayurvedic-inspired kitchari that’s Instant Pot friendly! Comforting, nourishing, and infused with warming spices. Just 1 pot and 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of kitchari topped with coconut milk and cilantro
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Indian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil (or sub coconut milk for oil-free)
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds (or sub half as much ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seeds (or sub half as much mustard powder)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup basmati white rice
  • 3/4 cup split yellow moong dal (or sub red lentils, but kitchari is typically made with mung beans)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (plus more to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (optional // for creaminess, richness // sub more water if omitting)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut aminos (optional // for depth of flavor)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

INSTANT POT

  • In a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot, turn the SAUTÉ function to LOW (on the Duo Nova model, do this by pressing the sauté button a couple of times or until the screen reads “low”). Once hot, add coconut or avocado oil (or coconut milk if oil-free), press “CANCEL”, and then add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and stir until toasted and fragrant (the residual heat after pressing “CANCEL” will toast them without burning).
  • Add all remaining ingredients except coconut aminos — so ginger, carrot, rice, moong dal, cardamom, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, sea salt, water, and light coconut milk (optional // if omitting coconut milk, sub more water). Stir to combine.
  • Put on the Instant Pot lid and turn to seal. Pressure cook on HIGH for 4 minutes (it will take about 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before cooking begins). Once the timer goes off, let the steam release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. If in a hurry, you can carefully quick release.
  • Optionally, add coconut aminos for depth of flavor and stir. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for overall flavor, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, cumin for smokiness, or garam masala for warming/clove flavor.
  • We like to garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon or lime juice and serve with steamed or roasted vegetables (sweet potato is a favorite!), naan, and homemade green curry paste.
  • Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop, stirring frequently, until warmed (add more water or some vegetable broth as needed if dry).

STOVETOP

  • SOAK MOONG DAL: Add moong dal to a large mixing bowl and cover with water by at least 2 inches. It will expand as it soaks. Soak for 12-24 hours, then drain and set aside.
  • Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut or avocado oil (or coconut milk if oil-free) and whole cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Toast for ~30 seconds or until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except coconut aminos — so ginger, carrot, rice, moong dal, cardamom, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, sea salt, water, and light coconut milk (optional // if omitting coconut milk, sub more water). Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until moong dal is tender.
  • Optionally, add coconut aminos for depth of flavor and stir. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, cumin for smokiness, or garam masala for warming/clove flavor.
  • We like to garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon or lime juice and serve with steamed or roasted vegetables (sweet potato is a favorite!), naan, and homemade green curry paste.
  • Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop, stirring frequently, until warmed (add more water or some vegetable broth as needed if dry).

Video

Notes

*Cook time and total time listed are for Instant Pot method.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Adapted from our 1-Pot Cauliflower Rice Kitchari and Piping Pot Curry’s Moon Dal Fry/Split Yellow Lentils Soup.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 259 Carbohydrates: 45 g Protein: 11.2 g Fat: 5 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 469 mg Potassium: 116 mg Fiber: 3.3 g Sugar: 3.1 g Vitamin A: 2643 IU Vitamin C: 3.1 mg Calcium: 70.2 mg Iron: 4.2 mg

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  1. Nina says

    I loooove this recipe!! I had been planning on making kitchari forever and never quite got to it. Then I stumbled upon your recipe at random and decided to make it because I had everything for it at home. It was so delicious! I am cooking as we speak and making it a second time – one of my favorite meals! The best part: It can be heated up super easily and still tastes great the next day. Highly recommended!

  2. Amy S says

    Made this tonight using the stove top method and it was absolutely delicious! So flavourful and comforting and love that it was one pot! Added some spinach and served it with the roasted sweet potatoes – perfect!

  3. Becca says

    Hiya! I’m planning on making this on the stovetop for my flat tonight and had trouble finding moong daal so I’ll be using red lentils – was just wondering if I need to soak them before cooking? Thanks!

  4. Allyson says

    10/10!! This recipe is so easy and delicious that I’ve made it three times in the last week and have recommended it to my friends and family. My kids who are the pickiest eaters also love it.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad to hear you and your family enjoy it, Allyson. Thanks so much for sharing! xo

  5. Katja says

    I never heard of Kitchari before but this looked so good, so I tried it today.
    It’s really easy and delicious and flavourful.
    We will surely make this again 😍

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you gave it a try and enjoyed it, Katja. Thanks for sharing! xo

  6. Tina says

    Ultimate comfort food! Yumm!
    Thank you for referencing the culture it originated from in your description.

    Never had it with coconut aminos, interesting! Will give it a try next time.
    :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kristen, we don’t think it would work, but admittedly haven’t tried it. Let us know if you try it!

  7. Anne-Marie Parent says

    This recipe was a weeknight winner! It was so easy to make, and super flavourful. It is also very kid-friendly. I made it using an instant pot. It was easy just to place the ingredients in there go away for 10-15 minutes and come back. The texture of the rice and split yellow moong dal was pure comfort food! I will be making this one again for sure!

  8. Avia says

    So yummy, comforting & delicious! I used brown basmati & pressure cooked for 20 mins, there was some liquid when done but is stirred through to create a lovely consistency almost like porridge. Will definitely be making this again!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kari, mung beans are green. Moong dal is yellow and made from whole mung beans that are hulled and split.

  9. Antesa says

    Any chance it would be possible to make this with quinoa instead of rice? I don’t have an instant pot so it would be on the stovetop. Any tips?

  10. Neha says

    So delicious, I used full fat coconut milk as thats what I had which came out great. I’d like to try this with green split moong dal as well. Any tips on the best way to mince ginger? I find it hard to chop small as its quite tough

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Neha! For fresh ginger, we’d suggest peeling, using a sharp chef’s knife, and cutting it in half and placing the flat surfaces on the cutting board for a more steady chop. Hope that helps!

  11. Kitkat says

    Made this the other day and it was ok. It definitely is best on the same day (as mentioned in recipe), since the following day it was mega paste like thick. I diluted with some coconut milk and had with besan chilla so it was fine. I definitely see this being very easy on the stomach on days when you need something simple and gentle. With that being said, your blog provides something for everyone! Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing! It’s common for kitchari to thicken up on day 2. I like to thin with a little more water, coconut milk, and add more salt or a little coconut aminos to maintain some flavor.

    • Minaal says

      This is such a staple in our house. Thank you for sharing! Have you heard of vaghareli roti? It is another great Indian comfort food (but specifically from the Gujarat state). I’d love to see your take on it!

  12. Amy says

    This sounds amazing! It would be my first time using mung beans/moong dal. Do they need to be the “yellow split” variety for this dish or can they be whole? It seems the split, skinless variety may be what makes the dish what it is?

    Thanks for your advice!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amy, we prefer yellow split here. With green mung beans, you’ll need to cook a little longer which may leave the rice too mushy.

  13. Lyndsey says

    If I’m subbing red lentils cooking stovetop, do I need to soak them? I’ve only used red lentils in the slow cooker up to now.

  14. Mo says

    This was really good — easy and comforting on a tough night here in Minneapolis. I used a whole can of full fat coconut milk, and 2 cups of water. Came out creamy and delicious.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Mo. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  15. Laura says

    I just made this for lunch and it turned out perfect! Simple, light yet filling and tummy warming. I’ll definitely be having this for dinner with some naan and a kale salad.

  16. E says

    can you use brown rice? and how the timing for the IP would modify?
    also for red lentils, is it the same time?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, Yes, red lentils would be the same time. We haven’t tried it with brown rice because we think its longer cook time might cause everything to get mushy. But if you try it, we’d suggest 20-25 minutes high pressure. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we haven’t tried it with brown rice because we think its longer cook time might cause everything to get mushy. But if you try it, we’d suggest 20-25 minutes high pressure. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we haven’t tried it with brown rice because we think its longer cook time might cause everything to get mushy. But if you try it, we’d suggest 20-25 minutes high pressure. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we haven’t tried it with brown rice because we think its longer cook time might cause everything to get mushy. But if you try it, we’d suggest 20-25 minutes high pressure. Let us know if you do some experimenting!