Lemon rice is a classic South Indian style preparation. It is a tangy stir fry rice flavoured by the elaborate tempering the good old turmeric and big squeezes of the lime. It is one of the common ones spotted on festival days as a Kalanda Sadam. Lemon rice is more so reputed in railway travels were “saadam kattu” works as Hygenic affordable meals on the go. Call it elumachai saadam, chithranna or naranga pothichooru, they all come down to this soul-satisfying rice mix.
The memories of the lemon rice in the lunch box at school mean mom has a busy day and it was fun to have this in the box. This rice mix was absolutely thrilling as she served it with Kathrikai podi varuvall, papad and a bit more of her Citron lemon pickle. This memory has made me work the humble lemon rice into the weekly menu. It leaves me with a feeling that I have achieved a great one on a perfectly horrendous day.
This recipe is the first on that my mind raced to as soon as Aruna mentioned Ginger and turmeric as secret ingredients. We have partnered up to work together for for the Shhh cooking secretly cooking Challenge. The group features recipes from a region as explored by the blogger. We work in pairs creating recipes based on a couple of secret ingredients picked by our blogger buddy for the month. This season we are working on recipes from Tamil Nadu. Aruna blogs at Vasus veg kitchen where she creates some mouth watering Indian treats. It is always been so exciting to be on the group and come up with something new. This time it was comforting as Tamilnadu is home cuisine.
The ease of making the recipe with leftover rice and the flavours as you open lunchbox just makes all that morning craziness settle. However, you can swap the rice with steamed cauliflower rice, gluten free buckwheat, millets or quinoa for a healthier swap.
For kids- try this lemon macaroni version.
Similarly, I absolutely adore this combo version too as we split in opposite directions as a family when it comes to lemon rice as we have a few not so fond of it.
Go on, fill up your lunch box and get set go this week.
On a separate note, Lemon rice is one of the no onion no garlic, favourite ” variety rice” for ramanavami, Navratri, Aadi 18, or on the Deepavali menu. So save this recipe when you are celebrating it is an absolute blessing to have some go-to recipes.
Pin it here for later use.
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South Indian zesty Lemon Rice
to cook rice
- 1 cup Raw rice (You can use any short to medium grain non sticky rice)
- 2.5 cups drinking water
- 1 pinch salt
for the tempering
- 2 tbsp cooking oil ( my personal preference is coconut oil)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- 1-2 small Green chillies slit lengthwise
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root grated
- 2-3 tbsp peanuts
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder ( or 1 tsp grated fresh turmeric)
- 1 pinch Asafoetida
- 4-6 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp corinader leaves chopped
To cook the rice
- Wash and soak the rice for 10 minutes
- Cook the rice in instapot or pressure cooker to a fluffy yet grains sperate consistency. You can cook the same in a saucepan as well, then you will need a bit more water.
- Set the rice aside to cool for a while.
- Fluff with a fork when cook.
To prepare the tempering
- Heat a wok and add the oil.
- As the oil warms up add the mustard seeds and urad Dal
- when the mustard spleuuers, add the green chillies, curry leaves, ginger, asafoetida, and peanuts and saute well. If using fresh turmeric add it at this stage
- Saute well till the peanuts are crispy.
- Add the turmeric powder and remove from heat
to complete the recipe
- Add the cooked, cooled, fluffed rice and mix well
- Add the lemon juice, salt if needed and the chopped coriander and mix till the grains of rice are well coated with the tempering and the lemon.
- Serve with a side of crispy papadams, or any side stirfry of rice.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!