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Monday, December 12, 2016

Lemon Rice / Nimmakaaya Pulihora / Nimbekaayi Chitranna

This lemon rice was a part of the south Indian festival thaali I posted last month. My mother used to prepare lemon rice only once or twice in a year on a festival day and so, even the simple lemon rice was a special one to us while growing up. Later on, I entered a family where lemon rice was 'The designated festival rice' and the younger generation's immediate option whenever there was leftover rice. My husband still thinks that the lemon rice and potato curry are the ultimate combo on a festive day. No wonder considering that the lemon rice is one of the popular rice dishes from south India and is a quick one to prepare.

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.



vaishali sabnani said...

Lemon rice looks so flavorful, and who can beat you with those awesome rice varieties. Of course the Thali is a treat and I am tempted to dig in.

Kalyani said...

I love lemon rice ANYTIME of the year... Love how u usually cook rice for all these flavoured rice dishes Suma - so separate yet fluffy - do ping me the secret (PS - I use a pressure cooker too, but sometimes tend to overcook, so I usually use leftover rice for Lemon rice, but for naivedyam I do cook fresh rice)

Priya Suresh said...

Just love this lemon rice anytime, especially when served along with potato fry, can have it anytime.Beautiful platter there.

Pavani N said...

Lemon rice is a standard dish in my household at least once a week. My kids love it and it's so simple that I make it very frequently.

Sapana Behl said...

After spending two weeks at a South Indian friends house we have become big fan of lemon rice . Looks so delicious.

Usha said...

This was made regularly at home and such a comfort food.