Lemon Rice

Lemon rice is the warhorse of packed lunches, our family’s (every south-indian family’s) saviour during morning rush-hour cooking and a regular in the weekly menu. Simply because, lemon rice is super quick to make, keeps well and tastes great at room temperature. I remember when I was young, Lemon rice was the number one item to take during travelling. We’d just buy a huge packet of potato chips to eat it along with and what a lovely combination it was. Fresh, zesty lemon rice and crunchy potato chips – simple yet delicious!

lemon rice

However diverse our joint familyis, if there’s one thing everybody agrees on, it is lemon rice. Everybody enjoys lemon rice including the kids. So if you’re travelling, are rushed for time or just feeling lazy (check out my somberi series,specially for somberis) – make lemon rice and serve with potato chips and a hot varuval (yam/karunai kizhangu fry or Arbi/seppankezhangu fry). Perfect!

lemon rice
Coriander leaves not pictured here. Cannot believe I photographed without them. But trust me, they’re crucial.

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Serves: 5


Lemon juice – from 2 large lemons
Cooked Rice – 4 cups
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Minced ginger – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 2 stems
Green chillies – 3 slit lengthwise
Peanuts – a handful
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Jeera/Seeragam/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Sunflower Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnishing


1.      Cook rice and let cool completely.

2.      In a small pan, add oil and when hot, add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Then add the cumin and fry for half a minute. Add the minced ginger, curry leaves and slit green chillies and peanuts and fry for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Switch off after a minute. Pour in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and mix well.

3.      Pour this lemon mixture over the rice and gently mix it up till all the rice is evenly coated and you see no white grains of rice. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with a hot curry and potato chips or appalam.


1.      Make sure rice is totally cool before mixing in the lemon mixture or the rice will break.

2.      Always switch off before pouring in the lemon juice or it can taste bitter.

3.      You can substitute cashew nuts for the peanuts.

4.      The fresh coriander adds wonderful crunch and flavour to the lemon rice. Don’t skip the coriander.

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