Bengali Rice Porridge With Lentils and Chicken Recipe

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Gently crushing the rice yields a mixture of finer pieces, which melt into the porridge, and larger grains that add texture.
  • Adding the potato and chicken after the porridge is partially cooked keeps them tender and distinct.

There are countless variations on rice porridge, with almost as many names. It can be as simple as water and rice, or it can be simmered with milk, flavored with chiles and spices, or topped with different accoutrements. This version, made with aromatic jasmine rice and hearty red lentils, is bright from plenty of turmeric and ginger, with a pungent hit of mustard oil and a garnish of spicy green-chile chutney.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice (5 1/3 ounces; 150g)

  • 1 inch fresh turmeric (1/2 ounce; 15g), or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric

  • 1 inch fresh ginger (1/2 ounce; 15g)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee (1 ounce; 30g)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chile powder or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/4 cup red lentils (1.8 ounces; 50g), sorted and rinsed

  • 6 cups chicken stock (1 1/2 quarts; 1.4L), homemade or store-bought

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 medium russet potato (10 ounces; 280g), peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 chicken thighs (8 ounces; 224g)

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (1 ounce; 30g), finely chopped

  • 2 Thai green chiles, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed lime juice from 2 limes

  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil (1 ounce; 30ml)

  • Crispy fried shallots, for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, rinse rice with cold water until water runs clear. Cover rice with fresh cold water and set aside to soak.

  2. Meanwhile, peel turmeric (if using fresh) and ginger with a spoon. Thinly slice crosswise into 1/8-inch coins and slice each coin into 1/8-inch matchsticks.

  3. Drain rice and return to bowl. Gently crush with a muddler, rolling pin, or pestle, breaking rice into uneven pieces ranging from cornmeal-sized grains to larger pieces that are cracked or shattered in half.

  4. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foamy. Add turmeric, ginger, and red chile and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rice, lentils, and chicken stock. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Simmer porridge, uncovered, until rice and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. Add potato and chicken thighs to porridge. Cook gently until potatoes are tender, chicken is cooked through, and porridge is thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro chutney. In a small bowl, mix cilantro and green chiles with lime juice and mustard oil, then season with salt. Stir to combine.

  7. Remove chicken from porridge and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, dice chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and return to porridge. Adjust seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add water if porridge becomes too thick.

  8. Remove from heat and pour porridge into bowls. Garnish with cilantro chutney and crispy fried shallots to taste.

Special equipment

Mortar and pestle or rolling pin, 4-quart saucepan

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
489 Calories
23g Fat
45g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 489
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 99mg 33%
Sodium 1222mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 1085mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)