Make Your Own – Indian Food

OMG! It’s fucking freezing and we got over a foot of snow in the last week. It sucks in the Midwest in February. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s terrible.

That means I want to hibernate. I did not leave my house for four whole days last week. I worked from home, made a big ol’ pot of homemade soup and held up my middle finger to the cold weather.

Did I mention I married the bestest man in the world? He shoveled snow the entire weekend without a complaint. He’s amazing.

Anyway, when it’s too cold to leave the house you tend to make do with the food you have in the house. Or you pay someone to bring you food and you TIP VERY WELL, but since this is a personal finance blog I thought you guys might not appreciate my frivolous spending.


I’ve mentioned meal planning before. And posted some low cost meals. But I thought I’d talk about my newest, cheapest, most favoritest thing to make at home.

This recipe is super affordable, super comforting, and the perfect “I’m stuck in the house, I have nothing better to do than cook” meals.

Bonus, these are made with staples you’ll probably already have in the house so you don’t even need to brave the winter weather.

What is it? Kitchari.

If you don’t like Indian food you can just hit the X button in the corner because I am not your friend anymore. Indian food is amazing. Delicious, flavorful, easily vegetarian. It’s just… all the things!

Kitchari is a type of dish that usually contains two different staples like rice and dal or rice and lentils. It is liberally spiced with all the best Indian spices and is flexible enough that you can chop up whatever vegetables you have lying around and throw those in too. It’s amazeballs.

And it costs pennies. If you buy your rice and lentils in bulk – you’re looking at less than a dollar for the two main ingredients. Even if you spend a whole $1 on your tomato and a few bucks for a container of garam masala you’re looking at like $0.75 per serving and you’ll have spices to spare. This recipe makes about 6 servings.

The basic recipe is this:


  • 1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
  • 1 cup red lentils (uncooked)*
  • 1 tbs olive oil or ghee (optional)
  • 2-3 tsp garam masala (this is where you can spice it to taste)
  • 1 chopped tomato (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
  • Water or broth


Rinse your lentils (checking for stones) and your rice. Place olive oil in a heavy dutch oven and heat on medium. Add in your spices (if they’re not already toasted) and your rice and lentils. Don’t let the spices burn but just toast them up in the dutch oven until the rice and lentils are all coated with the good stuff. Here’s where you can adjust what you like. Garam Masala is super easy so that’s what I use, but you can basically toss any Indian spices you enjoy in there – coriander, cumin, tumeric, curry, ginger, clove etc….

When you’ve toasted up your spices add in 4 cups of water and your tomatoes. (Your basic rule of thumb is double the amount of liquid. So 2 cups of rice and lentils means 4 cups of liquid). Give everything a stir and bring it up to a simmer over low heat. Cover your dutch oven and let everything meld together into a delicious porridge. You can check it occasionally for a stir to make sure it’s not sticking to the pot, but it should take about 20 minutes for the rice and lentils to cook through.

The consistency of this should be porridge like and it just gets better and better as it sits. If you want to add in some greens, you can wilt in some fresh or frozen spinach at the end. YUM

Note: I like red lentils, but yellow split peas are also really good in this.

You guys. There is no going wrong with this recipe. It’s super easy, super flexible and soooooo delicious. It’s just absolute warm comfort food at it’s finest.

Do you love Indian food? THEN MAKE THIS. You cannot go wrong.

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3 Responses

  1. ZJ Thorne says:

    This sounds so delicious and easy! I may try it if we get the snow we’re anticipating this week.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to make this and I have everything on hand (except Basmati rice).

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