Make Ahead

Instant Pot Bengali Red Lentil, Potato, Pea, and Cauliflower Risotto

October 21, 2018
1 Ratings
Photo by Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Recipe from Instant Indian: Classic Foods from Every Region of Indian Made Easy in the Instant Pot. The recipe is printed with permission from Hippocrene Books, Inc.

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
Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup red/orange split lentils
  • 1/2 cup basmati or kalajira rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into large pieces, about 3/4 or a medium sized cauliflower
  • 1 medium yukon gold potato peeled and quartered, or 2 baby red potatoes halved
  • 1./2 cups frozen green peas
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  1. 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. 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.

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2 Reviews

erin.bruner.7 February 6, 2022
This is my go-to, easy, quick comfort food recipe. As another reviewer mentioned, cumin was missed on the ingredient list. I add about 1.5-2t ground cumin with the other spices and a couple dashes of cayenne pepper. I’ve used ground ginger when I didn’t have fresh. I often throw in two potatoes and never peel them. It’s a very forgiving recipe and always delicious.
Ben H. February 1, 2020
This recipe is missing a few ingredients that are in the directions but not the list including ground cumin, and whole dried red chilis