lemon rice

Lemon Rice Recipe with step by step photos. Lemon rice is a crunchy, flavorful and sour rice recipe.

This is one of the most popular and often made rice recipe from South India. A rice dish I have had at a few South Indian temples and also in restaurants.

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lemon rice recipe

This lemon rice dish is one of the easiest to make. already cooked or steamed rice is mixed with a spiced lemon and peanut mixture.

You can make lemon rice with freshly cooked rice or even with leftover rice. The peanuts add crunch to this sour and aromatic rice recipe. You can cook the rice Al dente or cook a bit more. Apart from Chinese fried rice, Pulao or Biryani, in all other rice recipes, I prefer to cook rice grains more than Al dente.

Best is to serve lemon rice with pappadums or even with a side vegetable salad or even coconut chutney.

It can also be made as a tiffin box or as a picnic lunch. Its a light dish and you can have it as a light breakfast also.

How to make lemon rice

Cooking rice

1. First rinse 1 cup heaped regular rice a couple of times and then soak in enough water for 30 minutes.

rice to make lemon rice recipe

2. Then drain all the water from the rice. Add the rice in a pressure cooker. Add ¼ teaspoon salt or add salt as required.

rice to make lemon rice recipe

3. Also add 2 cups water.

rice to make lemon rice recipe

4. Pressure cook the rice for 8 to 10 minutes or for 2 to 3 whistles on a medium-high flame. when the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, then open the lid.

rice for making lemon rice recipe

5. remove the rice in a bowl or plate and let it become warm or cool at room temperature. You can also fluff the cooked rice and let it cool in the cooker itself. 1 heaped cup of raw rice will yield 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice. This depends on the type of rice.

rice for making lemon rice recipe

6. Squeeze juice from 1 lime or 1 small lemon. You will need about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice. If you want more tangy taste, then you can add more lemon juice. Keep aside.

lemon juice for making lemon rice recipe

Frying peanuts and cashews

7. Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a pan. Add peanuts.

peanuts for making lemon rice recipe

8. Fry the peanuts on a low to medium flame till they become golden and crunchy.

peanuts for preparing lemon rice recipe

9. remove and keep aside.

peanuts for preparing lemon rice recipe

10. in the same pan add cashews.

cashews for preparing lemon rice recipe

11. Fry cashews till they turn golden. Keep aside.

cashews for preparing lemon rice recipe

Making lemon rice

12. Now add 1 tablespoon sesame oil in the same pan. When the oil becomes hot, then add mustard seeds.

preparing lemon rice recipe

12. When the mustard seeds begun to crackle, then add urad dal.

urad dal for preparing lemon rice recipe

13. On a low flame, sauté the urad dal till they turn golden.

urad dal for preparing lemon rice recipe

14. Next add curry leaves, chopped green chilies and dry red chilies.

making lemon rice recipe

15. Sauté for some seconds till the red chilies change color.

making lemon rice recipe

16. Switch off the flame and add turmeric powder and asafoetida.

spices for making lemon rice recipe

17. Mix very well.

spices for making lemon rice recipe

18. Now pour this tempering mixture in the cooked rice.

making South Indian lemon rice recipe

19. Add the fried peanuts and cashews.

preparing South Indian lemon rice recipe

20. Add lemon juice.

making South Indian lemon rice recipe

21. Add salt.

preparing South Indian lemon rice recipe

22. Mix very well.

South Indian lemon rice recipe

23. Check the taste and add more lemon juice or salt if you want. keep the lemon rice covered for the flavors to blend for 4 to 5 minutes.

South Indian lemon rice recipe

24. Serve lemon rice with papads or vadams and coconut chutney or just have lemon rice plain. You can even pack lemon rice in tiffin or for a travel journey.

lemon rice

Few more popular rice recipes

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Lemon Rice (Authentic South Indian Lemon Rice)

4.64 from 33 votes
Lemon rice is a crunchy, flavorful and sour rice recipe from South India.
lemon rice recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:5 mins
Total Time:25 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:South Indian
Servings (change the number to scale):2 to 3
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heaped regular rice or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (spilt and skinned black gram)
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 to 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon cashews - halved or chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup peanuts - optional
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon sesame oil - optional
  • rock salt (sendha namak) or regular salt as required

Instructions

cooking rice

  • Rinse 1 heaped cup rice a couple of times and soak for 30 minutes. 
  • Then drain the water and pressure cook rice with ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 cups water for 2 to 3 whistles or 8 to 10 minutes on medium-high flame. 
  • 1 heaped cup rice will yield 3 to 4 cups rice. This depends on the type and quality of rice. 
  • When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, remove the lid. Remove the cooked rice in a plate or in a bowl.
  • Let the rice become warm or cool at room temperature

making lemon rice

  • In a small frying pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil. First fry peanuts till crunchy and then keep them aside. 
  • In the same oil, then fry cashews till golden. Remove and keep aside.
  • Now add 1 tablespoon sesame oil in the same pan. 
  • Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Once the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the urad dal.
  • Saute till the urad dal turns golden. fry everything on a low flame, so that the spices don't burn.
  • Then add the red chilies, green chilies (chopped) and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds till the red chilies change color. 
  • Switch off the flame and add the asafoetida and turmeric powder. Mix very well
  • Stir and immediately pour this tempering mixture on the rice. Add the fried peanuts, cashews, lemon juice and salt. Mix very well.
  • Keep it covered for the flavors to blend for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Then serve the lemon rice with papads or vadams and coconut chutney or just have lemon rice plain.

Nutrition Info (approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Rice (Authentic South Indian Lemon Rice)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 641 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 1251mg54%
Potassium 420mg12%
Carbohydrates 87g29%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 655IU13%
Vitamin C 191.7mg232%
Calcium 76mg8%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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97 comments/reviews

  1. Thankyou so much as i wanted to eat this lemon rice from many days, from ur receipe it could possible.

    • pleased to know this kundan thankyou so much 🙂

  2. Super mam

    • thankyou kokila 🙂

  3. Hi can we use Chana dal instead of urad dal ??

    • kavi, yes you can add chana dal. just fry them well.

  4. Hi. Thanks a lot for your quick receipies which has helped me a lot in past and specially the lemon rice receipe has solved my problem for tonight’s dinner5 stars

    • pleased to know this rimpal 🙂 you liked the lemon rice recipe. thankyou for your kind words.

  5. Thank u so mch ur recipe helped a lot as my husband is frm bnglore and wanted me to make lemon rice for him and just because of ur recipe I was able to make it.

    • welcome aastha. nice to know that recipe helped you in making lemon rice.

  6. Hi Dassana

    Have tried couple of your recipes all were good… would request a bread dahi vada recipe to be posted as could not find any good on other sites

    • thanks vaishali. i have noted down the recipe request and will try to post it.

  7. Thank you so much.. I am a student.. And I have prepared lemon rice .but when added lemon juice it smells bad.anyways by your direction I have prepared it.

    • welcome nivedita. it does not smell bad. was the lemon fresh? lemon must be getting spoilt.

  8. Hi Dassana….thanks once again for a quick, simple and delicious recipe. I have tried so many of ur recipes but not one of them has been disappointing. Keep up the good work!5 stars

    • welcome jyoti. glad to know this. thanks for sharing positive review on recipes.

  9. Hi Dassana

    So quick n simple recepie.. Just a simple query if til oil is not available what could b the option for it.

    • thanks deepti. use peanut oil or sun flower oil.

  10. please can you provide your recipes ,in Tamil language also

    • v.vairavan, i don’t know tamil language so won’t be able to do it.

  11. I think this is very easy and simple, i like this and i will try this.

  12. And, my personal choice for this as a combo is thick coconut chutney with just fresh coconut, green chillies and curry leaves, and then some fried pappad/chips..:)

    • anu, i usually serve with pappad. but coconut chutney is a good addition. good to know this.

  13. Perfect recipe…it’s the same way that I make it here…only small addition is that I add 2-3 spoonful of grated coconut and coriander leaves, if it need not be kept for long. My son loves this and to make it wholesome, sometimes I add paneer cubes and fresh veggies also to it.5 stars

    • thanks anu for sharing your variation. you are making the dish more healthy.

  14. i love sabudan khichidi………

  15. Good & it is a brand new recipe for me.4 stars

  16. In our village we do this with left over rice for morning breakfast. Lemon rice, mango or Makali beru pickle and curd rice heaven on earth!

    • madhusudhan, thats good to know. i always make with fresh rice. but the food combo you mentioned must be delicious.

  17. Nice& easy5 stars

    • thanks sujan

  18. very nice recipes i loved it.5 stars

    • thanks pushpa

  19. supper

  20. thank u dassana fr this recipe,i will prepare fr my lovely sis who loves lemon rice hope she likes it5 stars

    • welcome abhijeet

  21. Hi Dassana, before turning off the flame add grated coconut. Fry the coconut for 1-2 mins and add rice, lemon juice and mix well in the pan itself. This tastes much better and stays for a long time.. I’m sure you’ll love this typical karnataka style lemon rice.

    • thanks padma for sharing your variation. i will give it a try.

  22. This is so, SO good! I never thought to use peanuts and lemon together before.

    I didn’t have light sesame oil or cashews so I left them out (used vegetable oil instead) – I can just imagine how good it would be with the toasted cashews as well. Here in the UK cashews can be a little expensive but I know it will be worth it.

    Thank you Dassana as always!

    • welcome liz. peanuts are a cheap but a good substitute to cashews. with both peanuts and cashews, the lemon rice taste equally good.

  23. Hey, I love your receipes .. Wen Eva I wana try anythin new I refer your recipe first…:) thanks a lot..;) keep posting more..:) I love the lemon rice as Al ua others recipe..:)

    • thanks shahnaz for this positive feedback.

  24. Thanks for the recipe– going to make it tomorrow. Just picked up some Hing. Looks so good.

    Question– do I need to soak and or cook the urad dal beforehand? Or can I just add the dried lentils straight to fry pan?

    Thanks so much!
    Matt

    • welcome matt. no need to soak or cook urad dal. just add them to the pan and saute on a low flame, till they become a maroonish color.

  25. I love lemon rice so much, that I eat it every meal.5 stars

  26. Delicious and simple recipe.5 stars

    • thanks sangeeta

  27. Good

  28. Tried your recipe for today’s breakfast. My husband liked it very much. Thanks a lot.4 stars

    • welcome gopika

  29. wow&thanks

    • welcome

  30. Can we make this recipe with wild rice instead of the regular white rice?4 stars

    • kailash, you can try but i have never tried. so not sure about the texture.

  31. lamen rise resepi vary nise prabhu ji

  32. This recipe sounds wonderful, but I have a question about it. Do you use plain sesame oil or toasted (like east Asian) sesame oil. Thanks.

    • susan, it is plain sesame oil and not the east asian ones.

      • Thank you!

  33. i make lemon rice very often.. once in a while i add dates to it.. gives a sweet touch now and then in ur mouth..

    • thanks renu for sharing your tip. i will give it a try next time.

  34. love lemon rice and such a greatly made one you shared here.

  35. My all time fav breakfast-lunch-dinner:))
    xx

    • I make maximum recipes from this site. Really very easy and helpful. Thank you very much.4 stars

      • welcome madhu. thanks for sharing positive feedback on recipes.