‘Molagootal’ khichdi – An Iyer take on khichdi / kedgree with lentils, coconut and vegetables

One evening when I returned from work, not particularly tired and yet too lazy to cook a complete dinner, I encountered two children, who were very hungry for a full meal.  I said I would make a khichdi (the original term for ‘kedgree’), a simple stew made with rice and lentils, and it obviously, didn’t go well with them. My son suggested ‘molagootal’, a dish that you won’t find anywhere except a Palakkad Iyer’s house.  It defines us and gives us our identity in the world of food.  All of us at home like it, but that day, I just did not have the stamina to go through making rice, and a gravy.  I was in my ‘one pot dish’ mood.  I went into the kitchen thinking I could probably change to making ‘bisi bele bhath’, but I avoid spicy meals at dinner time so the option was crossed out immediately.  Khichdi was not an option anymore after seeing the sour faces.  It was going to be rice and molagootal after all.  By the time I changed and got to the kitchen, I forgot all about making molagootal.  Jr.H had cleaned the platform, cut the veggies and kept them aside, covered, so there was really nothing to remind me.  I roasted the split moong as one does for khichdi, and placed the rice and dal to pressure cook, and it was only then that I saw the vegetables and remembered what I was supposed to make.

I had about half a cup of grated coconut from the previous day.  The molagootal khichdi just happened.  To the discerning eye of a Palakkad Iyer this khichdi is nothing but rice with molagootal, but it has become a favoured recipe in the TT household.  These days I am often lazy because the rainy season has come to an end and in its wake October has brought with it the much-dreaded ‘October heat’.  I depend completely on my bank of khichdi recipes to get me through on lazy days.  This is just one more addition to the repertoire.

The dish is deliciously simple.  To me simple is always delicious.  And I make complex dishes only on inspired occasions.  Rare, really rare!

Recipe: Molagootal khichdi – An Iyer inspired twist to lentils and rice in a one pot meal
Yield: Serves 4


Rice (I used kolam, a local variety) – 3/4 cup
Split mung beans – 1/4 cup, roasted till aromatic and to light golden colour
Diced vegetables (potatoes, string beans, peas, raw bananas elephant yam and carrots etc.) – 2 cups
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp.
Water – 4 cups

Spice mix:
Coconut, freshly grated – 1/3 cup
Dried red chillies – 3, or as per taste
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.

Coconut oil, preferably – 1/2 tsp.
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Cook rice, roasted lentils together with vegetables, salt, and turmeric in enough water till soft.  I pressure cook with four cups of water upto three whistles, and let the cooker cool naturally.

Meanwhile grind the spice  paste  with a little water and set aside.

When the rice and dal are done and removed, prepare seasoning in a wide wok.  Heat oil.  When hot, splutter mustard seeds, and add curry leaves to crisp them up.  Do not brown the curry leaves.  Add the seasoning to the rice and dal mix, along with the spice paste.  The consistency of the khichdi should be like that of stew.  If not, set a sauce pan with one cup of water to boil.  Add salt to taste.

Pour the boiled water into the khichdi.  Mix lightly to evenly distribute salt and spice paste, without breaking the vegetables or squashing the rice too much.

Serve hot with pickle on the side.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • chinmayie @ love food eat

    During my college days I used to pack lunch everyday. Every morning I woke up and cooked something which I could also take as lunch. To me lunch or any meal meant only rice (even now!) so I made different khichdis everyday! I think I have made khichdi with every possible spice and vegetable combo! I never had a recipe… just throw in whatever you have.
    One of my regular khichdis apparently tasted like maggi! That’s what my friends said 🙂

    • Harini

      You started cooking pretty early, Chinmayie! I am sure you must have quite a collection, and I am not surprised about the ‘maggi’ thing. You were in college after all. 🙂

  • Jayashree

    Molagootal and rice cooked together….what a lovely idea. The pic is very tempting.

  • GiGi

    OOoh the aroma is coming right through the screen. Lovely dish!!

  • PG

    yes, this is wonderful. I ‘d love to have a bowl right away.

    • Harini

      And I would love you have one bowlful right away. 🙂

  • Nupur

    Never have had coconut in kichdi, new to me.. Will try very soon.. Bookmarked recipe 🙂

  • Anjali

    Delicious, I love all types of khichdis. This one will add on my list.

  • Susmitha - Veganosaurus

    Oh wow that looks so hearty and wholesome, Harini!! I’ve never had Molagootal before. The recipe sounds a lot like avial, right? Except red chillies instead of green and no curds.

    I have the same love as you for one pot meals. 🙂 I have even made Sambar Rice Khichdi sometimes. Haha

    • Harini

      This actually tastes pretty different because of the cumin seeds. You mean bisi bele bhath? I love that too!

  • Soma

    Oh my God…it rained all day today. My husband and I are both sick and were at home. I was craving for khichdi and potato fritters. Couldn’t make it as my body didn’t allow me to do anything except making some vadas to have with coffe (posted on my blog). I am so happy to see the khichdi on your blog, so apt for the day. I am eating it virtually. In my language, there is a saying which losely translates to ‘aroma is half the meal’…here it’s like ‘seeing is half the meal’ 🙁 I’ll make it one day, our khichdi is very similar to yours.

    • Harini

      Hi, Soma, so good to know you have a blog now. Welcome! I am surprised you managed to make vadas. I would like to see your khichdi sometime. 🙂 Take care and get well soon, both of you!

      • Soma

        Thanks Harini, feeling a little better today. I’ll surely post the khichdi recipe soon.

  • Lindsay

    Ohhhh yum. Thanks for posting the recipe. It’s just what I was looking for!!!

  • Dawn (Vegan Fazool)

    SO glad to have found you in the MoFo feed! This recipe is great, AND you use a pressure cooker which is one of my favorite kitchen tools of all time! AND I have mung beans in my pantry, so, perfect!

    Looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

    Vegan Fazool Blog
    MoFo Theme: Homesteading it in October!

    • Harini

      Welcome, Dawn! Good to know you too. 🙂

  • Shema George

    my mouth is watering as i write this…. khichdi looks perfect 🙂

  • Lata Raja

    all in one meal. Simply love it.

  • Niv Mani

    with that piece of avakkai garnishing the dish.. I want to take a swipe at the screen now

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