Quick & Simple Lemon Rice


Lemon rice is a delicious South Indian dish that adds a very refreshing and tangy flavor to the rice. This recipe is perfect for lunches and light dinners and can be made from either freshly cooked rice or leftovers from the last meal. (If you have leftover rice, skip to the seasoning recipe instead.)

I rarely made South Indian food, so when I first made this years ago, the peanuts were not fried properly. So when I served the rice to my husband, he quickly returned the bowl to me after trying a spoon. He never took chances with food that wasn’t prepared well. His honest critique of food has turned this recipe, along with everything else I’ve made, into what it is.


This has become a favorite dish in our family, and I’m sure yours will enjoy it as well.



  • 2 cups rice (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seed*
  • 1 tsp turmeric*
  • 3 green chilies (chopped well)
  • 2 cups raw peanuts*
  • 12 to 15 fresh curry leaves*
  • 5 tbsps vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1 tsp salt, adjust to taste

*You can get the peanuts, turmeric, mustard seeds, and curry leaves from any Indian grocery store.

Preparing the rice: 

  1. Wash rice gently while changing water several times until the water appears clear.
  2. In a large pan, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil on high flame.
  3. Once the water is boiled, drain the rice and add them to the boiling water. Stir the rice & put the heat to medium.
  4. Once you see the rice floating, check out one grain and see if it is cooked – it should be al dente, or a little firm to the bite.
  5. Drain the rice and put it aside.

Preparing The Seasoning:

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add mustard seeds. Once they stop sizzling, add peanuts and turmeric and fry until they are brown. (Taste one peanut just to make sure it is fried properly…we don’t want any returned bowls here!).
  2. Add chopped green chilies, curry leaves, salt, and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir well.
  4. Finally add the white rice and stir the mixture thoroughly.

Serves: 4 – 5 people

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