Abha Singhaal wanted to create an empire and be known to the whole country. How does she plan on doing that? Through the humble khichdi.

Abha moved out of home at 23 to live life on her own terms, with just Rs 5,000 and an MBA in hand. She started working at a marketing agency.

To save money, she would cook khichdi daily, and innovated different variations of the dish.

“Making khichdi gave me solace during my tough times. I had no ‘Plan B’ when I moved out. I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t get a job. It was a risk, but one has to take a risk to succeed,” she adds.

Simultaneously, she was discovered by an ad director and started modelling. Few years later, she felt the urge to start her own venture.

Brainstorming what business she could start, her husband and co-founder of her venture, Mahendra Kumar, suggested the khichdi business.

Pooling in all her life savings amounting to Rs 3 lakhs, Abha and Mahendra started Khichdi Express in July 2019 in Hyderabad as a cloud kitchen with just one staff member.

They serve different types of khichdi, like dal, palak (spinach) and mixed vegetable khichdi, and fancier varieties like cheese chilly, palak paneer, pav bhaji, kolhapuri, corn mushroom khichdi and more.

Their khichdi dishes are priced between Rs 209-349 and work as a whole meal, adds Abha.

As the sales picked up, they opened more branches and today have eight branches in Mumbai and Hyderabad and the company is valued at Rs 50 crores.