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+ servings

South Indian zesty Lemon Rice

The traditional lemon rice recipe is the best in the lunchbox, railway meals or on a picnic day. Learn this traditional kalanda saadam recipe and variations using quinoa, cauliflower rice or macaroni today and create your own new styles.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Autumn, gluten free, Indian, One pot, South indian, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4 people.


to cook rice

  • 1 cup Raw rice (You can use any short to medium grain non glutinious 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

For garnish

  • 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 the rice warm.
    lemon rice


Leftover rice works well too. Warm the leftover rice and start from the tempering to proceed to this recipe.
Keyword lemon, Lunch recipes, rice salad recipes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!