Khichdi For Babies: Recipes, Health Benefits & Nutritional Value

Khichdi recipes for babies like dalia khichdi, palak khichdi and moong dal khichdi are easy to prepare. They are balanced meals that help your baby's growth and development. Here's how to make them.

By Kirti Yadav

Khichdi For Babies: Recipes, Health Benefits & Nutritional Value

Khichdi, for babies of any age, is the simplest, easiest and ideal comfort food. Is your baby 6 months old and are you wondering how to introduce solids to his diet? Or, does your baby need extra energy and proteins to grow and run around? Then, look no further. We have put together 11 healthy and delicious khichdi recipes for babies and infants.

Khichdi for babies

Accept it or not, khichdi is a stress-free one-pot meal which a mother can cook in a jiffy for her baby. If you are a mother of an infant, khichdi will be the go-to meal for your baby for the next one year.

Festivals like Pongal and Makar Sankranti mark the importance of khichdi in Indian culture. But, have you ever wondered why khichdi is called a comfort food? The answer probably lies in the ease with which it can be prepared, and digested as well. Khichdi is a wholesome one-pot meal that is relished by everyone — children, adults, the ill and the healthy, men and women, the rich and the poor.

Although khichdi is a simple, comfort food, it offers numerous health benefits, especially for infants and their mothers.

Benefits of khichdi

Khichdi is gluten-free, easy to cook, easy to swallow and digest. A few benefits of khichdi which make it the first ideal meal for the babies are:

  • Carbohydrates from rice, proteins from lentils, and vitamins and fibre from vegetables make the khichdi a perfect recipe for the growing baby who needs energy and proteins during the first year of her life.
  • Nowadays, many babies suffer from celiac disease or show non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy. So, introducing wheat dishes as the first solid food can be an issue. But, as khichdi is gluten-free, it would not create any problems.
  • As a baby grows, variations in the khichdi recipe can provide wholesome nutrition which isn't the case with other one-pot meals.
  • Khichdi is usually accompanied by a dollop of ghee which is a natural laxative. This helps smoothen bowel movements. Homemade ghee can be given to a baby after he completes one year.

Tips to make khichdi for babies

  • Dry roast the main ingredient and store it in an airtight container. This saves a lot of preparation time and increases the shelf-life of the ingredient.
  • Strain the khichdi to keep out lumps.
  • If your child is a little older, you can use a masher to mash the khichdi before serving it to him.

Khichdi for infants can be a combination of only overcooked rice, lentils and salt, without any spices. As the little ones are still learning to chew, a soft diet of overcooked, mushy khichdi can be one of the first solid foods they can be introduced to. If your baby doesn't like khichdi at the first instance, reintroduce it a day or two later. It takes time to acquire any new taste. Add only a pinch of salt, as babies should not be given too much salt or sugar during the first year.

Khichdi for toddlers can include oats, dalia (broken wheat), millets, vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, bottle gourd and ash gourd, and green leafy vegetables like spinach and fenugreek leaves along with a few spices.

However, no matter how good khichdi is, eating the same dish every day can be boring. So, here are a few different khichdi recipes to make mealtimes interesting for your baby.

Khichdi for a 6-month-old baby

A. Yellow moong beans khichdi

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon rice (white rice)
  • ½ tablespoon yellow split moong beans
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup of water

Method of preparation:

  • Thoroughly wash and soak the rice and moong dal together. Soaking softens the grains and reduces the cooking time.
  • Pressure cook the soaked rice and dal in ¾ cup of water, after adding a pinch of salt and turmeric. Cook for 2–3 whistles on low flame.
  • Mash or purée the khichdi before feeding to avoid lumps. This khichdi can be given during lunch or dinner. However, do remember to not force your baby to eat if she refuses.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: The rice gives the necessary carbohydrates while the easy-to-digest moong dal provides protein.

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, protein, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium.

Khichdi recipe for a 7-month-old baby

Babies grow very fast in the first year of their life. By the time your baby is 7 months old, she would be able to sit, hold and try to lift a few things like a spoon to eat. She would also begin teething. Around this time, you can introduce vegetables in khichdi like ridge gourd, bottle gourd, carrots, red pumpkin, ash gourd, and a few other greens. Adding veggies provides minerals and vitamins which are essential for teething babies.

B. Pumpkin khichdi

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp white rice
  • 1 tsp moong dal
  • ⅛ cup raw pumpkin
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • 1 pinch of cumin seed powder
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method of preparation:

  • Thoroughly wash and soak the rice and dal for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and chop it into pieces.
  • Pressure cook the rice, dal and pumpkin with the turmeric, cumin seeds powder and salt until 2–3 whistles.
  • You can strain the khichdi with the help of a sieve or strainer and purée it, or mash it with a spoon before serving it to your baby. Mothers can add a dollop of ghee and enjoy pumpkin khichdi with salad and raita.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, protein, fat, sodium, calcium, iron, and potassium.

Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene which our body turns into vitamin A. It is also a rich source of Vitamin C which helps to strengthen the immune system. So, khichdi is a must for both the baby and the mother.

Khichdi recipe for an 8-month-old baby

Come the eighth month and babies are ready to crawl and move around. Mothers feel happy to see their babies take the first steps. But, most mothers also begin to worry about how to meet their babies' nutrition requirements, as they need a lot of strength at this stage.

Ragi, also known as finger millet, is loaded with calcium, iron and potassium. It is also free of gluten and rich in dietary fibre. So, introducing ragi porridge, sweet or salty, is a good idea.

Ragi is considered a weaning food in various parts of India. It is also given to children and expectant mothers who suffer from iron deficiency.

There are quite a few ways of making ragi khichdi, but sprouted ragi khichdi with green moong dal is one of the most nutritious methods. Nowadays, sprouted ragi flour is readily available in the market. You can also use this, but if you want to make a premix powder, this is how you should do it.

C. Sprouted ragi khichdi for babies

To make the premix powder –

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup ragi grains
  • ½ cup green moong dal
  • ½ cup rice

Method of preparation:

  • Wash the ragi and soak it for 8 hours.
  • Drain the water and tie the grains in a muslin cloth. Keep overnight for the ragi to sprout.
  • Keep the ragi under the sun or fan to let it dry completely.
  • Dry roast the moong dal on a low flame, and add the white rice and ragi grains.
  • Once roasted, allow them to cool. Grind the mixture and store it in an airtight container. This flour can last for 2–3 months.

To make ragi khichdi 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of ragi premix powder
  • 1½ cups of cold or room temperature water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method of preparation:

  • Mix the ragi powder and salt with water. Take care to smoothen out the lumps.
  • Transfer this mixture to a pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes on a low flame.
  • Strain the khichdi to filter out any lumps before giving it to your baby.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, fat, protein, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. 

Important: Some babies find it difficult to digest ragi, so only a small quantity should be introduced initially. If the baby's bowel movement is not affected, the quantity can be increased gradually.

Khichdi for 9 months and older babies

Once babies are 9 months old, the food prepared for the family can be served to them in small quantities. Also, different types of khichdi like oats khichdi, dalia khichdi, tomato khichdi and palak khichdi can be introduced in their diet. The different combinations provide various nutrients together with varied tastes.

D. Oats khichdi for babies

Oats are high in carbohydrates and contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which absorbs water and helps in bowel movement. It is also a good source of calcium and phosphorous, which are essential for strong bones and good teeth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oats powder
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup of water

Method of preparation:

  • Dry roast oats on a low flame.
  • Once it cools, grind it to powder and keep it in an airtight container.
  • Heat water and mix 1 tbsp of oats — stir continuously to avoid the formation of lumps.
  • Add grated carrot and cook for 10 minutes or until a gruel-like consistency.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, fat, protein, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. 

Khichdi recipe for a 1-year-old baby

Once the baby crosses the age of one, almost all homemade foods without spices, especially red chilies, can be given. When preparing dal or subzi, keep aside a small portion before tempering or adding chilies. Doing so would provide the baby with the option to eat a variety of food.

Dalia khichdi, tomato khichdi and palak khichdi can be introduced at this age. Also, mealtimes can be turned into family bonding times. You can also make your baby sit on the floor or a baby chair and allow her to eat on her own with a spoon. Although she will make the floor dirty, eating on her own will improve her motor skills.

E. Sooji khichdi for babies

Sooji, suji or rava is fine broken wheat. It is used to prepare the famous South-Indian dish called khara bath or upma. As upma is solid, babies will find it difficult to eat. So, add extra water to bring it to the consistency of gruel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sooji
  • 2 tablespoon grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoon beans (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt

For tempering:
  • 4–5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • ½ tbsp oil or ghee

Method of preparation:

  • In a wok, add ghee or oil and throw in mustard seeds and finely chopped curry leaves.
  • After the mustard seeds splutter, add the grated carrots and beans. Sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add sooji and water, while continuing to stir.
  • Add salt and turmeric.
  • Keep stirring to avoid the formation of lumps.
  • Mash with a spoon before serving to your child.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, fat, protein, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. 

Semolina is a rich source of protein and fibre. So, your baby will feel full for a longer time. It is also rich in Vitamin B and iron. It is easy to digest and improves gut health.

F. Dalia khichdi for babies

Dalia or broken wheat is a good source of fibre. Adding veggies like potatoes, carrots, and lauki (ghiya/bottle gourd) enhances the taste and nutritive value of dalia khichdi. You can also make this a family meal.

Ingredients for khichdi:

  • 1 tablespoon daliya (washed and soaked)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow moong dal (washed and soaked)
  • 1 small potato (peeled and chopped) – approx. 50g
  • 1 small carrot – approx. 70g
  • ½ cup lauki – approx. 50g

For tempering:

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Method of preparation:

  • In a pressure cooker, heat ghee and throw in the mustard and cumin seeds, and cloves. Allow them to splutter.
  • Now, add potato, lauki and carrot. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Add soaked moong dal (you can also use sprouted moong dal) and dalia.
  • Stir, add water, salt, turmeric powder and black pepper powder. Cook until 2–3 whistles.
  • Remove the cloves before serving.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Dalia is easy to digest and must be included in your baby's meals as it improves gut health. Mothers can eat it too as it aids in weight loss.

G. Palak khichdi for babies

Adding palak (spinach) to khichdi is a great idea. Also, including ingredients like onion and garlic not only enhances the flavour of the khichdi but also makes it a meal for the entire family.

Spinach contains a high amount of insoluble fibre. This aids in digestion and prevents constipation. Spinach is rich in folic acid, and vitamins A and K1. Spinach also improves eye health and boosts the immune system.

However, it is suggested that spinach should be given to babies only after they complete one year.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp rice
  • ½ tbsp toor dal
  • ½ tbsp moong dal
  • 2 tbsp onion (chopped)
  • 1 pod of garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup of spinach leaves
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee

Method of preparation:

  • Wash and soak rice, toor dal and moong dal (you can use sprouted moong as well).
  • In the pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Now, add garlic and onions and wait until they turn translucent.
  • Add the washed spinach leaves and cook until they wilt.
  • Then, add the rice, dal, salt, turmeric powder and water.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook until 3–4 whistles.
  • Mash with masher if required before serving.

Nutrients in the above recipe: Carbohydrates, fibre, fat, protein, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. 

Khichdi not only helps in the growth of your baby, but is also a wholesome meal for you. Low in calories and high in nutritive value, khichdi is a fuss-free meal that helps with weight loss which most new mothers struggle with. So, eat khichdi together with your baby and make mealtime a bonding time.

About the expert:

Reviewed by Dr Neha Sanwalka Rungta on 15 October 2019

Dr Neha Sanwalka Rungta is a paediatric nutritionist and director of NutriCanvas.

About the author:

Written by Kirti Yadav, MBA, on 24 September 2019; updated on 17 October 2019

Kirti Yadav is the founder of KuKClean, a holistic lifestyle changing program which focuses on Nutrition to achieve health and happiness. Kirti lost 23 kg after childbirth by eating right, and now runs a Consulting Service to promote health, weight loss, especially for new mothers and women.

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