Baby Dal Khichdi (Lentils for Baby)
Baby Dal Recipe that’s 100% vegetarian, gluten-free and can be made vegan if you choose to. Make creamy, delicious, healthy and nutrient-rich lentil baby food at home for different stages – 0 to 4. The satisfaction & joy of feeding your baby homemade food is immense because it is clean & fresh with no additives. In this post I share how to cook dal or lentils for your baby along with plenty of time-tested tips to easily transition from smooth lentil puree to textured lentils and then to grown-up lentil food like this Dal Fry.
So after reading this post you will know how to introduce lentils to your baby, without being bloated or having any tummy issues.
About Baby Dahl
Lentils known as Dal or dahl is a staple in the Indian homes. Our regular meals include some or the other kind of lentils for almost every meal. But unfortunately your baby cannot eat the lentils you make for the grow-ups for the simple reason, baby dal should be devoid of salt, spices and oil.
So traditionally Indians follow a specific lentil diet for babies and is so much different from the grown-up version. Since babies are born with colic, it is very important to introduce lentils to baby with caution. Else both the mom and the baby end up with sleepless nights as lentils can cause stomach gas and colic.
Traditionally a lot of Indians follow the Ayurvedic diet for the baby food. So all the suggestions in this post are time-tested not only by me for my babies but also by zillion Indian families.
Which Dal to use for Baby
Moong Dal is the most commonly used lentil for babies in North India and Toor dal is most commonly used in South India. A lot of South Indians following the ayurvedic diet also use moong dal. Because Moong dal is considered to be Tri-doshic meaning it can balance any kind of imbalances in the body and improve the health. Moong dal is also considered easy for digestion.
If you are new to identifying the lentils, I have a picture here. Moong dal are known as yellow split and skinned petite lentils or yellow mung dal.
Here is a picture of the toor dal known as split pigeon peas or tuvar dal. Red lentils, chana dal and black dal are not used for babies as a first food because they can easily cause stomach gas.
How to Introduce Dahl to Baby? (Stage 0 to 4)
Please consult your pediatrician before you introduce your baby to solids. The best time to introduce is different across the globe and depends on the region and culture.
Stage 0 Lentil Baby Food: A lot of homes, cook lentils and strain the stock (lentil cooked water). This is cooled and fed to the baby before noon, without adding anything. This works in 2 ways – one is to check if the baby does well with lentils and the second is to get the baby used to the flavor of lentils.
For this a 3 day wait rule is followed to make sure the baby does not have any reaction, colic or indigestion. This is a stage 0 (Zero) lentil baby food and a 6 months old baby will be able to consume only a few teaspoons of this.
Stage 1 Baby Dal (8 Months): Later at this stage, we cook the lentils and rice together for a breakfast or mid-day meal. You can add easily digestible veggies like pumpkin or carrots to make a stage 1 lentil baby food.
At this stage avoid using vegetables that can potentially cause gas like potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potatoes. You will also keep the quantity of dal less and rice more. You will mash the food completely or puree in a blender at this stage to get a puree like texture. Add a few drops of Cultured Ghee and not the other.
Note that you should have already introduced ghee, rice and the vegetables individually that you want to add here. Ideally at this stage we use a ratio of 1:4 (dal:rice).
Stage 2 (9 to 10 months) : At stage 2 you will increase the quantity of dal and more veggies. You can also introduce toor dal at this stage if you want. More kind of veggies like , bottle gourd and ridge gourd are also used.
This extra veggies give more texture to the baby lentil food. Also you may include spices like black pepper (during colder days), turmeric (a pinch) and carom seeds powder (ajwain for digestion) at this stage. All these are optional.
Stage 3 (11 to 12 months) : You will only increase the quantity of meal including ghee. Leafy greens life spinach, fenugreek can also be used. A lot of Indian also introduce Rasam and Sambar at this stage (low spiced/heat versions). I would make a no chilli version of these for my babies.
Stage 4 (after 12 months): Is a more textured meal where you will only soft cook the food and leave it to chunks so your baby begins to enjoy the texture of lentils, rice and veggies. At this stage we use 1: 1 ratio of dal and rice
Ways to cook Lentil Baby Food
The easiest way to make dal for your baby is in a pressure cooker – stovetop or electric cooker as this gives you the option to go with hand-free cooking.
In the step by step pictures I have shown how to make it in a cooker. Here is how to cook in a pot without a cooker.
- Soak half cup lentils for at least 1 hour up to overnight, as this helps in cooking them faster. You are free to skip this but your baby will be able to digest the soaked and cooked lentils easily.
- Rinse the lentils well after soaking and pour 2 cups of fresh water. Bring it to a rolling boil and simmer. Cook uncovered until tender. You will see a lot of froth, remove that with a slotted spoon and discard.
- When the lentils turn tender, Strain the stock and cool it. This gives you stage 0 dahl for your baby.
- To make the baby food for other stages, you simply add the other ingredients as mentioned in the recipe card and cook.
Never introduce your baby to lentils in the later part of the day. According to Ayurveda, it is believed that digestion is best during the first half of the day (before noon) and it is sluggish in the later part. So we always feed lentils for breakfast or lunch. This clears up the lentils in the tummy by night, before you get your baby to bed.
Avoid introducing any other new food to your baby while you introduce the lentils. The reason being you won’t know which food has caused the trouble (in case).
Also note that it is essential to test every single food for 3 days before you cook a meal with all of them. Go slow!
More baby food recipes,
Sweet Potato Baby Food
Carrot baby food
Indian baby food
How to Cook Dal for Baby (Stepwise photos)
1. Wash rice and dal together at least twice in lot of water. Optionally soak them for at least 30 to 60 minutes with 1 cup water in a small pressure cooker or pot. I use a 3lts pressure cooker.
2. Just before you cook, chop or grate veggies freshly and add to the soaked rice and dal.
3. On a medium heat pressure cook for 2 whistles. If you do not have a cooker, bring the water to a rolling boil and turn down the heat to low. Simmer until the lentils and rice are tender. If you find any froth, discard that with a slotted spoon.
4. When the pressure reduces , open the lid and check. The rice, lentils and veggies must be soft and mushy. While the rice is still hot, mash it to smooth with a spoon or a masher.
5. Add ghee, a pinch of crushed pepper and turmeric if you want. Babies need healthy fat, we use ghee. You can add salt after 1 year.
6. Mix everything well. If the consistency is too thick, pour some boiling hot water. Avoid adding cold water. Serve lentil rice warm. Warm foods digest better.
How to Make Stage 4 Lentil Baby Food
Babies over an year tend to become picky or choosy and love textured foods rather than smooth purees. So you can slowly move to veggies like onion, green peas, cauliflower, carrots, capsicum, methi, palak, beets etc. You can also make this moong dal recipe and serve with plain mashed rice.
1. Soak rice and dal for at least 30 minutes. Heat ghee and saute cumin. Add grated ginger and saute. It will begin to smell good.
2. Add veggies and saute again for 2 minutes.
3. Add rice and dal. Repeat sautéing for 2 mins.
4. Add salt and water as needed.
5. Close the pressure cooker and allow to whistle once or twice depending on the brand.
If desired you can mash it further before serving.
Baby Dal Khichdi (Lentils for Baby)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup moong dal or toor dal
- 1¼ cup water
- 1½ to 2 tablespoon moong dal or tuvar dal (Refer the introduction)
- 2 to 2½ tablespoon uncooked rice
- 1¼ to 1½ cup water (more to adjust)
- 3 tablespoon carrots , peas, pumpkin, spinach, fenugreek etc
- ⅛ teaspoon ghee melted
- 1 pinch turmeric (optional)
- 1 pinch black pepper (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon ajwain powder (optional)
Stage 0 – Lentil baby food
- Rinse and soak lentils for an hour , up to over night. Drain and rinse well. Pour fresh water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender & mushy. Discard any froth that comes to the top while cooking.
- Strain the lentils and cool completely. Feed a few teaspoons of this stage 0 lentil baby food. You can freeze this stock or refrigerate for 2 days.
Stage 1 to 3
- Wash and soak rice and dal together for at least 30 to 60 minutes with 1 cup water. Later drain and pour fresh water.
- Add chopped or grated vegetable to the soaked rice & dal.
- Pressure cook on medium flame for 2 whistles. To cook in a pot check my step by step photo guide in the post.
- When the pressure drops, open and mash the rice to smooth while still hot.
- Add ghee, spice powders and turmeric if you want. (for stages 2 to 3)
- Mix well, to bring it to right consistency, if needed add very little hot boiling water and mix. Do not mix cold water it will change the taste of the dal.
- You can also make stage 1 to 4 baby food if you have precooked rice, lentils and vegetables ready separately from other meal. Simply use the quantities mentioned in the ingredient notes and combine them – puree or mash or mix well. But use hot foods and not cold.
- All the recipes are tried and tested for my babies.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Dal Baby Food Recipe first published in August 2014. Updated in August 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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I look forward to trying this with my baby! If I triple the recipe, do I triple the water amount as well? So 3 cups of water instead of 1 cup?
Yes you can triple. Just to let you know, lentils are best served fresh especially for a baby. Frozen or refrigerated lentils can lead to bloating and colic in babies. Hope this helps
I like all your recipes …. You are the first option I choose despite having various recipes from various chef’s.
can u guide me some iron rich food ideas for two year old please?
Fresh or dried figs, raisins, pomegranate orange (or lemon) juice, dates, dark leafy greens, beans and lentils are some iron rich foods. However if you have found the levels to be too low in a blood test then it is good to follow the doctor and use the iron medication. With food the recovery is not as quick as with medications. Regular consumption of figs also helps to boost the appetite, improves digestion and over all health. My personal experience has been very good with dried figs. You can also soak them in water to soften and feed 2 per day. Hope this helps.
thnks alot,and one more thing is it ok to give lassi with dal khichdi at luch time everyday?as calcium based food with iron is not a good combo
Yes, you are right! For kids I strictly follow no lassi with a meal. Most times we consume milk products alone with at least 1.5 to 2 hours gap, before and after meal. Similarly no fruits with a meal or with dairy. No dates with dairy. Occasionally these are okay but regular consumption will weaken the digestion. Hope this helps.
thnx for sharing valuable info..what should i give with or after meal that taste sugary because my kid always want sugary drink with meal or after meal.also kid need smthing sweet after salty meal
Give him a small piece of jaggery or any sweet made with jaggery. You can find many jaggery ladoos here. You can also add little lemon juice and jaggery to a small cup of water and give.
can u guide me some iron rich food ideas for 2 year old please?
My son is in 16 months now , he used to eat better sometimes but now a days he is not eating any thing can u please suggest a diet chart for 16 month old.
Please check this baby chart. You can follow the same chart until he finishes 3 years. Check if he is teething. Usually babies stop eating well when they are teething. Give more fruits to boost the appetite.
Hello mam…..its wonderful job..meri beti 9months ke hai mein usse khichri, dalia, banana, curd sb deti hu….aur kya de skti hu…..aloo parantha chota sa bna ke du th 4to 5 bites….mein aur kya add kr skti hu
Please check the baby food chart post to know which foods you can feed. You can find the link in the post as well in the related posts
My baby is 12 months. Often gets cold n cough. U had mentioned about the monsoon spice mix. Can u pls share the recepie
Its just a mix of cumin, ajwain and ginger powder. All in equal quantities. Dry roast ajwain and cumin separately on a low heat just for some time. switch off the stove .Add ginger powder directly to the hot pan and stir. Take off immediately and cool all these and blend in a mixer. Keeps good for 3 months.. Add this powder to khichdi, porridge etc and not to milk.
Mam my son is not interested in dal khichdi and all.he likes sweet things like halwa kheer cerelac. What should I do????
You didn’t mention how old he is.
You must try no other choice
Hi , swastika ples give me diet chart for my 9 months baby boy,
Please follow this link for the food chart
I like Al recipes
These recipes are very easy to cook.thank u..mam
I tried the veg kichidi
You are welcome. I am glad you liked them. Thanks for the feedback
My 14month old baby is so thin n he don’t eat food. Properly as I gone through ur chat there r many goodthings but still am confused plz help me out Wat I should feed him.
Just follow the chart and the recipes. You can find all the recipe links there
I hd gone tru many of ur recipes n food chart. It’s awesome n helps a lot.Thank you so much.
Thanks for replying too.☺
So glad to know the recipes and food chart are helpful.
I have been following your blog for quite some time to check baby food. I love the way you explain each thing and the authenticity of the recipe.
Anyways I have 9 months daughter and want to try this recipe. I am not sure which banana have you used. Is it raw nendran banana?
Nice knowing you. Thanks for the feedback.
I have used a raw banana, the cooking variety that is used to make curry in south india. You can check this post to see the picture of the banana. You can try with raw nendran banana as well.
I had posted some query yesterday night. Did you receive?
From 6 to 7 th nov, This is the only one comment from sneha – no mail id mentioned. Means i haven’t received any comment from you. But there is already a comment on this post from a sneha dated 4 th nov. I do not know if it is you since you haven’t mentioned ur email id. Some times, the system considers some comments to be spam if there is no mail id mentioned and puts them under spam which don’t come to my notice and the comment gets deleted after few days. Hence i highly suggest readers to fill up the email id without that the comment may come under spam. I identify my readers personally knowing their email id as a reference especially for the baby food, without that i do not know who is who. I am sorry if your comment is not visible here. You can redo it if you like to know some thing.
OK, my bad. Let me type my query again. My 9 months baby just gained 100 grams in 1.5 months. I know weight slows down after they start moving, but 100 grams is too less. I want to know how can I help her put on more. Also it would be great help if you let me know the quantity she takes is enough.. Morning she takes ragi kanji made from 2 scops, this scoop is one I got from lactogen formula. For lunch I add 3 teaspoon rice, 1.5 teaspoon moong dall ,, few pieces of veggie( this is before cooking quantity).dinner almost same as lunch but she won’t finish. In between breastfeeds, n one fruit snack in evening. U think this quantity is enough?
I do not know how much a lactogen scoop measures as i don’t live in India. But by this age, you should be feeding porridge made from at least 1.5 tbsps ragi flour. For details, you can check this post on ragi porridge.
Try to include a variety of protein foods in the babies diet like idli, boiled potato, sweet potato, egg etc. Please check this detailed post on weight gaining foods. I am sure it will help you.
Also Please follow this food chart for babies above 8 months. That is my guide to boost your baby’s weight. Regarding the quantity i have mentioned in detail how much babies can eat. While you feed, you need to burp in between, avoid water, feed slightly soupy consistency foods. This helps your baby to eat full. Regarding the quantity, there is no exact scale or measurement to suggest for a baby, as all babies are different. This is my guide line
If you are feeding 3 tsp rice and 1.5 tsp dal during the beginning of 9th month, Then after 2 weeks you will have to try feeding 3 tsps rice and 2 tsps dal. Then repeat this after every 2 weeks, increase the quantity of protein (dal) until it becomes equal to the quanity of rice. Then next step would be to increase rice and then after 2 weeks increase dal as well. Proportionally you must increase veggies and ghee as well.
This is the same with all foods including ragi,idli or potato, egg etc. If the baby can eat 1 idli during the past 2 weeks, you must try for the next 1/4 idli.
Do you think the quantity of breast milk is enough? At 9 months, formula fed babies drink up to 6 to 7 oz. Do you think your baby is getting enough milk? Also you need to eat very well to keep up the quality of breast milk. Try changing your diet as well.Hope these help you.
Can’t thank enough for your detailed explanation. Now I feel issue lies in the quantity she takes. She is been taking same amount of ragi Ganji since she was 6 month n lunch of same quantity since 7.5 months. She won’t have more if I increase, this only she will leave few spoons.
Doc has told me to start textured food, but she is not taking. So I am juggling between textured food and weight gain. She gags a lot when I try little thick food and won’t eat further. I am worried how will I make her eat solid food.
I have tried idly with rasam and rava Upma , she made face as if it was so yuck. So had to continue with ragi. Don’t know how else to introduce new food to her.
And yeah I feel I hardly have any milk, she sucks for few minutes and leaves. I thought at this time naturally I can’t increase milk moreover her peac has told feed her milk just 3-4 times in a day, so I was not much concentrating on milk. Now I’m confused.
Sorry for the delay. Have you tried idli made with rice instead of rava? Try to avoid foods like suji halwa, porridge, upma etc, they really don’t help much to gain weight and the texture is not liked by many babies. Don’t worry much about textured foods, she is just 9 months. Keep trying and it has to be slow. Soft cook and Mash the foods well and give, she will pick up slowly. Don’t focus much on the texture, but do not puree and feed as well. Try this only for lunch daily until she turns 1 year. In the night you can give her pureed foods. Many times doctor’s suggestions don’t work practically. Since babies under go so many changes each day, they may have colic some days, sometimes teething problems or sometimes cranky due to climate. It is not possible to feed only textured food always. So do what ever is possible for you and keep her full. I think you must start a formula. Until 1 year, milk still plays a crucial role for development and weight gain. Many ppl also give buffalo milk for weight gain, if that is available you can try that. But you will have to dilute with water until she gets used to it.
Even night feeds help the baby to gain weight. Usually babies wake up 3 to 4 times in the night for feeds. I think you have to start a formula after consulting your doctor. Hope this helps
Thank you swasthi for responding to my queries. Well i happened to check my girls weight yesterday, and she had lost some 50grams. I was heart broken. I feel I am doing something wrong. Well when you say don’t give porridge, what kind you are referring? I have been giving dd ragi kanji since few n nths. Also some say oats makes lose weight as it does with adults due to high fiber. U have any experience with oats? Can I give to dd?
Regarding pureeing, I m just keeping 1/4th of her meal mashed, n rest puree.
Can you give me some protein rich food options? Except egg which I will start after she turns 1 n no meat. In a day she takes roughly 4 tea spoons of moong daal(raw quantity). Is it enough protein?
Sorry for bugging you with so many queries. I m need of help.
I mean rava porridge, you mentioned rava upma, so I mean porridge, halwa or upma using rava. Oats helps to loose weight in obese people not in kids. It will help to reduce weight if eaten almost at every meal. For weight loss oat meal is eaten with out adding fats like milk or ghee. But the baby recipes i have shared is with fats from ghee and full fat milk. I have fed both my kids oats regularly and haven’t felt any weight loss. If you do not include oats at a early age, then it is hard to include later as they turn more fussy when they grow up. Many ppl think oats, brown rice, millets reduce weight, but they are healthy and must be surely included since the current generation is more prone to metabolic problems. Try to include 2 to 3 times in a week with dal or milk and ghee. I suggest you follow this food chart and this post for weight gain tips. You can follow this khichdi post for quantity of dal. I feel the quantity of dal you are feeding her must be fine. hope this helps.
Thanks Swasthi. I have decided instead of going through all sites in Google n trying, I will just follow your blog. I am sure I will see some positive result.
You reply to each comment on every post with such detailed explaination. This needs lot of patience which you have. I Bow down to your genuine concern and the knowledge. May god bless you n your family with loads of happiness and health.
Welcome Sneha, let us hope for the best. Kids are not the same always, they begin to eat well as they grow. As time passes by, even you can analyse what is suitable to your baby and how much. Thanks a ton for the wishes and all the appreciations. Wish you all too the same. I have learnt to be patient and understanding dealing with 2 of my fussy kids. Do not hesitate you can ask me anything and would love to know the improvements. Have a wonderful week ahead
Your blog is very informative. And easy to follow.
One question though. I have read every where to avoid salt for babies till one year. Is it okay to use
salt as mentioned in this khichdi recipe? I have a 7 month old baby.
This khichdi recipe is for babies above 8 months old, meaning must complete 8 months. Otherwise, skip salt, ajwain, turmeric, pepper powder. Follow method 1 with 1:4 proportion for dal:rice. If the baby has cold and using moong dal, i suggest using a tiny pinch of pepper only. Regarding the usage of salt, it is not good to get the baby used to salty or sweet foods before 1 year. But salt too has minerals in it, so we use only a tiny pinch once or twice a day after 8 months. When you taste the food, it must not be salty – meaning the quanity of salt used must be very less. It is actually recommended not to use before 1 year as it may be a load to the kidneys. Use your judgement whether to use or not. But i have used it for both my kids in moderation after 8 months. Hope this helps
Thanks for ur reply.
can i give jaggery to my 7 month old boy daily and how much in quantity? As without something sweet in his food he becomes fussy and i want to avoid sugar. Plzzz suggest what should I do.
I suggest you wait until your baby completes 8 months to use jaggery more frequently. Till then at the most once or twice a week is okay. 1 to 1.5 tsp powdered jaggery can be given. Melt it in water first and then filter it and use. Even jaggery is processed with loads of chemicals. Try to use organic jagery if available. If he doesn’t like to eat food without sweet taste in it, in future it may be a problem for you to cook everything sweet. It is better you keep him away from this now itself. Occasionally give him sweetened foods, try adding banana to rice, apple to rice like i made this apple rice, you can also try this sweet potato rice. Hope these help.
I liked your recipe’s, looks so simple… Will surely try one today..
I have 2 year old son who is fussy in eating… He was born premature so he is underweight.. He likes spicy food than sweet one. Please help me with some more nutritional recipe’s which helps him gain weight and have gud mental and physic growth.
You can follow this food chart for timings and recipes. It can be followed up to 3 years. Not only the food, even the timings are important for weight gain. Hope this helps
I liked your recepie’s, looks so simple… Will surely try one today..
I have 2 year old son who is fussy in eating… He was born premature so he is underweight.. He likes spicy food tgan sweet one. Please help me with some more nutritional recepie which helps him gain weight and have gud mental and physic growth.
Hi swasthi! I tried the veg khichdi and my baby thoroughly enjoyed it. These days i find it difficult to feed him dal rice and vegetable as he is refusing to eat. But this one helped me. Thanks a ton. I always use to think khichdi was a difficult recipe but now i realise that it is the easiest. cant thank u enough!! Also can u please suggest what more vegetables can be added or altered.
Welcom madhavi. Iam glad your baby liked it. I feel kids must eat dal regularly at least till they reach 5. This recipe has worked well for me so far. I try with veggies like bottle gourd, pumpkin, tomato, shallots, bell peppers, chayote, beets. But all lend a different flavor, some may not like the flavors. If using tomatoes, they need to be sauteed well after frying ginger. Most times i too eat the same for lunch when i make for my boy. I feel it is so easy and not much to clean up. I also make this with millets / korralu, sometimes with half millet and half rice or half brown rice with white rice. Hope this helps you to come up with some ideas
Yes indeed it helps. Thanks again. Brown rice is taking longer time to get cooked when i mix it with rice may be i should soak for a longer time. I wanted to try beets in khichdi but read some where on the net that the water in which we boil beets should not be used as the nitrates are left in water. So was confused. Do u have any idea?
Madhavi brown rice needs a good soak, i usually soak after breakfast and begin to cook by 11 am. Also cook it on a low flame for some time and then on a medium flame. It turns out soft. Actually nitrates are present in most foods and foods high in nitrates are not recommended for babies under 6 months for older babies its just fine to use a moderate quantity. When we use beets in khichdi, we tend to use a small piece but in the west, beets are cooked, pureed and fed. The quantity fed when pureed is more than what we add for the khichdi. So it is highly recommended that the water used for cooking beets and spinach be discarded. But apart from the beets stock, nitrates are present even in cooked beets. High intake of nitrate foods are very dangerous hence best to avoid for babies under 6 months. but research has shown that nitrates have health benefits too if consumed in moderation (not for babies under 6 months). This is what i have trusted and have used beets for both my babies after 10 months.
Thanks a lot for the info. Guess it’s better to make beetroot curry and palak as dal and feed.
Hey Swathi, the receipe for baby toddlers are very useful. Pleased to have this site.