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Lemon rice

Lemon rice with step by step photos and video.

Lemon rice is a quick and easy South Indian dish where previously cooked rice is made aromatic with some very common spices and lemon juice. This sour aromatic rice is made crunchy with peanuts and cashews.

    This rice can be prepared with freshly cooked or left over rice. As we Keralites, don't use white rice or basmati rice except on special occasions, I would like to give the full recipe from the cooking of rice. While cooking rice, make sure that the rice is not overcooked and mushy. Because the texture of the rice also imparts a major role in its taste.

    If you are preparing for your kids, then you can surely avoid chilies, ginger, garlic and onion. Even if you avoid these spices, you will a get a very tasty dish.

    Lemon rice recipe | Chitrana recipe | How to make South Indian lemon rice at home

    Lemon flavored rice

    Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes


    • 1.5 cup regular white rice / basmati rice
    • 1 small lemon 
    • 1 small onion
    • 1 small piece of ginger, chopped
    • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 3 green chilies, chopped
    • 2 dried red chilies, chopped
    • 2 springs of curry leaves
    • 2 teaspoons peanuts (optional)
    • 6 cashews, split or chopped (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • one generous pinch of asafetida
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1teaspoon ghee
    •  oil as needed
    • Salt as needed

    How to make lemon rice - video

    Lemon rice preparation with step by step photos

    1. Wash and soak basmati rice for 20 minutes in fresh water.  After 20 minutes, discard water and keep aside. You can use any white rice such as basmati rice, sona masoori or the local white rice which is available for rice preparations.
    2. Boil about 2 cups of water in a pan with enough salt.
    3. Add rice and cook covered on low flame for 5 to 10 minutes.
    4. Check in between and switch off the flame when all the water evaporates and rice cooked perfectly. If you have left over white rice, you can skip all these steps and can use that directly.
    5. Heat one teaspoon of ghee in a pan and fry cashews until crisp. Transfer onto a plate and keep aside.

    6. Then add peanuts and fry this also till crisp. Transfer this also into a plate and keep aside.
    7. Add enough oil. Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
    8. Add curry leaves and red chilies and saute for a minute. If you want you can add some bengal gram (kadala parippu) and black gram (uzhunnu parippu) also. If you are using these, just saute for a minute till light brown shade comes.
    9. Add in onion, green chilies, ginger and garlic and saute till the onions turns transparent. (If you are preparing this for your kids, then you can skip this step. Even if you skip this step, you will get a very tasty dish. )
    10. Then add the turmeric powder and asafoetida and saute well. Make sure that you have reduced the flame before adding turmeric powder and asafoetida otherwise, it might burn.
    11. Then add rice and lemon juice. Mix everything will till the rice were coated with nice yellow color. Do a taste test at this stage, add lemon juice and salt if needed. 
    12. Add in roasted nuts.
    13. Mix again gently so that the rice grains remain intact and do not break.
    14. Serve hot with papad or pickle.

    Lemon rice - Tips

    1. Do not over cook rice. Overcooking will spoil all the texture and taste  of the dish. The rice should only 80% cook. Because it will still cook due to the heat inside the pot. If you feel, the rice is overcooked, then pour some water to stop further cooking.
    Happy cooking

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