Lemon Rice


Do you want to spend minimum time in your kitchen this summer? Are you wondering what to do with cooked, left over plain rice? Then just go ahead and give a makeover to your plain good old steamed rice in minutes!

All the below mentioned ingredients to prepare this gorgeous looking and tasty Lemon Rice is always available in your kitchen. This lovely South Indian preparation is just right to carry in your tiffin box or as a picnic lunch along with some pickles and a dry vegetable if you so wish. It tastes nice just the way it is but you can boost it up with a few nuts if you like.

Just going back in time and remembering the good times I shared with my South Indian friends in college and my good friend at work… Thank you Yashoda and Sujata Chandekar for the very delicious Lemon Rice/Curd Rice, Tomato Rice, Tamarind Rice and all the lip smacking South Indian snacks, tiffin and goodies you shared with light banter and laughter. Those sweet, happy memories will be cherished forever!

Recently, we relished some delicious rice preparations on our visit to Vailankanni. Last year we enjoyed our vacation in Kerala. The Kerala rice & other preparations were just amazing.  Above all, our good old Pune restaurants have always lived up to our expectations. My hubby and I never miss an opportunity to relish the South Indian rice preparations whenever we dine out.

Lemon rice is so wholesome, nutritious and refreshing. If you are longing for some tangy food which also tastes yummy and prepared in a jiffy, then you can easily put your plain cooked rice/jeera rice to good use and make it interesting by just converting it into Lemon Rice.

Simple, easy and great to serve in minutes… here is a recipe which most may be familiar with but may have over looked when looking out for ideas. Besides, this preparation may be a great help to beginners, bachelors and working people. Relax and enjoy… 😀

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups Basmati Rice or as per choice
  • ½ tsp. Mustard Seeds (Rai)
  • 2 tsps. Urad Dal
  • 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 2 dry Whole Red Chillies
  • ¼ tsp. Asafoetida (Hing)
  • ½ tsp. Turmeric pwd.
  • 1 tsp. fresh Ginger (peeled & grated)
  • 2 fresh Green Chillies (finely chopped)
  • 1 large fresh Lime/Lemon (Juice) or as per preference
  • A pinch of Sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsps. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt to taste

Garnishing :
2 tbsps. freshly chopped Coriander Leaves

Procedure :
Cook the rice as you would for biryani/ fried rice; the grains should be separate.

Allow it to cool thoroughly at room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to cool further.

Remember, left over plain rice or jeera rice which is in your fridge is just excellent for this preparation.

In a sufficiently large wok/kadhai, heat oil till hot.

Reduce heat and add the dal and allow it to turn lightly golden. Be alert and take care not to burn.

Reduce to very low heat and then add the nuts if using & fry till the nuts are very lightly brown.

Now add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies, turmeric, asafoetida, green chillies, ginger, sugar & sauté for a few seconds.

Add the lemon juice, salt and mix in the cool rice and stir gently or it is better to toss as you would a fried rice.

Turn off the heat. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve garnished with chopped coriander. Enjoy hot or cold with pickles, papad.

Tips :

  1. It is best to use leftover rice to prepare Lemon Rice as the starch settles down and the grains retain better shape while it cools in the fridge.
  2. In case you do not like the crunch of the dals in your rice like us, then dry roast the dals, soak it for a while and then fry them.
  3. The amount of lemon juice is purely a personal choice.
  4. It is better to toss the rice instead of stirring to retain the whole grain as far as possible.
  5. Some like their lemon rice soft while others like it firm with grains separated. Again it is a personal choice. Cook the rice to ¾ as you would for biryani / pulao / fried rice / jeera rice if you wish to retain the whole grain.
  6. Adding a pinch or two of sugar; enhances the taste, flavor and adds gloss to the finished dish. It is optional. Diabetics refrain from using it!
  7. I like only urad dal in my preparation. Mix and match dals and nuts as per your preference.  If you are allergic to nuts then please avoid it!!
  8. You may add a dash of homemade ghee/clarified butter if you are eating it hot & would like some additional flavor.  This again is a matter of choice and preference.

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