Lemon Rice
It is a tempting south Indian dish prepared by adding lemon juice while stir frying steamed rice in spices. The lemon rice preparation is very similar to that of Chinese fried rice except that spices used in this recipe are different and its lemony yellow color will make your taste buds tingle as soon as you see it. Since this recipe requires stir frying steamed rice, it’s recommended to cook steamed rice at least 2-3 hours in advance or even better, use leftover rice.
2½ cups Steamed Rice (or 3/4 cup raw rice)
2 tablespoons Oil
3 tablespoons Peanuts (ground nuts)
6-8 Cashewnuts (kaju), optional
A pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Urad Dal (split black gram)
1/2 tablespoon Chana Dal
7-8 Curry Leaves
1-2 Dry Red Chillies, broken into pieces
1-2 Green Chillies, cut lengthwise, optional
2 tablespoons finely chopped Coriander Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1½ tablespoons Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
  1. Wash and soak 3/4 cup raw rice in water for 15 minutes. Cook it with 1&1/2 cups water in a pressure cooker for 2-whistles over medium flame. Remove the cooker from the flame and let the pressure inside pressure cooker comes down naturally. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Cook the rice 2-3 hours in advance to keep the rice grain separated. You can also use the leftover rice for this recipe.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan over medium flame. Add 3 tablespoons raw peanuts and 6-8 cashew nuts.
  3. Stir fry them until they turn light golden brown. Transfer them to a plate.
  4. Add remaining 1-tablespoon oil in the same pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds; when they start to crackle, add a pinch of asafoetida, 1 teaspoon urad dal and 1/2 tablespoon chana dal. Saute until they turn light golden brown.
  5. Add 7-8 curry leaves, 1 dry red chilli and 1 green chilli.
  6. Saute for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add steamed rice.
  9. Add fried peanuts and cashew nuts, lemon juice and salt.
  10. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the flame. Transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.
Tips and Variations:
  • Adjust quantity of lemon juice according to sour taste you prefer.
  • Prepare steamed rice 1-2 hours in advance before starting to cook. This will not only make lemon rice cook faster but also make each rice grain separated. In fact, leftover rice is more suitable to make this south Indian dish as a little dried surface of rice will help it stir fry rather than steam.
  • Garnish with roasted peanuts instead of fried one and add shredded fresh coconut for variation.
Taste: Mild Sour
Serving Ideas: It is typically served with coconut chutney or onion raita as a light meal. The delicious texture of this rice makes it an ideal food to be packed in lunch boxes for kids.

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