Lemon rice

By • January 12, 2012 • 20 Comments


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Author Notes: Its one of the triumverate of classic 'dry' rice dishes from a traditional South Indian Kitchen, the others being spiced Tamarind rice & coconut rice. (I take that back, there's sesame rice, yogurt rice as well, so make that the 'big five') The easiest to make out of the three. since there is no extensive process to make the seasonings except for a tempering. I grew up making this with all possible permutations & combinations of seasoning, but this is the basic classic 'vanilla' version of lemon rice. ensuring that the lemon is fresh, just cut & squeezed, gives the dish an extra 'je ne sais quoi' factor, possiblly because of the oils from the peel getting into the rice as well.. Lemon zest..yeah it is great, when added, but I'd rather use it for something else.Panfusine

Food52 Review: This dish may forever change the way you think of rice. Panfusine's method of first cooking the rice all by itself and adding the aromatics afterwards was new to me. I'm seriously in love. Her toasted spices and chile are an experience by themselves; the addition of the remaining ingredients, including (oh yeah) more chiles, gilds the lily. She's generous with the cilantro, too. I served it with Tzatziki and some fresh naan. I feel like I've turned a whole new corner in the rice world. You should, too.boulangere

Makes ~2 cups

  • 2 cups Cooked and cooled Basmati rice (~ room temperature)
  • Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon (freshly cut & squeezed)
  • 2 tablespoons Clarified butter (Ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin seeds
  • 1 dried Arbol chile (Broken in two)
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts or Cashewnuts (Broken up)
  • 1 tablespoon Finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1 Finely minced Deseeded Green chile (Serrano) or 1/2 a deseeded jalapeno
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves (torn)
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoons fine sea salt (as per taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Finely chopped Cilantro
  1. Add the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a skillet, Heat the ghee and add the Mustard seeds to sputter, Add the cumin and the broken Arbol chile pieces. Stir until the cumin sputters & splits (& the chile simultaneously turns a reddish brown). Add the Cashew/peanuts & toast till they turn golden.
  3. Immediately add the minced ginger, torn curry leaves & the green chiles & saute till it starts emittting an aroma. Stir in the turmeric powder, asafetida and the salt.
  4. Pour this mixture into the rice, along with the meyer lemon juice & fold in thoroughly, till the rice acquires a uniform pale yellow color. Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with a poppadum & cucumber Raita.

Comments (20) Questions (0)

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2 months ago Rebekah Powell

Can I make this with just plain white rice or will the starchiness be wrong?

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2 months ago Panfusine

Absolutely, just fluff the hot rice and let it lose a bit of moisture while cooling down before you add the seasoning.

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2 months ago Rebekah Powell

This rice is a revelation! I live out in the bush of Uganda and didn't have all the exact ingredients but it still turned out beautifully. Thank you! I fried an egg as a topper. :)

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2 months ago Panfusine

Thank you so much. The Fried egg sounds like a Capital idea!

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6 months ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is one of my favorites of yours.

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about 2 years ago creamtea

Congrats on the CP!!

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about 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Un-freaking-believable. That's all I can say.

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about 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks for the wonderful validation Boulangere, Tzatziki sounds fabulous to pair the rice with!

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about 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Oh, love South Indian recipes - especially the tempered spices. And you can never have too many rice recipes - congrats on the CP. Some idli's and coconut chutney would be nice too :-)

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over 2 years ago susan g

We had the lemon rice tonight, with "Meatballs" from boulangere. We love the rice!

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about 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks Susan g, so glad you liked it!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wonderful panfusine, Love basmati rice I think I would like this with a saag paneer, do you think that would be good?

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Oh Absolutely!

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over 2 years ago susan g

I'm ready to make this -- thanks. Can we see the other 4?

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Absolutely, Amanda has the yogurt rice recipe in the NY times big red book, I'll post the others..

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over 2 years ago creamtea

Mmmm. I will be trying this (though I may use brown basmati).

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks Creamtea!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

My pleasure AJ, Although feel free to omit the chile peppers.. (the predominant flavors are the lemon, cumin & the curry leaves)

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

welcome AJ... you may want to omit the arbol chile in the tempering and the chopped green chiles.. (while they do add a spicy heat, the predominant flavor is the lemon and the supporting ginger & the aroma from the curry leaves.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Yesss!!! This is going to be a favorite / go-to here; of that, I am certain. Thanks for posting this. ;o)