Tomato Red Bean Khichri

Khichri is a simple peasant stew made with rice and lentils and usually topped with ghee. There are umpteen variations of it. It can be fed to babies first eating solid food, to normal folks with stomach upsets (great for a hangover) or to older people with delicate digestions. However, there are many ways to amp up khichri and create a whole meal out of one. This recipe highlights the fresh cherry tomatoes of summer. 

makes 6 cups


1 cup brown basmati rice

¼ cup red beans or Rajma

water for soaking

4 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2+ cups water

4 Tbsp ghee

pinch asafoetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 cups of cherry tomatoes

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup finely chopped mint leaves

extra ghee for topping


  1. Rinse the basmati rice and red beans in cold water twice then soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain most of the water.  
  2. Combine the rice bean mixture with 4 cups water, salt, turmeric & grated ginger in a stockpot and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Within a few minutes, a scum will rise to the top - this is the debris from the rice and beans that needs to be discarded. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scum. Lower the heat to its lowest setting, cover the stockpot and let the khichri cook for 45 minutes to an hour, checking and gently stirring every 10 minutes or so. During this process, be careful because the water may overflow and make a mess. 
  4. Once the beans and rice are cooked through, add the next 2 cups of water gradually until the khichri has a creamy consistency. Heat up the ghee and pop the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Allow the seeds to pop and sizzle for 3-4 seconds then add the tomatoes. Cook them on high heat for 2-3 minutes then gently stir into the khichri. The tomatoes should be soft but keep their shape. 
  5. Stir in the black pepper, chopped mint and serve. Serve with a dollop of ghee on top.

ideas / variations

  • Any variety of brown rice will work with khichri, using white rice is not recommended since it will disintegrate very quickly. 
  • Any fragrant herb can be used to infuse the khichri in place of mint: basil, cilantro rosemary or thyme also work. 
  • To amp up this khichri, add two finely sliced serrano peppers at the end. 
  • Instead of ghee, drizzle olive or coconut oil on top. 
  • Replace the red beans with white navy beans, black beans, garbanzo beans or black eyed peas.