Homemade Palak Khichdi Bowl: Ultimate Vegetarian Comfort Food

Palak khichdi is a wholesome vegetarian dish that combines rice and mung dal with vibrant spinach and fragrant spices. This khichdi bowl is served with its classic accompaniments to make a complete meal. Palak khichdi bowl is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly comforting, perfect for a cozy lunch or light dinner.

Palak khichdi served with papad, yogurt, and pickle.

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Palak Khichdi (or spinach khichdi) is made using yellow mung dal and rice, which are simmered with vibrant spinach and aromatic spices. A fragrant lasooni tadka, or garlicky tempering, adds another layer of flavor to this comforting vegetarian dish.

Also popular as kitchari, this comforting bowl comes together quickly and easily. This makes it an ideal choice for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.

My Palak Khichdi Bowl draws inspiration from an age-old saying in India: “Khichdi tere chaar yaar,” which translates to “Khichdi, you have four friends.” This proverb refers to the simplicity and completeness of khichdi, where the “four friends” traditionally represent the accompaniments served with the dish: ghee (clarified butter), papad (crispy lentil wafers), dahi (yogurt), and achar (Indian pickle).

These accompaniments add flavor and texture to the simple dish, enhancing its taste. This saying emphasizes the traditional way of enjoying khichdi with these four essentials, making it a popular and comforting meal choice in Indian households.

Ingredients

Moong Dal / Split Yellow Lentils: These small, yellow lentils cook quickly and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor.

Rice: Basmati rice is a great choice for this recipe, but you can substitute any variety of rice for this recipe.

Baby Spinach: Tender and flavorful, baby spinach adds a vibrant pop of color to the khichdi. You can substitute it with regular spinach.

Tempering: Ghee, cumin seeds, garlic, dried red chili, and red chili powder are combined to create a fragrant tadka.

Accompaniments: A dollop of cool yogurt adds a refreshing tang and creaminess to the khichdi, balancing the richness of the ghee and spices. Serve with a side of Indian pickle (like mango or lime) for a burst of tangy and spicy flavors. Papadums, thin, crispy lentil wafers, give a satisfying textural element.

See the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step Instructions

Roasted moong dal in a pan.

Step 1: Place a large pot or pan on medium heat and add the moong dal. Dry roast it for 2-3 minutes.

Moong dal, rice, water, and turmeric in the pan.

Step 2: Rinse the dry-roasted dal and rice thoroughly. Add them to the pot along with turmeric powder, salt, and 3 cups of water. Mix well and bring it to a boil. 

Cooked khichdi in the pan.

Step 3: Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the dal and rice are fully cooked. Keep checking every few minutes, and add more water as needed.

Spinach cooked in the khichdi.

Step 4: Once the dal and rice are cooked, add the spinach leaves and mix well. Let the spinach wilt for a minute. 

Garlic and spice tempering (tadka) in a small frying pan.

Step 5: Heat ghee in a small pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the dried chili and red chili powder. Saute for a few seconds and turn off the heat.

Tadka topped on the khichdi in the pan.

Step 6: Reserve some ghee from the tempering and pour the remaining tempering on the khichdi. Mix well.

Khichdi served in a bowl with tadka on the top.

Step 7: To assemble palak khichdi bowls, spoon in a generous amount of khichdi in serving bowls and top with ghee from the tempering and papadums. Place yogurt and Indian pickle in small bowls and serve it alongside the bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Dry roasting the moong dal before cooking adds a delightful nutty aroma to the finished dish. However, be mindful not to over-roast it, as this can make the lentils tough and require additional cooking time.
  • Spinach cooks quickly. Add it towards the end of the cooking process to retain its vibrant green color and slightly wilted texture.
  • Baby spinach works beautifully, but feel free to experiment with other greens like kale or Swiss chard. These will add slightly different flavors and textures.

Serving Suggestions

Ghee, creamy yogurt, tangy Indian pickles, and crispy papadums are classic accompaniments for palak khichdi. These traditional side dishes complement the earthy flavors of the khichdi, offering a balanced and satisfying meal experience. Pair the khichdi with masala papad for an added kick.

I also like to serve it with roasted veggies and red lentil fritters for a more indulgent and whole meal. The spicy potato fry, which is a classic combination with a curd rice bowl, is also perfect with khichdi.

Storage Tips

This Palak Khichdi reheats beautifully, making it a great option for meal prepping or enjoying leftovers. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, add a splash of water to loosen the consistency and bring it back to a comforting warmth.

Palak khichdi in a white bowl.

More Comfort Food Recipes

  1. Indulge in comfort with this Chicken Khichdi! This wholesome one-pot meal is a perfect blend of aromatic rice, lentils, and tender chicken, all effortlessly cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot.
  2. Craving veggie comfort with a burst of flavor? This Vegetable Lentil Curry is packed with protein, flavor, and healthy goodness. Tender veggies, melt-in-your-mouth lentils, and warming spices create a cozy bowlful of pure satisfaction.
  3. Back to basics, bursting with flavor! This simple dal recipe brings back the pure joy of home-cooked meals. There are no fancy ingredients, just pure comfort in every spoonful.

If you tried this Palak Khichdi Bowl Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

Palak khichdi topped with tempering and papad.

Palak Khichdi Bowl

Palak khichdi is a wholesome vegetarian dish that combines rice and mung dal with vibrant spinach and fragrant spices. This khichdi bowl is served with its classic accompaniments to make a complete meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Shilpa

Equipment

  • Large pot

Ingredients

  • ½ cup moong dal split yellow lentils
  • ½ cup rice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½-1 teaspoons salt adjust as per taste
  • 3 cups water add more as needed
  • 2 cups baby spinach tightly packed

Tempering:

Everything Else:

Instructions

  • Place a large pot or pan on medium heat and add the moong dal. Dry roast it for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the dal to a bowl and wash it thoroughly along with the rice.
  • Add the dal and rice to the pot along with turmeric powder, salt, and water. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and let it simmer fo 25-30 minutes or until the dal and rice is fully cooked. Keep checking every few minutes and add more water as needed.
  • Once the dal and rice are cooked, add the spinach leaves and mix well. Let the spinach wilt for a minute. In the meantime, prepare the tempering.
  • Heat ghee in a small pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the dried chili and red chili powder. Saute for a few seconds and turn off the heat.
  • Reserve some ghee from the tempering and pour the remaining tempering into the khichdi. Mix well.
  • Assemble and serve: Spoon a generous amount of khichdi into serving bowls. Top with the ghee from the tempering and papadums. Place yogurt and Indian pickles in small bowls and serve them alongside the bowl.

Notes

  • Dry roasting the moong dal before cooking adds a delightful nutty aroma to the finished dish. However, be mindful not to over-roast it, as this can make the lentils tough and require additional cooking time.
  • Spinach cooks quickly. Add it towards the end of the cooking process to retain its vibrant green color and slightly wilted texture.
  • Baby spinach works beautifully, but feel free to experiment with other greens like kale or Swiss chard. These will add slightly different flavors and textures.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1504IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
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Palak khichdi bowl social media image.

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