South Indian Lemon Rice

By DK on Jan 07, 2010
South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
However hard I try, its sometimes inevitable that I am faced with leftovers - esp. rice. But the number of options for using up rice is myriad to say the least. Indian cuisine especially is very good in this regard owing to the fact that rice is a staple. It most often happens that I end up eating the leftovers and recently when this happened - I thought of making the traditional South Indian rice - Lemon Rice.
South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
It is a classic, made not only during  festive occasions like Pongal but on a day to day basis. I am sure there are many who would remember being packed this for lunch box along with spicy roasted potatoes. Its as elegant as you want it to be and kept as simple as the need arises.  I love recipes which can be dressed up on short notice but otherwise need only minutes to put together. This recipe needless to say is one which I grew up with.

mom's recipe

Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 2 people
  • 3 cups medium grained rice, cooked (or leftovers work too)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split black lentil
  • 3-5 dried red chillies (or as per taste)
  • 1 tbsp bengal gram (channa dal), presoaked in warm water for 20-30 min.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • a generous pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of asafoetida
  • few sprigs of curry leaves
  • 2-3 tsp of sesame oil
  • salt to taste
Make sure your rice is not mushy and the grains are separate. If cooking fresh, cook with 2 cups of water instead of 3 for 1 cup rice. Spread this rice on a plate to cool. Add turmeric along with 1 tsp of sesame oil (or more if you like) and mix it along with the rice.
South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
Meanwhile in a skillet 1 tsp of sesame oil and when hot, add mustard seeds. When it starts popping, add the lentils, red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
Now add these to the rice along with the lemon juice. Toss well until mixed well. Add salt as needed.
South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
(optional step) For the aromatics, my mother sometimes, dry roasts  1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, powders it well and then adds it to the rice at the end. It gives a wonderful taste to the rice but make sure you are careful with this powder since even a wee bit excess of it can give a bitter taste to the rice. Serve warm with some papad. We enjoyed it with some Oven roasted potatoes. South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe
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48 Responses to “South Indian Lemon Rice”
  1. jaya

    :) simple & nice tq for sharing this receipt. love to try it…..

  2. Monique

    Nice recipe. I use chopped ginger, tumeric, crushed peanuts, curry leaves, green chillies, mustard seeds, juice of lemons and dash of salt. Dish loved by all at home. :-P

  3. takshu

    Yeeeyy….seems yumm! M gonna try it! 2day itself!

  4. sujan

    may be i think using half piece of onion and tomato finely chopped and some 8-10 broken cashew nuts ………

  5. mimi

    I love this recipe, I’m not south Indian still I love to make this lemon rice and share with my relatives, thank u very much for share this recipe with us :)

  6. it is such a simple dish to make when mom is not there and taste gud :-D

  7. Anjana

    Awesome recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Prasad

    How I used to hate seeing this in the lunchbox when I was a little kid :). Only matched by how much I love it now! This, uppittu and mosaranna.

  9. Shilpi

    :) Looks nice ! I will try for sure ..

  10. Archu

    Its look too nice and taste is super

  11. Dee

    Hi DK,
    I’m trying to make lemon rice using the lemon juice available in US supermarkets. Any recommendations on how much I should use in place of using actual lemon?

  12. D in Denver

    :?: Recipe is quick and easy. When I lived in India I used to be able to get Lemon Masala bullion cubes. I believe they were made by Maggi. Does anyone know where I can find these. One cube of this in some water with uncooked rice and lemon rice heaven!

  13. I will try this today. looks good

  14. Christy

    This is the best Lemon Rice recipe. I tried this, it came out so well. I am not all that a good cook, but when I try out your recipes, sticking to the measurements , I always find them to turn out so well, much better than all my previous versions of the same dish! I dont try out the variations suggested by others on your recipes, I think your recipes are best left alone :-P :-P

    Thank you so much Christy for an ego boosting feedback here as well for the Rasam powder. Guess, we have similar likes :) –DK

  15. I like the recipe. It seems to be easy. I will give feed back after I prepare and taste it. By the way, Do you know Off hand, if anybody prepares and sells south indian snacks like chakure and kodebale? i would like to know.

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