This was one of the simpler recipes that didn’t scare me back when I was a beginner in the kitchen. Today, I cook this whenever I want to whip up something fast and simple, when I don’t feel like eating meat, or when I am swamped with so much work that I refuse can’t cook two different items in one go. I prefer egg fried rice over lemon rice, but my version of fried rice requires so much cutting and dicing, and a whole army of various sauce bottles that I decide to go with lemon rice in the end.
I think lemon rice is South Indian in origin.
Anyway, to make this you’ll need:
- cooked rice (I prefer basmati because it looks longer and prettier)
- a small onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon each of chana dal (split chickpea) and urad dal
- ginger-garlic paste
- whole, dried red chilies
- green chilies, chopped
- cashew nuts, chopped
- roasted peanuts
- curry and coriander leaves
- mustard seeds
- freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- turmeric and red chili powder (just a pinch of each)
- salt, of course
- I discovered that lemon rice tastes better when the rice used is fresh and steaming hot. So start by cooking rice.
- Season cooked rice with salt. Add freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Mix well and keep aside.
- Heat a little oil in a pan.
- Let some mustard seeds crackle in the pan, then add the chana and urad dal. Fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cashew nuts and roast until slightly golden-brown.
- Add peanuts, green and red chilies, curry leaves. Fry for a minute.
- Add the onion and fry until translucent, followed by ginger-garlic paste (the amount of which will depend on how much rice you have).
- Add turmeric and red chili powders, and fry real quick. We don’t want these spices to burn.
- Add the rice (which we earlier seasoned with salt and lemon juice). Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
Some people eat lemon rice with coconut chutney, while some prefer pickles. I like mine just as it is.