Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice With Lemon and Peanuts

Lemon Rice - South Indian Rice With Lemon and Peanuts

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Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice with Lemon and Peanuts, is sort of self-explanatory. However, I am dying to tell you all about it anyway. You see, for all the years I have been blogging, I always shared and posted more technical recipes. Things I wanted to try or things I thought people would love to learn. While I shared a croissant recipe because I was so thrilled that I could make those as a home baker, I also shared the Kashmiri dum aalu which is highly technique based for everyone else but a Kashmiri who is used to the cooking techniques.

Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice With Lemon and Peanuts

Then I went to culinary school and ultimately started teaching recreational cooking classes. If there is something about teaching I know for sure, it is that you always end up learning a lot more yourself. About you, about the people you are teaching, about the subject you chose to teach.

Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice With Lemon and Peanuts

What I learned from  teaching  cooking classes is that people want to learn the simple stuff as much as they want to learn the highly technical stuff. I know some of my progressive eats blogger friends will tell me that they could have told this to me eons ago. But one must learn when one must learn. And I am a slow learner anyway.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am so thrilled to share this simple, but absolutely flavorful dish of lemon rice with you. It’s an everyday dish at my home and the whole of South India. Tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds with hints of smoky chilli and a nutty crunchy mouthfeel. My teen eats it as is and it was one of the dishes she would take to school in lieu of eating a hot lunch in the cafeteria. For one it didn’t have the Indian food aroma, for which she was teased at school (kids can be mean) hence the preference for hot lunch. The other more important reason was that she absolutely loved the tangy flavor and sunny look of the rice.
Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice with Lemon and Peanuts

Here is how to make this sunny, beautiful and delicious lemon rice!

Lemon Rice – South Indian Rice With Lemon and Peanuts

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 C Extra Long grain Basmati rice
  • 2 C Water
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric ground
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 Tbs peanuts
  • 2 Tbs cashews
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5- 6 curry leaves
  • 1-2 dried red chillis
  • 1 thai green chili optional
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 4 Tbs fresh lemon juice less if you don't like it that tart
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro to garnish


  1. Rinse the rice under water until the water runs clear. We want to be able to remove as much residual starch as possible.
    Boil the 2 cups of water and add the rice in when it comes to a rolling boil.

  2. Add the salt and the turmeric, stir once or twice. 

  3. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook the rice for 18 to 20 min.

  4. Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and keep it aside.

  5. Heat another saucepan or skillet. Add oil and then add the peanuts and cashews.

  6. Saute until golden brown and crunchy. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

  7. In the same oil, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle.

  8. Add the curry leaves, green chilis and the dried red chili powder. Saute until the curry leaves turn dark green.

  9. Add in two table spoons of water to reduce the temperature of the pan and then add the lemon juice, rice and the nuts.

  10. Stir carefully to mix, making sure the rice grains do not break.

  11. Switch off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes

Serve with any chicken dish or a curry. Can also be eaten by itself as a snack.

This is my side dish for the #ProgressiveEats group. Our theme this month was Citrus. How wonderful to have something so bright to make the winter days cheerful!  Coleen @ The Redhead Baker chose this theme for us! Thanks Coleen!

Progressive Eats Citrus Menu
Main Course
Veggies/Side Dishes

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

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