Hello dear foodies! So after a few Maharashtrian recipes, it’s time to go South! Today’s recipe is Lemon Rice. It is one of the most popular rice recipes from the culinary world of South India. Be it tamarind rice, tomato rice, curd rice or sambar rice, I love them all. But I have a soft corner of Lemon Rice. The flavors are so vibrant and refreshing. When you taste the Lemon Rice, it will only prove itself worthy of being so famous. This dish gets ready in minutes. It doesn’t need you to chop a lot of vegetables either. The tempering is the star of this dish and you cannot go wrong with it because it is just so simple.
You can make lemon rice with freshly cooked plain rice. I like to cook the rice well in advance if I want to make Lemon Rice. I feel it tastes better that way. Each fragrant grain of rice stands apart and the texture is amazing. The crunch of the nuts, aroma of the condiments fried in the fragrant sesame oil, its just heavenly. You can serve Lemon Rice with fried papads. Since the rice is bursting with flavors, I do not think you need a lavish side dish with it. But the choice is yours. So feel free to team it up with what you enjoy.
You will need to be a bit swift when making the tempering. The ingredients of tempering go into the hot oil one after the other and we don’t to burn them. This recipe yields 3 to 4 servings. For the purpose of measurement, 1 cup = 250 ml. Let’s begin with the recipe for Lemon Rice.
- Cooked plain rice – 3 and 1/2 cups
- White urad dal – 3 tsp
- Chana dal – 2 tsp
- Dried red chilies – 3
- Green chilies – 4, finely chopped
- Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
- Curry leaves – 25 to 30
- Groundnuts / peanuts – 1/3 cup
- Cashew nuts – 20
- Asafoetida / Hing – 1/3 tsp
- Lemon Juice – 3 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Coriander leaves – a handful, finely chopped
- Coconut – 2 tbsp, freshly grated
- Sesame oil – 3 to 4 tbsp
How to Make Lemon Rice
- When you cook the rice, spread them out onto a plate after they are cooked. This will prevent the rice grains from sticking together. Let them cool a bit. You can cook rice made well in advance like I do.
- Crush the ginger finely using the mortar and pestle. Keep aside. Wash the curry leaves and pat them dry. Break the cashew nuts in halves or quarters.
- Heat sesame oil in a pan. Toss in the cashew nuts and fry them on low heat till they turn golden. Remove the cashew nets onto a plate.
- Now toss in the groundnuts / peanuts and fry them till golden and aromatic. Re move them onto a plate as well.
- Now we will prepare the tempering, keeping the heat between medium and low. In the remaining oil, add in the chana daal and fry it for about 10 seconds. Add in the white urad dal and fry it till both the dals become golden.
- Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Add in the asafoetida / hing and fry for 3-4 seconds till it gets aromatic.
- Add in the dried red chilies and fry it for 3-4 seconds.
- Add in the curry leaves, crushed ginger and chopped green chilies. Be careful because the curry leaves often causes the oil to splutter around. You might want to cover the pan with the lid for a few seconds. Fry for a few seconds till the green chilies turn golden and the raw smell of ginger goes away. Frying the green chilies will ensure that the rice gets its subtle flavor instead of becoming overly spicy.
- Toss the fried cashew nuts and peanuts back in and mix. Turn the flame off and season the tempering with some salt and add turmeric. Mix quickly so that the turmeric is aromatic but try not to burn it. Go easy on the salt, since the cooked rice already has salt in it.
- Add in the rice, lemon juice, coriander leaves and coconut. Mix everything well with a light hand. Cover the pan with the lid. Turn the flame back on and allow the rice to warm up on low flame for 4-5 minutes.
- Lemony and oh so flavorful Lemon Rice is ready. Serve hot with papad or yogurt or any sides of your choice. Enjoy!