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Simple Rice and Chana Dal Khichari with Dill and Tomatoes

Geeli Chana Dal Khichari

This Gujarati dish takes up to an hour to cook but requires only a few minutes of preparation and very little attention. It is nutritious and exceptionally easy to digest.


  • 3/4 cup dry chana dal
  • 3/4 cup basmati or other long-grain rice [for a lower glycemic index, substitute barley for some or all of the rice]
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried dill weed or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil [I use olive oil and find 2 tablespoons to be sufficient]
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2-1 whole dried red chili [I use fresh red or jalapeño pepper]
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder or hing in Hindi and Bengali [this amount applies only to yellow Cobra brand; reduce any other asafetida by three-fourths]
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Soak the chana dal in 3 cups of hot water for 5 hours, then drain.
  • Place the dal, rice, water, turmeric, dill and garam masala in a 3-4 quart nonstick heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and slowly cook for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the dal is butter-soft and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat.
  • Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, stir in the cumin seeds and red chili. Fry until the cumin seeds are brown. Sprinkle in the asafetida powder and immediately add the tomato pieces. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften and glisten with ghee or oil. Pour the fried seasoning into the cooked dal, stir in the salt and serve.


Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987), 799 pages. Thanks to Don White for bringing this wonderful cookbook to my attention.

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Last modified: January 11, 2001

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