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
Test Kitchen Notes
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
Cooked and cooled Basmati rice (~ room temperature)
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon (freshly cut & squeezed)
Clarified butter (Ghee)
whole black mustard seeds
dried Arbol chile (Broken in two)
Peanuts or Cashewnuts (Broken up)
Finely chopped fresh ginger root
Finely minced Deseeded Green chile (Serrano) or 1/2 a deseeded jalapeno
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.
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.
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.