Easy Indian style Lemon rice is a refreshing, subtly flavored vegan rice recipe from South India. This quick vegan dish gets ready within minutes and is a great way to use leftover rice.
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Though lemon rice is a South Indian dish and I am from the North part of India, I grew up eating this delicious rice recipe quite often. Everyone in my family loves South Indian food so my mother who is a very good cook used to regularly prepare a lot of South Indian dishes at home.
Of all the South Indian dishes she makes, lemon rice is one of my favorites. I love the simple flavors, refreshing tangy taste, and the crunch of peanuts and lentils so much that I can survive the whole summer with just a bowl of lemon rice. Curd rice is another South Indian dish on which I can survive the summers.
Key ingredients of South Indian style lemon rice
Lemon rice is made with only a few basic ingredients that are easily available in almost every kitchen.
Lemon rice is made with leftover steamed rice which is tempered with a few basic spices and lime/lemon juice. If you want you can also make it by cooking raw rice with spices and then adding the lime juice. However, in that case, it will be less flavorful.
Use, medium or long grain rice to make this Indian-style lemon rice, choosing a short-grain variety will make it very mushy.
Lime/ lemon juice:
Though it’s called lemon rice, generally lime juice is used in this recipe as lime is more readily available in most parts of India.
If you don’t have lime use lemon juice. You can adjust the amount of lime/ lemon juice depending on your taste.
To make it even more flavorful, you can also add some lemon zest to it.
Nuts and lentils:
One of the things which I liked the most in this rice dish is the crunch of peanuts and lentils. Don’t skip using them. Without the crunch, this dish will become very dull. If allergic to peanuts, you can also use cashew nuts.
Turmeric powder, mustard seeds, dry red chilies, asafetida, ginger, and curry leaves, only these basic ingredients are used to temper lemon rice.
What to serve with it?
However, if you want to serve some simple side dish with lemon rice, just serve it with toasted papadum, a yogurt dip, pickle or just a refreshing salad like kachumber salad.
It’s a very popular lunch box recipe in South India. I remember a lot of my South Indian friends in school used to bring this dish in their tiffin box.
Another great thing about lemon rice is that it gets ready within 15 minutes.
If you like South Indian recipes, then you must keep urad dal and chana dal, black mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida in your pantry. These ingredients are used in a lot of South Indian recipes like Cabbage Poriyal, Beetroot Poriyal, and Coconut chutney.
More vegan rice recipes
If you also love rice like me don’t miss to check out my other rice recipes on this blog:
- Chickpea pulao
- Vegan Nasi Goreng,
- Hawaiian fried rice.
- Chole Pulao
- Easy Mexican Rice
- Cabbage rice
Step by step photo instructions
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- 4 cups boiled rice
- 5 tbsp lemon juice you can also use lime juice and change the quantity as per your taste
- 1-2 green chilies finely chopped
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1 small piece of ginger finely chopped/ grated
- 1.5 tbsp urad dal split & skinless black lentil
- 1.5 tbsp chana dal begnal gram
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- 2 dry red chilies broken into 2-3 pieces, each
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1.5 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt as per taste
- Heat oil in a pan and add peanuts to it, saute for a few seconds and then add dry red chilies.
- When the peanut starts changing color, add urad dal, chana dal, and mustard seeds.
- Once the lentils start changing color, add curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and saute for a few seconds. You can also add 1-2 tablespoons of water to avoid burning of turmeric.
- Next, add in the boiled rice and lemon juice. Mix well and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Switch off the gas.
- Serve with sambhar/ rasam or any dal/ curry of your choice.