Kitchari with Yellow Split Peas

Kitchari with Yellow Split Peas

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Today I am sharing another dish that was really popular in our home. I remember eating this often in our home and as kids it was something we loved. This Kitchari with yellow split peas is a dish made with rice and yellow split pea dal and it is a comforting soup like dish.

It is an Ayurveda dish that helps detox the body and balance our doshas (according to Ayurveda it’s the three energies that define our makeup). Apparently when yogis need to cleanse their bodies and soul they eat this dish because it provides them will all the nutrients.

My family loves this simple, yet delicious dish. Even my fussy kids could eat this without a complaint. I asked my hubby what he would like to eat today and he requested this dish. But he says “please call my mum and ask her how to cook it”. Well he nearly didn’t have dinner tonight.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against my mum-in-law giving me her recipe. We share recipes all the time. Did he forget that I can cook this and I have cooked it hundreds of times, well not hundreds but close enough.  Men!!!

Basmati rice cooked with yellow split peas and tempered spices

Anyway after I cooked it and he ate it, he said “that was delicious, even better than my mums”. I think he knows what’s good for him…Lol! Yes I can cook a delicious Kitchari.

This Kitchari is loaded with butter, trust me it needs a whole lot of butter. I used my pressure cooker to cook my dal and rice.  I then tempered my spices and added it to the dal/rice mixture. Tempering is a process where the spices are cooked in oil, in this case butter to release its flavors.

You can cook yours totally on the stove top but here in Johannesburg we would probably wait until tomorrow if I tried cooking it that way. Kitchari with Yellow Split Peas is not a difficult dish to cook, you just need a bit of extra time. Kitchari is typically served with a tomato chutney here in South Africa. I will post my chutney recipe shortly.

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4 from 1 vote

Kitchari with Yellow Split Peas

Rice and Yellow Split peas cooked together and braised with tempered spices and loads of butter. Simple, delicious and comforting dish
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword ayurvedic dish, riceanddal
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Calories 1412kcal


  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 4 cups water you may need a little more
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric
  • 1&1/2 tspn salt
  • 3/4 cup Basmati Rice


  • 70 grams butter
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tspn mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 4 dry chillies broken in half


  • Rinse dal, place it in the pressure cooker with 2 cups water, salt and turmeric and cook for one hour. If you are cooking it on the stovetop cook it on low-medium heat until dal is soft
  • Once dal is cooked wash the Basmati rice and add it to the dal. Add another 2 cups of water and cook until the rice is cooked.
  • Heat the butter on the stovetop on medium heat with a drop of oil, to prevent burning. Add the mustard seeds and cumin and fry until it bursts.
  • Reduce heat to a low setting. Add the onion, curry leaf and dry chillies and fry until the onion is golden brown
  • Mix it into the rice/dal mixture. Serve hot
    Basmati rice cooked with yellow split peas and tempered spices


  1. You may need more or less water, as I mentioned previously altitude does affect the amount of water needed to cook certain dishes
  2. Butter ghee can be used instead of butter, you may have to reduce the amount
  3. Kitchari is best served hot when it's freshly cooked. If you are serving it later you can add a little bit of warm water before heating it up as it is meant to be a moist dish
  4. The quantity can be doubled if you are cooking for a family. This was meant just for my hubby and I but it was enough to serve us for 2 meals




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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Indi Hewetson

    Dear Lorraine, I recently came upon your post. Thank you , your recipes look delicious. In this recipe can one use normal speko rice? Secondly the yellow split peas, what is the brand or name on the package. I have seen there are spilt peas but all are not called by the same name…..quite confusing for one who does not the differences between them. Thank you kindly

    1. Lorraine

      The most common brand of split peas in the supermarkets here in SA is Crossbow Yellow Split Peas. However, most stores stock their own brands too. The split peas is yellow in color, the one for this dish but you do get green ones too which is not what we use for this dish. Yes, you can use normal long grain rice like Spekko, which I’ve used in my most recent dish because I ran out of Basmati and can’t get the ones I use right now. Hope you have success with this dish. Stay Safe:-)

  2. Jo

    Hi Lorraine.
    To double the recipe do you exactly double everything including onion and water quantities?
    How long do you cook your rice for in the pressure cooker?

    1. Lorraine

      Hi Jolene! If you double the recipe then I do suggest you double the water quantity. I prefer a little bit of extra onion but you can stick to one if it’s too much. The spices I wouldn’t exactly double it, maybe use another half a quantity. My rice cooked for about 15 minutes but my pressure cooker is really old and doesn’t work they way it should. I suggest you try 10 minutes at adjust accordingly. I apologise for not mentioning the time. Will edit my recipe shortly.

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