Khichda is a savory one-pot meal made with meats, grains, lentils, and spices. Here we make this nourishing porridge with chicken and rice. It is very delicious and satisfying while providing a good amount of fiber, protein, and healthy fats!
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Indian Chicken Rice Porridge
Chicken Khichda is a hearty and flavorful Indian dish that's perfect for cold winters or rainy days. This porridge is made with aromatic herbs, fragrant spices, a blend of grains and lentils, and lean chicken protein.
Khichda is a popular delicacy during Ramadan and has its roots in Mughlai cuisine. While similar to Haleem, Khichda has its own unique characteristics that set it apart.
Haleem is usually made with shredded meat, but the meat in Khichda is left chunky, and traditional recipes include rice and wheat. In this recipe, I use brown rice instead of wheat, which works perfectly well.
Khichda also has some resemblance to Khichdi, which is cooked with rice and lentils as a thick porridge or dry grainy version. It's the ultimate comfort food that's sure to warm you up and keep you satisfied, like our Ash Reshteh.
Traditionally, Khichda is made with red meat such as lamb, goat, or beef. However, this recipe uses chicken for a leaner protein option and fragrant fenugreek leaves for a different dimension.
While chicken rice porridge is often associated with Far Asian cuisine, chicken khichda is a healthy and delicious introduction to Indian cuisine. It's a great alternative to traditional chicken and rice dishes such as chicken kabsa and is sure to become a favorite.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
- It is a one pot recipe.
- A complete nutritious meal.
- A classic Indian dish.
- You can make large quantities and freeze some for later.
- Suitable for meal prep and menu planning.
Here are some notes about the ingredients and substitutes.
- Meat: Here I have used boneless chicken with the addition of stock as the cooking liquid. But you can use chicken with bones, as it adds extra flavor to the dish. Traditional recipes also use lamb, goat, beef or veal.
- Grains: Traditional recipes use soft wheat, available as "haleem wheat" at Indian grocery stores. And also add some rice. But here I have replaced wheat with brown rice, which also gives a hearty texture to the dish. Additionally, pearl barley is gives a nice consistency.
- Lentils: A combination of lentils adds richness and depth to the dish. I use dried whole moong dal (mung beans), chana dal (split baby chickpeas) and masoor dal (red lentils).
- Ginger and Garlic: Fresh ginger and garlic always adds that incredible taste to Indian recipes.
- Tomatoes: This is not typical in traditional khichda recipes. But it gives a nice twist. It's like a thick soup in taste.
- Fenugreek: It adds a unique flavor to this khichda. And combines very well with the other herbs. Fresh, frozen and dried fenugreek leaves are available at Indian and Middle Eastern stores.
- Chicken Stock: This will add a rich flavor. You can use broth too.
- Spices: A blend of aromatic spices adds an incredible depth of flavor to the dish. Garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, chili powder and turmeric are all used in this recipe.
- Herbs: Fresh cilantro and mint add a bright flavor. I add dried mint to the seasoning oil, which works pretty well.
- Oil and Ghee: I use olive oil to cook the onions, and a drizzle of ghee adds a luxurious richness to the dish.
- Lemon juice: Add this as per taste preference.
How To Make Khichda
**Brief overview below. Full recipe is at the end of the post.
- Cook brown rice, barley, mung beans, split chickpeas, and red lentils in a pot with water until soft.
- Sauté onions in a separate pot until golden brown and transfer half to a plate.
- Sear chicken in the same pot, then add ginger garlic paste and spices. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until soft.
- Mix in the cooked grain and lentil mixture, herbs, stock and salt. Simmer until thick and porridge-like. Season with lemon juice to taste.
- Seasoning mixture: Heat ghee, toast cashews and saute grated garlic. Stir in dried mint, turmeric, and chili powder.
- Serve the khichda and top with the seasoning mixture, fried onions, ghee and cilantro.
Slow cooking is key: To achieve the perfect consistency and flavor, slow cooking is essential for khichda. Allow it to simmer on low heat for at least 25-30 minutes to soften the meat, grains, and lentils. Let the flavors blend together.
Use a mix of lentils and grains: Using a combination of lentils and grains adds depth of flavor and texture to the dish. Be creative and experiment with different types to find your preferred combination.
Fry the onions well: Fry the onions until they turn golden brown and crispy for a richer flavor and texture in the khichda. Take your time and brown the onions well before adding the chicken.
Use high-quality stock: A good quality stock or bone broth adds richness and depth of flavor to the dish. Look for a high-quality store-bought option or make your own at home.
Adjust seasoning and consistency: Taste the khichda as it cooks and adjust the seasoning and consistency as necessary. Add more broth if it is too thick or more spices if it needs a boost in flavor.
Add toppings for texture and flavor: Garnish with fried onions, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of ghee for extra flavor and texture.
How to Serve
- This flavorful Chicken Khichda recipe is traditionally served hot and garnished with ghee, fresh chopped herbs, and crispy fried onions.
- For an extra crunch and heat, you can add some toasted cashews, sliced chilies, and julienned ginger as optional toppings. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for a citrusy finish.
- Enjoy it as a complete meal anytime during the week or as a side dish at parties and buffets. It pairs well with warm whole wheat naan.
- Add some kachumber or Indian onion salad.
Make Ahead and Storage
- This Indian chicken rice porridge recipe is perfect for make-ahead meal prep. You can cook and process the rice, barley, mung beans, split chickpeas, and red lentils ahead of time. You can cook and store the chicken in the refrigerator.
- Store khichda in fridge for 5 to 6 days, or freeze in small portions for a couple of months. Simply thaw and reheat, adding more broth or water as needed to adjust the consistency.
- When serving, top with ghee, fried onions, toasted cashews, sliced chilies, and julienned ginger as desired, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
This dish is egg-free, soy-free and high in protein, making it perfect for those with dietary restrictions.
- Dairy-free: Use only oil instead of ghee.
- Gluten-free: Substitute barley with rice.
- Nut-Free: Simply omit the cashews.
Slow cooking the chicken khichda is a great option to achieve the perfect consistency, as it allows the chicken, grains, and lentils to soften over a long period of time. Simply add all the ingredients to a slow cooker, set it to cook on low heat for several hours, and let it work its magic. The end result will be a delicious and comforting meal full of flavor and nutrition.
Yes, you can use Instant Pot or pressure cooker to make khichda, but the texture may differ slightly from the slow-cooked version. It can be especially useful for red meat khichda. However, it can still be used for this chicken khichda.
This savory Indian chicken and rice porridge is a satisfying and wholesome meal made with whole grains and lentils, and ample lean protein from chicken. It provides a good amount of fiber which is beneficial for gut health and weight management. Find tips for adjusting the recipe to suit your dietary needs under the "variations" section above.
Fenugreek is an aromatic annual herbaceous plant that is popular in the Middle Eastern cuisine as well, like in this appetizing Persian Shrimp Quinoa Herb Rice.
The seeds and leaves of this plant have long been valued for a wide range of medicinal benefits – such as, for ease of childbirth, to increase milk supply in lactating women, to aid digestion, to improve metabolism, for treating diabetes and decreasing blood cholesterol.
The leaves are a good source of some vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and zinc. They are rich in choline, dietary fiber and antioxidants.
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Khichda (Chicken Rice Porridge)
- ¾ cup brown basmati rice
- ¼ cup pearl barley
- ½ cup whole dried mung beans
- ½ cup chana dal split chickpeas
- ½ cup red lentils masoor dal
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder or chopped green chilies, adjust per taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- ⅓ cup fresh chopped fenugreek leaves or 2 tablespoon dried fenugreek
- ⅓ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- 3 cups chicken stock more if needed
- Salt as per taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice as per taste
- Fried Onions Fresh Mint, Fresh Cilantro, Cashew Halves, Lemon Wedges, Ghee
- In a large cooking pot, add brown rice, barley, mung beans, split chickpeas, and red lentils. Add about 5 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until soft, approximately 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large cooking pot, add onions and sauté over medium-high heat until golden brown, around 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer half the onions to a plate.
- To the same dish, add chicken and sear the pieces, stirring often, making sure to evaporate the juices, about 5 minutes. Add ginger garlic paste and stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
- Add garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft.
- Add the cooked chicken to the cooked grain and lentil mixture. Add fenugreek, cilantro, mint, stock and salt. Bring it all to a boil. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer until it reaches a thick porridge-like consistency, about 25 minutes. Add more stock as needed.
- Stir lemon juice into the khichda as per taste. Adjust the consistency, salt, lemon juice, and other spices to taste.
- Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add cashews and cook until the nuts start to toast, about 2 minutes. Add grated garlic and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and stir in dried mint, turmeric, and chili powder, making sure not to let the spices burn.
- Ladle the khichda into a serving bowl. Top it with the seasoning mixture, remaining fried onions, ghee and some fresh cilantro.
- Serve with additional lemon slices on the side.
- Meats: You can also use lamb, beef, goat or veal. Be sure to adjust the cooking time.
- Onions: Use a mandolin slicer for thinly sliced onions.
- Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for 5 to 6 days. Freeze khichda in small portions for couple months.
- Frozen or fresh fenugreek leaves, brown basmati rice, mung beans, dals, spices, and dried herbs are available at Indian and Middle Eastern stores.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For more information on ingredients, variations, recipe FAQs and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
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This post was first published on October 14, 2016 and has been updated with improvements in pictures, tips, FAQs and additional enhancements.