Doesn’t this bright yellow lemon rice just look like a bowl of sunshine?!
This tasty and tangy lemon rice is a popular south Indian dish that’s bursting with flavor!
The lemon juice and zest make this rice a bit tart, the serrano pepper makes it spicy and the dal and peanuts add nice texture. The curry leaves give this aromatic rice a unique flavor and are a must-have ingredient in my opinion. You can find fresh curry leaves at your local Indian grocery store or amazon. All of these ingredients – plus a few extra spices – make for a flavorful and scrumptious dish!
This is the perfect spring/summer dish. You can enjoy this as a light meal served with a side of raita (yogurt thinned out with a bit of water, salt and roasted cumin powder) or as a snack. I crave lemon-flavored food during the warmer months (have you tried my lemon cheesecake with lemon curd yet?). Now we just need spring to get its act together and give us some warmer days!
If you’ve never had lemon rice before, then you are in for a treat! I remember the first time I had lemon rice. My husband (who is south Indian) and I were at an Indian restaurant many years ago and they had lemon rice as part of their buffet. I ate (a lot of) it and was amazed – the flavor was so different than the north Indian food I grew up eating. I remember asking Roby if he had ever tried anything like it before and he literally laughed in response because he thought I was kidding (the answer was yes… just incase I needed to spell that out). Trust me when I say this is a very popular south Indian dish – loved by kiddos and adults alike.
This past weekend my husband and I were in Miami for an Indian wedding. We left our son, Tony, with his grandparents who threw him an Easter party! My mom made this lemon rice recipe from my cookbook and served it at the party. She said everyone absolutely loved it! Here’s a sweet pic from the party – it’s of my son with his grandpa who’s dressed as the Easter Bunny!
You can enjoy this fragrant rice as a light meal, a side dish or a snack. Serve this lemon rice with a side of raita/yogurt, salad and a side of Indian pickles (achar).
This popular South Indian rice dish is light, tangy and refreshing. The citrus flavor in the rice really comes through. You can eat this for breakfast, as a snack or as part of a meal. I enjoy eating lemon rice with a side of yogurt and Indian pickles.
- 1 cup basmati rice, soaked for 15-30 minutes
- 3 tablespoons oil of choice
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon split chickpeas (chana dal)
- 1 tablespoon split and skinless black lentils (split and skinless urad dal)
- ⅓ cup raw peanuts*
- 15 curry leaves
- 1 Serrano pepper or green chili, slit but intact, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, optional
- 1 cup water
- Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 15-30 minutes. Drain the water, rinse and set aside.
- Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the mustard seeds, split chickpeas, split/skinless black lentils. After 1-2 minutes, or once the lentils turn golden in color, add the raw peanuts and stir-fry.
- Add the curry leaves, Serrano pepper, ginger, coriander powder, salt and turmeric. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add lemon juice, lemon zest, water and rice. Mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
- *I prefer using raw peanuts in this dish, which can easily be found at any Indian grocery store or online. You can use roasted peanuts or cashews instead, just wait to add them in with the spices.