A combination of rice, lentils, vegetables, and spices! This is the ultimate Gujarati comfort food. While most American’s barbecued on holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and hot summer days, we made large pots of Gujrati Kichdi. Hence, the name “Picnic Kichdi”.
Normally eaten with a cold spiced yogurt drink (chaas) and a few optional sides. In any case, this dish hits home! So it makes perfect sense for me to share it on a day known to barbecue, right?
This recipe brings back memories!!! Memories of my late Dad. The man who cooked at every single Indian event possible in Arkansas. LITERALLY. He picked up groceries, prepped the ingredients, and compiled dishes with the help of his friends. But, it was a time consuming hobby he had. A bit too extreme according to my Mom. Today, in the commercial kitchen he enjoyed cooking in hangs his apron with every single one of his kitchen accompanied friend’s signature next to a smiling picture of him stirring a pot. The pride he took to cook for others makes my heart happy. Yes, I have heavy shoes to fill but I think the road he paved leads me to share the things I do on this blog.
Although Basmati Rice is the formal Rice of India, for this recipe I highly recommend Jasmine Rice. It is a thicker rice that works really well with a porridge type of a meal. When slow cooking this mixture the thicker rice gives the overall dish a better consistency. For that reason and my experience thus far, I am going to suggest Jasmine Rice.
Brutally honest- I’m going to be straight up here, not all vegetables are okay in this variation of kichdi. Sorry not sorry. This is a traditional recipe and traditionally some vegetables are not native to India. For that reason, stick to this list if you’re wanting an authentic flavor. My advice, if you don’t have one of the ingredients or do not like it then simply skip it.
If I told you the stories of the different lentils my Dad accidentally bought during picnic kichdi days, then we would be reading for days. Yes, you can use different version of lentils but the one we are accustomed to using with this traditional recipe is moong daal. It is easier to digest and gives the kichdi a great consistency.
Picnic Kichdi Recipe
An Instant Pot recipe that has a combination of rice, lentils, spices, and vegetables slowly cooked to make one comforting Gujarati meal.
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups eggplant, half peeled and then finely chopped
- 3/4 cup potato, finely chopped (peeling is optional)
- 1 cup turiya, finely chopped (peeled)
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pigeon peas (I buy them frozen)
- 1 tbsp whole raw cashews
- 2 tbsp whole raw peanuts
- 3/4 cup jasmine rice, washed
- 1/4 cup moong dal, washed
- 1 tbsp fresh grated garlic
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro (blend it into a fine paste)
- 1 blended jalapeno pepper
- corn or peanut oil (heavy)
- 1 medium tomato, diced small
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
- 1 tsp hing (asafaetido)
- 4 whole chili peppers
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- corn or peanut oil (heavy)
Turn the Instant Pot on saute mode and add the 5 cups of water.
Wait for the water to boil.
Add the first next seven ingredients (eggplant, potato, onion, tooriya, pigeon peas, cashews and peanuts).
Let the water come to a boil again.
Now add the turmeric, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, salt and blended cilantro to the pot.
Add the rice, moong daal, and salt. Mix well.
Let it continue to boil/cook while you make the tempered oil.
Heat a small pot on the stove and add some oil to it.
Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop.
Now add the chili peppers, cloves, and cinnamon stick.
Lift the pot off of the stove and add the hing.
WITH CAUTION, immediately add the oil to the Instant Pot.
Mix the kichdi and now put the lid on the Instant Pot.
Set the Instant Pot to 12 minutes, high pressure, and closed vent (no air should leak).
Let the Instant Pot cool down completely.
Open the Instant Pot, garnish with cilantro and chopped tomatoes.
Add additional oil (trust me).
Mix and serve hot!
Gujarati Chaas Recipe
A cold and tasty Gujarati yogurt drink.
- 1/2 cup sour cream/yogurt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
- 4 strands cilantro (leaves and stems)
- 1 fresh jalapeno, blended
- cumin powder (optional)
- 2 cups water
Blend the jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic together.
Whisk the yogurt, buttermilk, water, salt, and cumin in a container of choice.
Mix in the blended contents and combine well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve Ice Cold
- For a thicker consistency, add more yogurt/sour cream.