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Bengali Khichuri (Red Lentil Risotto)

Instant Pot Bengali Khichuri (Bengali Red Lentil Risotto)

From Instant Indian, shared with permission: A khichuri (or khichdi) is a classic rice and lentil mélange, prepared differently all over India. This particular red lentil variation is from Bengal. It is distinct in its use of fried onions to imbue rich flavor and cauliflower, potatoes, green peas, and a beautiful drizzle of cumin-scented ghee round out this hearty, comforting dish. To make this dish vegan, you can use coconut oil instead of the ghee.

Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Bengali, lentils, rice
Servings 4 people


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • ½ cup basmati or kalajeera rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2-3 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks


  1. Set the Instant Pot® on Sauté mode and heat the oil for about 1 minute, then add the onion and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper powder, salt, and turmeric. Add the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups of water and stir well.
  2. Press Cancel to turn off Sauté mode, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot® on Manual Low Pressure mode for 4 minutes.
  3. When cooking time is complete, allow for Natural Pressure Release for 10 to 15 minutes, then use Quick Release for any residual pressure.
  4. Once pressure is released, open pot and stir rice mixture well. Set the Instant Pot® to Sauté mode and stir in the green peas and cook for 1 minute.
  5. To finish, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, crushed red pepper, if using, and whole dried red chilies and cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper. Pour the fragrant mixture over the khichuri and gently stir. Sprinkle on the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.