Main image of Kitchiri - Herati Afghan Rice

Kitchiri - Herati Afghan Rice

1 hr


One-bowl / one-pot

My parents are from the province of Herat in Afghanistan, and Kitchari is one of the more common rice dishes enjoyed there. The deep brown colour of the dish comes from the fried onion and spices, giving the rice an incredible aroma and flavour.



1 hr


10 min


50 min

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  • ½ cup (108 g)
    dry split mung beans, rinsed, soaked overnight*
  • 1 cup (200 g)
    uncooked basmati rice, rinsed, soaked overnight
  • ¼ cup (60 mL)
    vegetable oil
  • 1
    medium onion, grated, or very finely minced
  • 1 tsp (3 g)
    ground cumin
  • ½ tsp
    ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp
  • ½ tsp
    ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240 mL)
    water, plus more for the rice

Garlic yogurt sauce

  • ½ cup (120 mL)
    unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 1
    clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp

Serves well with

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  1. After the mung beans have soaked overnight, you'll see much of the skin separated from the bean itself. Usually, the skin is scooped out before cooking the mung beans, but you can leave it in the dish if you'd prefer. Drain both the mung beans and the rice.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until very golden, about 10 - 12 minutes. The more golden the better. We want the onions almost brown but without burning them.
  3. Add the drained mung beans straight into the pot with the onions, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 3 - 4 minutes to lightly toast. Stir often.
  4. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring throughout, and then add a cup of water and cook for 3 minutes, or until boiling.
  5. Then add the rice and cover it with enough water so that the water is about ½ inch (2 cm) above the rice. Careful to not add too much water, as more water can always be added later. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat.
  6. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to bring the pot to a gentle simmer, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid, mix the cooked rice to fluff it, then use the end of a wooden spoon to create 5 holes in the rice.
  8. Cover the pot with a clean dish towel, place the lid over the towel (be sure to keep the cloth away from the burner), and let the pot sit for 5 - 7 minutes on low heat. Add a splash of water here if the rice is not cooked yet before covering with the lid.
  9. To serve, top the rice with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of garlic yogurt sauce. Enjoy!


  • * Find split mung beans at your local Persian grocery store. You can use whole mung beans instead as well, but they should be soaked overnight and then cooked in the boiling water for 8 - 10 minutes before the rice is added, to ensure that the rice and beans are done cooking at the same time. When the soaked mung beans are rinsed, the skins should come off.


  • Keep the kitchari separate from the garlic yogurt in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Let us know what you think

Plate method

The Plate Method is a visual tool that helps us ensure our dietary needs are on track. Touch the image below to see how this recipe measures up.

Grains & Starches 55%

uncooked basmati rice

Proteins 32%

dry split mung beans

unsweetened soy yogurt

Fruits & Veggies 13%

medium onion

clove garlic


unsweetened soy yogurt


vegetable oil

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

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Clara - Dec. 5, 2021, 2:17 p.m.

Thank you for introducing the Afghan cuisine to us - I really liked this recipe !! It was even better the second day, when we heated it up in the pan. :))

PUL Team - Dec. 5, 2021, 5:48 p.m.

So glad to hear, Clara, thank you ✨🤗

Astrid - Nov. 23, 2021, 8:29 p.m.

Thank you so much for these beautiful Afghan recipes! I will try some very soon.
So nice that you share some of your cultural origin and help us learn about the country and its culinary traditions.
This also reminded me of a young Afghan man I met in a Parisian coffee shop. He was training to become a chef, very motivated. He sared some of his experience about fleeing the country and starting a new life.

PUL Team - Nov. 24, 2021, 8:16 p.m.

Hello there, Astrid! Thank you for taking the time to share the kind words and your connection with the recipe, it means so much. We hope you enjoy it ✨

Ludivine - Sept. 27, 2021, 11:30 p.m.

My manager recommended your YouTube channel to me a few weeks ago as she knows I'm vegan and this is the first of your recipes I am trying. I started cooking a bit late in the evening and wasn't really hungry but I couldn't resist having a small bowl of it, it smells so good! Can't wait for lunch tomorrow!

PUL Team - Sept. 29, 2021, 6:29 p.m.

Aw we're so happy to have you here, Ludivine! We hope you enjoyed the lunch 😃

Charlotte - Sept. 22, 2021, 12:32 p.m.

Super delicious rice dish that we enjoyed alongside bolani and Afghan green chutney. I really enjoyed the rice combined with the mung beans as with the Shola and the garlic yogurt sauce always takes it to the next level! 🙌🏻🌿❤

PUL Team - Sept. 22, 2021, 10:14 p.m.

We're so grateful to hear this, Charlotte! A delicious combo indeed 😍

Marie - Sept. 16, 2021, 5:54 p.m.


I plan on making this along with two of your other dishes for my birthday this weekend. My question is where I live I only have Yellow Mung Dal (that only requires 1 to 4 hours of soaking and it cooks in about 20 minutes) and brown basmati. How would you suggest I modify your cooking instructions to make this dish work?

Also I have an awesome multifunction rice cooker that I can also sauté with. Could I make it in that?

PUL Team - Sept. 17, 2021, 1:30 a.m.

Hi, Marie! Happy early birthday 🥳 I'd recommend soaking your brown rice overnight, and the yellow mung dal for 2 - 4 hours rather than overnight. In this case, you can cook the rice and dal at the same time. The multifunction rice cooker sounds very cool! If you find it works well for other dishes, it should be fine for this one as well 😊 We hope you enjoy the kitchiri if you're able to give it a try!

Blake - Sept. 13, 2021, 11:31 a.m.

This is still on the stove but smelling so delicious. My partner and I were wondering what purpose the dish-towel-under-the-lid method serves?
Just out of curiosity 🤗

PUL Team - Sept. 14, 2021, 4:49 a.m.

Hi Blake, thanks for the lovely question! The towel helps to absorb the condensation. It prevents the water from hitting the lid and trickling down into the rice, which can make the rice soggy. We hope this helps and you enjoyed the kitchiri!

Habeebah - Sept. 10, 2021, 11:59 p.m.

Wow!! I didn't know there was another type of kitchiri! I come from an Indian family and our kitchiri is very yellow in comparison. I think it's probably another type of Dahl that we use? Love learning about the similarities and differences of cultures!!

PUL Team - Sept. 12, 2021, 3:39 a.m.

Awe thanks for sharing, Habeebah! It's so meaningful to hear the connections shared with the recipes 🥰

B - Sept. 4, 2021, 9:11 a.m.

I love it when you make videos on these recipes. It feels much easier to follow. This recipe is really good. Can't wait to try. <3

PUL Team - Sept. 4, 2021, 5:41 p.m.

Oh, B, this means so much! We hope you enjoy the kitchiri ✨

Treena - Aug. 31, 2021, 10:32 p.m.

Can I substitute green or red lentils for the mung beans?

PUL Team - Sept. 1, 2021, 2:52 a.m.

Thanks for the question, Treena! You definitely can - I'd recommend the green over red lentils, because red lentils can get quite "mushy" when cooked. No need to soak the lentils overnight, even just a 1 - 2 hours soak is okay, or no soaking at all. Just be sure to rinse it. And you can add it at the same time as the rice, no need to cook it ahead of time as lentils cook faster than mung beans. Do let us know how you find it with the lentils if you give it a go 🤗

Treena - Sept. 1, 2021, 3:54 p.m.

Thank you so much for your response! I am going to cook this in the next few days, when my fridge is not so full of food like it is right now. =)

Mika - Aug. 31, 2021, 9:42 p.m.

I already had mung beans and rice soaking overnight for another dish, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to change up my plans. This is so delicious! I am definitely going to be making this again. Thank you for sharing this recipe and for all of the recipes from Afghanistan. I can't wait to try them all!

PUL Team - Sept. 2, 2021, 12:54 a.m.

Aw, Mika, we're so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe. We hope you enjoy the others 🤗