The preparation of lemon rice is quite a simple one and it is the most fuss-free dish compared to the other traditional rice options out there. The sour and spicy flavors are well balanced in the dish where as the addition of curry leaves and asafoetida make the rice flavorful. Peanuts and dals add a nice crunch and a welcome texture to the dish. It takes about five minutes to prepare the lemon rice if the rice is handy and so, it is a suitable dish both for festive occasions or impromptu/lazy meals. I always held myself back from posting a recipe for lemon rice considering that it is a basic recipe, from a south Indian perspective. However my Gujarati neighbors who ate my lemon rice a few years ago always keep praising it and ask for the tips to master it. This recipe is for those who are not familiar with the rice preparation and novices.
Ingredients: (4 servings)
1 cup rice (I used sona masuri.)
1 - 2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. peanuts
1 tbsp. chana dal / split chickpeas
1 tsp. urad dal /skinned and split black lentil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3 chopped green chillies or 5 - 6 dried red chillies, broken into pieces *
1 stalk of curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
a few pinches of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
3 to 4 tbsp. lemon / lime juice (Adjust depending upon the sourness of the lemon juice.)
Minced cilantro to garnish (optional)
* A combo of both green and red chillies can be used too. The number of chillies in the recipe can be adjusted according to one's preferred spice levels.
* Wash the rice in two exchanges of water and drain completely. Pressure cook the rice adding 1 & 3/4 cups of water. (Add 2 cups of water if using a rice cooker.) When the rice is done, spread it on a wide plate and fluff the rice. Or let the rice sit for a while before using.
* Once the rice is ready, heat oil in a pan / kadai. Add peanuts, chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to sizzle and pop and the dals start to turn reddish, add chillies and saute for few seconds. Next add curry leaves, turmeric and asafoetida. Stir once and turn off the stove.
* Add rice, salt and lemon / lime juice and mix well. Taste the rice and adjust the salt or the lemon juice if needed.
* Let the rice sit for at least 15 - 30 minutes for the flavors to develop.
* It can be served on it's own or serve some papad / chips along with it.
1. Salt and lemon flavors tone down a bit after the resting period and so add those ingredients accordingly or taste the rice again after 30 minutes and adjust the quantities.
2. In case if the lemon rice turns out too salty / too sour just add some more rice and mix well to combine.
3. Bottled lemon juice can be substituted for the fresh juice.
This goes to Blogging marathon #71, under the theme 'Make a Meal'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.