Masoor Dal er khichuri or Masoor Dal Diye Khichuri is one of the super tasty, savoury monsoon favourite meals in Bengali cooking. It is commonly known as Chale Dale Khichuri. Khichuri is a delicious porridge type of dish, a comfort meal. It is an ultra-easy dish to cook with staple pantry ingredients and even better to eat!
From Monsoon till winter, there is a Khichuri recipe for every season and occasion! This Masoor Dal er Khichuri or Chale Dale Khichuri is a representative of Barsha or monsoon in Bengal. The texture of this Khichuri is in between a soup and porridge.
Barsha (Monsoon) and Khichuri
Traditional Bengali cooking is influenced by local and seasonal produces. Of course, modern Bengalis cook many regional and global recipes in their kitchen but the love for traditional cooking, celebrate seasonal specials are always there.
West Bengal is one of India’s eastern regional states, and here the temperature is favourable for various crops cultivation throughout the year. Rice is the life-sustaining crop of west Bengal. Barsha ( monsoon) is an important season in west Bengal that lasts well and helps grow, nurtured the winter rice( Kharif crop) throughout the season.
Nothing can be more eye-soothing than the green rice field under the grey monsoon sky! and then, the rivers rush towards the sea. In my opinion, it is the most romantic and beautiful season of Bengal! Khichuri is one of those dishes to savour to enjoy the long-awaited monsoon after a harsh and humid summer. But, over raining or lack of rain could be a sin for crops and farmers too!
Khichuri is different from Khichdi
Recently there was a Bengali Khichuri recipe shared in master chef Australia! And I saw some of my Indian friends commented on Master chef Australia’s Facebook page and asked why she cooked Khichdi for judges? Don’t we serve Khichdi to someone who is sick? I couldn’t stop laughing by reading their comments. I realised the confusion created because of the similar look and ingredients used for Khichdi and Khichuri!
For Bengalis, Khichuri is the season’s favourite comfort meal. Rice and lentil cooked together with a few whole and ground spices until it reaches the creamy consistency. No weird ingredients in it. Though there are a whole lot of easy, tasty Bengali recipes those we can cook solely with pantry items. But, Khichuri is an irresistible one-pot wonder. A combination of whole and ground spices, Ghee, ginger, green chilli, and sometimes onion, are added as flavouring components to the khichuri to enhance the taste and flavour.
But, in many states of India, a boiling creamy mixture of rice and lentils seasoned with salt and Turmeric, served with a dollop of ghee called Khichdi! It is the simplest form of dinner for the western states of India, easy to make and digest! Khichdi often makes a remedy for stomach upset in northern India. In other scenario, when anyone want to eat something lite for dinner, no veggies or spices added!
Khichuri accompanied by Beguni( bengali style eggplant fritter), Machh Bhaja ( Bengali style fish fry), Panpor Bhaja ( fried Papad) and omelette. It says eating a larger portion of Khichuri could be a reason for stomach upset! During the winter months, we must add winter vegetables such as cauliflower, peas, radish, carrot into the Khichuri!
Ingredients required for Masoor Dal er Khichuri
The key ingredients you need to make this Khichuri are the equal portion of rice and lentils.
Rice – The aromatic short-grain starchy variety of rice used in Khichuri, these days Gobindo Bhog, Kaleejira, Chinigura are the famous short-grain rice readily available in many foreign countries too. But for Masoor Dal er Khichuri, any short grain rice that you get in your locality. Alternatively parboiled rice you can use as well. Basmati rice is also a good option in case you don’t get short-grain rice. I must say Khichuri tastes best when cooked with starchy rice.
Masoor Dal or Red lentils – It is a typical Dal or lentil used for everyday Bengali meals. And now we don’t need to visit Indian store to buy it here in Melbourne, we get this lentils in our supermarket too!
Spices – It is no surprise that Turmeric is a significant ingredient in Indian and South- Asian cooking. However, along with Turmeric powder, we also need some essential spices for Bengali cooking, such as whole and ground cumin, ground coriander, green cardamoms, cloves etc.
Oil – Mustard oil is another dominant ingredient in Bengali cuisine, but you don’t need to make a trip to your Indian grocery store for it; you can use vegetable oil too. And if you decide to cook the Khichuri with Ghee, your Khichuri is going taste way better than this recipe for sure!
What to serve with Masoor Dal er Khichuri
Khichuri and Mach Bhaja, the match made in Bengali food heaven, particularly Khichuri and Ilish Mach Bhaja, is the combo to savour and enjoy the monsoon! And of course, don’t forget to make Anarosher chutney for your monsoon special lunch! But, if you live outside of Bengal and don’t get a good quality of Ilish (Hilsa), make a Mamlette which is a Bengali style omelette, fry some Papad, and Eggplant or aubergine to savour this Masoor Dal er Khichuri and monsoon!
Masoor Dal er Khichuri
- ½ cup Short grain Rice
- ½ cup Masoor dal or Red Lentils
- 2 Potatoes
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- 3-4 Green Chillies - you can add more or less
- 4 tbsp Mustard Oil - or 60 ml / You can use Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Ghee - optional
- 4 cups Boiling water
To make masala:
- 100 gm Red Onion - or ½ cup of chopped onion
- 50 gm Tomato - or 1 small
- 20 gm Ginger - or 1.5 inch
- 10 gm Garlic cloves - or 2 big cloves
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ¾ tsp Red Chilli powder
- Sugar to taste - I added 2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 Dry red chilli
- 1 big Bay leaf - or 2 small bay leaves
- 3 Green Cardamoms
- 1.5 inch Cinnamon Bark
- 2 Cloves
- Take rice and lentil in a bowl, wash under cold water a couple of times and soak into the water for at least 30 minutes, to reduce cooking time soak for 1 hour then drain extra water.
- Put the ginger and garlic together into the grinding jar, add a few tablespoons of water and make a paste. You will get about 2-3 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, depending on the amount of water you add.
- Chop the onion and tomato. Slit green chillies.
- In a small bowl, take cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and ½ tsp turmeric powder. Add salt, sugar and about 3-4 tbsp of water to make a paste.
- Peel the potatoes cut them in half and then wash them.
- Smear ¼ tsp of turmeric powder and salt to taste the potatoes.
- Heat a Kadai or dutch oven, pour oil and heat it up over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the temperature to low, add potatoes and fry them over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. The potato will develop a crispy texture on the outside and maybe started cooking inside. At this point, remove them from the oil.
- Next, add the tempering to the hot oil and stir with a spatula for few seconds to get the flavour from whole spices.
- Add chopped onion, sprinkle salt to taste and sauté for few minutes or until the raw flavour has gone.
- Add ginger-garlic paste, over medium heat cook for about 30 seconds.
- Then, add the spice paste and a little bit of water if required!
- Add chopped tomato and continue cooking until oil releasing from the mixture.
- Add fried potatoes, mix with the Masala.
- Then, add cooked soaked rice and dal to the Masala.
- Over high heat cook for few minutes, then add 4 cups of boiling water and stir well.
- when the liquid starts bubbling up, bring the temperature to medium-low to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Give a stir at a regular interval to prevent burning.
- Once cooked, add sugar, ghee, green chillies and mix everything well! Check salt, if required, add now.
- Over high heat cook for a minute or until the liquid is bubbling up! Turn off the heat and give 10 -15 minutes standing time before serve.