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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Indian Fried Rice, or “Khichdi”

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This Indian Fried Rice is wholesome, delicious, and packed with lentils and fresh veggies. It’s super easy to make, and is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Filled with lots of healthy nutrients, spiced to perfection, it’s the perfect family-friendly one-pot weeknight meal!

indian fried rice in a large pot

This healthy Indian Fried Rice is one of our favorite dishes in our household, and is a modified version of a traditional Indian recipe for Khichdi.

It’s comfort food at it’s best, and makes for easy clean up since all you need is one pot to make it!

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When I was a kid, we ate Indian food most evenings for dinner at my house. On an evening when there wasn’t much time to cook, or when we just wanted a light dinner, my mom would make this Indian Fried Rice (or recipe for Khichdi).

This is great as a light meal, or even as a side dish to serve with other heartier main dishes. I hope you love it as much as we do!

What Is Khichdi?

Most recipes for khichdi are just a type of Indian Fried Rice with Lentils and Vegetables. Kind of like a twist on Asian fried rice.

So what is Khichdi? Simply put, it is an Indian dish made from rice and lentils (dal). Spices and veggies are added for different variations, but at its core, it’s just stewed rice and lentils. This Indian Fried Rice is considered pure comfort food, mainly because it’s budget friendly, super filling, nutritious, easy to make, and is also one of the first solid foods that babies eat!

When I was sick, my mom would often make this recipe for Khichdi for me, since it’s considered to be detoxifying and cleansing!

And since this Indian fried rice has such a simple base, my version gets a healthy, flavorful makeover that will appeal to kids and adults alike!

How to Make Indian Fried Rice

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

ingredients for indian fried rice
  • Rice: I used a mix of basmati rice and quinoa, but you can use any type of rice you like!
  • Lentils: Moong dal is the traditional lentil used in khichdi. It melts really well into the rice for a creamy mouth feel.
  • Vegetables: I used zucchini, carrots and asparagus, but you can use any veggies you have on hand.
  • Water: For cooking the rice and lentil mixture.
  • Spices: 3 heaping tsp Khichdi masala is all you need. Note: it can also be spelled “Khichadi Masala”
  • Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Olive Oil: The base of this Indian Fried Rice!
  • Garnishes: I like topping this recipe with fresh cilantro and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

How to Make Homemade Khichdi Masala

While you can buy store-bought masala for this Indian Fried Rice, it’s actually super easy to make your own at home! Here is how to make Khichdi Masala from scratch:

Combine the following in a large container: 1 Tbsp turmeric, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp ground fennel, 1 Tbsp mustard seed, 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Stir to mix all of the spices evenly. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Wash the mixture of rice, moong dal (lentils) and quinoa until all the sediment is gone and the water runs clear.

lentils and rice combined in a pot

Step 2: Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in 1 tbsp olive oil. Chop all of your veggies. Combine all the ingredients (grains + lentils + vegetables + onion mixture) in a large pot, add the masala.

veggies sauteeing in a pan

Step 3: Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it cook for 20-30 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.

khichdi freshly made in a large pot

I love how it looks when it’s almost ready to eat! Sometimes the rice gets a little browned on the bottom of the pot, which I don’t mind at all because I like it a little crispy.

Garnish with cilantro, serve with yogurt if you like!

indian fried rice in a large pot

What Makes This Indian Fried Rice Healthy?

  • Gluten-Free: If you have an allergy to gluten you don’t have to worry about it with this recipe for khichdi! It’s full of yummy ingredients that are naturally gluten-free. 
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Besides being comfort food, this Indian fried rice is super nutritious too. In each serving, you will get potassium, Vitamins A, C, B6, E and K, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, and more. 
  • Low in Calories: You can enjoy half of the entire recipe for only 243 calories!

Will Kids Enjoy This Recipe for Khichdi?

Absolutely, kids will enjoy how comforting and flavorful this recipe for khichdi is. The spices and seasonings are super welcoming and inviting for kids. They will most likely eat a helping and ask for a little bit more. It will keep your children filled up too, which means they will need fewer snacks between meals too! 

Recipe FAQs

Can You Make Indian Fried Rice Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! You can make this a day in advance. Once the recipe has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days. It is also super freezer friendly and will last 3 months in the freezer in an airtight, freezer safe container. You can simply defrost it in the fridge the night before you are ready to serve. 

How Do You Reheat Khichdi?

For best results, reheat the khichdi in the microwave or in a large pot on the stovetop. You will most likely need to add in a little bit of water, so it is the correct texture. It will heat up quickly, so you need to keep an eye on it and stir frequently. 

Recipe Variations

This Indian Fried Rice is great all on its own, but there are a number of ways to modify this delicious dish!

With Garnishes: Try Plain Greek Yogurt for extra protein and creaminess, chopped cilantro for freshness, ghee for decadence, or chutney for a bit of extra spice! Note – if you add Greek yogurt it won’t be vegan friendly.

Change Up The Veggies (or add more veggies!): I used zucchini, carrots and asparagus, but any vegetables would taste great in this recipe for khichdi. Try spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn peas, broccoli, cauliflower – pretty much anything works!

Make it Spicier: Try adding 1 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp chili powder to your spice mixture before bringing all of the ingredients to a boil.

Change Up The Grain: Rice is the traditional base for khichdi, but you can use just quinoa, barley, or even oats!

Top Tips For Making Indian Fried Rice

  • Don’t forget to rinse the lentils and quinoa before you begin to get rid of any sediment that might be present.
  • If you are making this recipe for khichdi for a baby, then don’t use any of the hot spices or salt. I like mixing the lentils, rice and veggies together with just a pinch of turmeric, cumin and coriander for little ones. See my recipe for “baby khichdi” here!
  • For picky eaters, cut up your veggies super small. They will “melt” into the lentils and rice and your kids won’t be able to pick them out!
  • For even more flavor, try dry roasting your lentils before combining them with the rest of the ingredients.
indian fried rice in a white bowl

Check Out These Other Crave-Worthy Indian Recipes!

If you have tried this Indian Fried Rice or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

indian fried rice in a large pot
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Indian Fried Rice, or “Khichdi”

This Indian Fried Rice is wholesome, delicious, and packed with lentils and fresh veggies. It's super easy to make, and is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Filled with lots of healthy nutrients, spiced to perfection, it's the perfect family-friendly one-pot weeknight meal!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp Basmati rice
  • 3 Tbsp Moong dal lentils
  • 1 Tbsp quinoa
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 lb asparagus diced
  • cups water
  • 3 heaping tsp Khichdi masala or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • Cilantro chopped – garnish
  • Plain, Unsweetened Greek Yogurt Optional, for serving

Instructions

  • Wash the mixture of rice, moong dal (lentils) and quinoa until all the sediment is gone and the water runs clear
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in 1 tbsp olive oil. Chop all of your veggies.
  • Combine all the ingredients (grains + lentils + vegetables + onion mixture) in a large pot, add the masala.
  • Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it cook for 20-30 minutes until all the water has been absorbed
  • Garnish with cilantro, serve with yogurt if you like!

Notes

Top Tips For Making Indian Fried Rice
  • Don’t forget to wash the lentils and the quinoa before you begin. This is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. 
  • If you are making this recipe for khichdi for a baby, then don’t use any of the hot spices or salt. I like mixing the lentils, rice and veggies together with just a pinch of turmeric, cumin and coriander for little ones. See my recipe for “baby khichdi” here!
  • For picky eaters, cut up your veggies super small. They will “melt” into the lentils and rice and your kids won’t be able to pick them out!
  • For even more flavor, try dry roasting your lentils before combining them with the rest of the ingredients.
  • If you want to make your own Khichdi Masala from scratch – here are the proportions/ingredients: 1 Tbsp turmeric, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp ground fennel, 1 Tbsp mustard seed, 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Stir to mix all of the spices evenly. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.5g | Protein: 10.3g | Fat: 8.9g | Sodium: 35.8mg | Fiber: 6.9g | Sugar: 1.7g

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