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Khichdi (dish)

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A bowl of dal khichri served with achar
Alternative namesKhichdi, khichadi, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri (Bengali), khisiri (Assamese), khechidi/khechudi (Odia), kisuri (Sylheti), khichari, kitcheree, kitchree
Place of originIndia
Region or stateIndian Subcontinent
Associated cuisineIndia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius
Main ingredientsRice, lentils and spices
Ingredients generally usedCauliflower, potatoes, green peas and other vegetables
VariationsMung dal khichri, bajra-ri-khichri (Rajasthani millet khichri), sadi khichri (lentil and rice khichri)
Homemade khichadi
Khichri prasāda served in areca-leaf traditional bowl, Bengaluru

Khichdi or khichri (Urdu: کھچڑی, romanizedkhicṛī, Hindi: खिचड़ी, romanizedkhicṛī, pronounced [ˈkʰɪtʃɽiː], Bengali: খিচুড়ি, romanizedKhicuṛi, Odia: ଖେଚୁଡି) is a dish in South Asian cuisine made of rice and lentils (dal) with numerous variations. Variations include bajra and mung dal khichri. In Indian culture, in several regions, especially in the northern areas, it is considered one of the first solid foods that babies eat.[1][2][3]

Etymology and spelling

Sabudana khichri is a popular food during Shivratri or Navratri fasts.

The word Khichdī is derived from Sanskrit खिच्चा khiccā,[4][5] a dish of rice and legumes.[6]

Some divergence of transliteration may be noted in the third consonant in the word khicṛī. The sound is the retroflex flap [ɽ], which is written in Hindi with the Devanagari letter ⟨ड़⟩, and in Urdu script with the Perso-Arabic letter ⟨ڑ⟩. In Hindustani phonology, the etymological origin of the retroflex flap was /ɖ/ when it occurred between vowels.[7] Hence in Devanagari the letter ⟨⟩, representing /ɖ/, was adapted to write /ɽ/ by adding a diacritic under it. In Urdu script, the phonological quality of the flap was represented by adapting the letter ⟨ر⟩, representing /r/, with a diacritic added above it to indicate the retroflex quality. The occurrence of this consonant in the word khicṛī has given rise to two alternative spellings in English: khichri, which reflects its phonology, and khichdi, which reflects its etymology.


The Greek king Seleucus during his campaign in India (305-303 BC), mentioned that rice with pulses is very popular among people of the Indian subcontinent.[3] Strabo also notes that Indian food mainly consisted of rice porridge and a beverage made of rice, presently called arak.[8] The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta mentions khichdi as a dish in India composed of rice and mung beans, during his stay around 1350.[9] khichdi is described in the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. It was very popular with the Mughals, especially Jahangir. Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century document written by Mughal Emperor Akbar's vizier, Abu'l Fadl, mentions the recipe for khichdi, which gives seven variations.[10] There is an anecdotal story about khichdi featuring Akbar and his court advisor, Birbal.[11]

The Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree is thought to derive from khichri.[12][13]

Regional variations

Khichdi is a very popular dish across the Indian subcontinent which consists of, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The dish is also widely prepared in many Indian states, such as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Maharashtra.[14] Vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, and green peas are commonly added.

Hindus, mainly from north/northwest, who avoid eating grains during fasting, eat Sabudana khichri made from sago.[15][16] In the southern part of India, however, the word khichri is not that popular. While people of Tamil Nadu and Andhra regions cook Pongal, and Kannadigas prepare Huggi which is mung dal khichdi and Bisi bele bhath, a pigeon pea variation with vegetables, Keralites have no similar dish.

Khichdi was the inspiration for Anglo-Indian kedgeree[12][17] Khichdi is a popular traditional staple in Haryana, specially in the rural areas. Haryanvi khichdi is made from pearl millet and mung dal (split mung bean) pounded in mortar (unkhal), and often eaten by mixing with warm ghee or lassi, or even yogurt.[18][19][20][21] Sometimes, jowar is also mixed with bajra and mung dal.[21]

The Hyderabadi Muslim community, of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, in present-day Telangana, Marathwada, and Kalyana-Karnataka regions, make khichdi as a common breakfast dish, and is an important part of Hyderabadi cuisine.[22] The dish is called khichri, kheema, khatta, or other switch-around versions of the previous, named after the three parts of the meal, Khichri, ground beef, and a sour sauce, made of tamarind and sesame.[23]

Khichra is similar to haleem, a meat dish, while khichra is a vegetarian dish with rice and pulses or lentils, with no spices.[24]

National dish controversy

In 2017, Indian media unofficially designated it as the "national dish", as it is being globally promoted by the government of India as "queen of all foods". The report that the government may designate khichri as India's "national dish" brought significant ridicule from the opposition politicians.[25]

However, India's Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal clarified that while Khichdi is considered nutritious and healthy food in India, the government did not have any plans to designate a national food.[26][27][28]

In popular culture

Khichdi has lent its name to media synonymous with ensembles or potpourri as depicted in the popular culture through movies such as Khichdi: The Movie, and TV sitcoms such as Khichdi and Instant Khichdi.

The dish has been cooked at both MasterChef Australia[29] and America.[1]


See also


  1. ^ a b IANS (15 February 2016). "Gujarati khichdi rocks Masterchef, thanks to Indian American chef". The Hans India. Retrieved 9 October 2022. See MasterChef (American season 6)
  2. ^ "Khichdi Indian Recipe", indianhealthyrecipes.com Swasthi Recipes, 23 June 2022
  3. ^ a b Gandhi, Malar (15 April 2012). "Khichdi–A Comfort Food – India Currents". Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  4. ^ McGregor, R.S., ed. (1997). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5.
  5. ^ "Tale of the humble 'Khichdi'". The Times of India. 17 July 2021. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  6. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1995). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 339. ISBN 81-208-0065-6. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  7. ^ Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-521-23420-4. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  8. ^ Reddy, Anjana (2016). "Archaeology of Indo-Gulf Relations in the Early Historic Period: The Ceramic Evidence". In Himanshu Prabha Ray (ed.). Bridging the Gulf: Maritime Cultural Heritage of the Western Indian Ocean. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers. p. 68. ISBN 978-93-5098-143-6.
  9. ^ Husain, Mabdi (1976) [1953]. "Rehla of Ibn Battuta". Internet Archive. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  10. ^ Recipes for Dishes Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine Ain-i-Akbari, by Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. English tr. by Heinrich Blochmann and Colonel Henry Sullivan Jarrett, 1873–1907. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, Volume I, Chapter 24, page 59. "3. K'hichri. Rice, split dal, and ghee 5 s. of each; ⅓ s. salt: this gives seven dishes."
  11. ^ "Cooking The Khichdi is one of Birbal Stories". English for Students. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas (1997) Lobscouse and Spotted Dog; Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels, Norton, p. 12. ISBN 978-0-393-32094-7
  13. ^ Smith, Delia. "Buttery Kedgeree". Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
  14. ^ Chatterjee, Priyadarshini (10 February 2017). "From Kashmir to Karnataka, khichdi is the one true underestimated food of India". Scroll.in. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  15. ^ Sean Williams, 2015, "The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook, Volume II: Complete Meals from around the world", Routledge Taylor & Francis group, page 37.
  16. ^ Uma Aggarwal, 2009, "The Exquisite World of Indian Cuisine", Allied Publications, page 106.
  17. ^ Chatterjee, Rhitu (20 July 2017). "'Khichuri': An Ancient Indian Comfort Dish With A Global Influence". NPR. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  18. ^ 1990, "Haryana District Gazetteers: Sonipat", Government of Haryana publication, Page 83.
  19. ^ 1912, "Haryana District Gazetteers: Delhi district gazetteer", Government of India Gazetteers Organisation, Page 90.
  20. ^ 1987, "Haryana District Gazetteers: Hisar", Government of Haryana publication, Page 65.
  21. ^ a b Charmaine O' Brien, 2013, "The Penguin Food Guide to India", Penguin Books Penguin Books.
  22. ^ "Hyderabadi Brunch: Khichdi Khatta Kheema". talkistania. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  23. ^ "My Kitchen's Aroma: Khichdi Keema Khatta". mykitchenaroma.blogspot.ca. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Haleem/Khichda - Wheat berries, Meat and Lentils Porridge", journeykitchen, retrieved 27 January 2023
  25. ^ "Nothing cooking: Khichdi not national dish, says minister after Twitter storm". Hindustan Times. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  26. ^ IANS (1 November 2017). "Government to designate 'khichdi' as national dish". Business Standard India. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  27. ^ "'Fictitious' Khichdi Cooked Up, Says Minister On National Dish Buzz". NDTV. PTI. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Khichdi not national food, clarifies Harsimrat Kaur Badal". The Hindu. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  29. ^ Keshri, Shweta (27 May 2021). "MasterChef Australia judges bowled over by Bengali Khichuri and Begun Bharta. Viral video". India Today. Retrieved 9 October 2022.