Lemon Rice

Easy Lemon Rice is a popular rice dish from South India.

This dish is tangy, crunchy and so flavorful. Pair with pickle or papadum for a delicious meal.

lemon rice served in a white bowl with two lemon sliced place on top

Sarvesh is a huge rice fan, he can eat it pretty much every day. While plain rice and dal is his absolute favorite, sometimes I like to change things up and make something different with rice.

Few of my favorite rice recipes are Curd Rice and this Lemon Rice.

This lemon rice recipe is very popular in South India. It’s tempered with spices like mustard seeds, curry leaves and has peanuts for the crunch and lemon juice for that tangy flavor.

It’s pretty straight forward to make and makes a great quick lunch or meal.

This Lemon Rice

✓ is easy to make and can get done in 30 minutes or less

✓ has a lot of flavor going on- crunchy peanuts, curry leaves and a strong lemon flavor!

✓ is vegan

✓ can be made gluten-free by skipping the hing (asafoetida)

For this South Indian lemon rice recipe, I first cooked the rice and then seasoned it with all the ingredients.

But you can also make it using leftover rice. I used 1 cup of uncooked rice here so its equivalent would be 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice.

I actually make this recipe often using leftover rice. Because we eat rice a lot, I am often left with few cups rice and this is a great way to use it.

In fact when you use pre-cooked rice, the cook time is reduced even further and you can make this dish in 15 minutes!

lemon rice served in a white bowl with a cut lemon in the background

For tempering the lemon rice, I used mustard seeds, curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, peanuts and fresh lemon juice.

You can even add cashews if you want. Even ginger would be good here, though I did not add it.

I like adding the chana and urad dal for the crunch in my lemon rice. Make sure, you soak the dals for 10 to 15 minutes in water before using them in the recipe.

It makes them softer and I like having that texture of the dal in my lemon rice.

Serving Suggestions for Lemon Rice

Lemon rice is typically served with pickle and papadum on the side.

You can enjoy it as such too, it doesn’t really need many accompaniments.

Method

1- Rinse rice until water turns clear. Then transfer to a pressure cooker with 1.5 cups water.

Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 whistles. You can also cook in your Instant pot, high pressure for 5 minutes with natural pressure release.

2-  Meanwhile soak urad dal and chana dal in water for 10 to 15 minutes as the rice cooks. Then drain the water from the dals and set aside.

3- Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large bowl and let it cool down. Then add the salt.

4- And the lemon juice and mix well until combined and set it aside.

step by step picture collage of making lemon rice

5- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the peanuts to the pan.

6- Cook the peanuts until roasted and they turn light golden brown. Don’t burn them. Remove peanuts on a plate lined with paper towel.

7- To the same pan, now add mustard seeds and let them pop.

8- Add the soaked & drained dal to the pan. Saute until they turn light golden brown.

step by step picture collage of making lemon rice

9- Add the curry leaves and chili. Saute for few seconds.

10- Then add the turmeric, hing and mix.

11- Remove pan from heat. Transfer tempering to rice along with the roasted peanuts.

12- Mix all the seasoning well with the rice. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste at this point.

step by step picture collage of making lemon rice

Serve lemon rice with a side of pickle!

lemon rice served in a white bowl with a spoon

If you’ve tried this Lemon Rice Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2016.

Lemon Rice

South Indian Lemon Rice with peanuts, curry leaves and fresh lemon juice. This flavorful rice is tangy, vibrant and crunchy. Makes a great quick meal and is also vegan.

lemon rice served in a white bowl with two lemon sliced place on top
Course Sides
Cuisine Indian
Keyword lemon rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 as a side
Calories: 321 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, 200 grams, I used basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups water, 12 oz
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2-2.5 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal (dhuli), soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chana dal, soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, raw
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 12-14 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili, sliced, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • generous pinch hing, also known as asafoetida

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice until water turns clear. Then transfer to a pressure cooker with 1.5 cups water. Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 whistles. You can also cook in your Instant pot, high pressure for 5 minutes with natural pressure release.

  2. Meanwhile soak urad dal and chana dal in water for 10 to 15 minutes as the rice cooks. Then drain the water from the dals and set aside.

  3. Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large bowl and let it cool down. Then add the salt and the lemon juice and mix well until combined and set it aside.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the peanuts to the pan. Cook the peanuts until roasted and they turn light golden brown. Don't burn them. Remove peanuts on a plate lined with paper towel.

  5. To the same pan, now add mustard seeds and let them pop.

  6. Add the soaked & drained dal to the pan. Saute until they turn light golden brown.

  7. Add the curry leaves and chili. Saute for few seconds. Then add the turmeric, hing and mix. Remove pan from heat. 

  8. Transfer tempering to rice along with the roasted peanuts. Mix all the seasoning well with the rice. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste at this point.

  9. Serve lemon rice with a side of pickle!

Recipe Notes

  1. You can also make this lemon rice using 3-4 cups of cooked rice. So this is a great way to use leftover rice. Follow the same recipe as it is except cooking the rice part.
  2. You can also add cashews to this lemon rice for that extra crunch and taste.
  3. To make it gluten-free skip the hing (asafoetida) or use gluten-free hing.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Sodium 61mg 3%
Potassium 120mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 103.8%
Calcium 4.5%
Iron 5.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

12 thoughts on “Lemon Rice

  1. Sounds like our New Year’s Eve was pretty similar to yours! We just laid low and snacked on delicious food. But we actually made it until midnight this year (that doesn’t always happen). I think it’s partially because the baby needed to eat around 11:30, so that gave us the gumption to make it another few minutes. Haha! I love this rice…it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing, and happy new year!!

  2. Hi Manali,

    I love your website! I have a question about lemon rice and the use of urad and channa dals. What is the purpose of adding them to the dish? Texture?

    Thanks so much for helping me!

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