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5 from 6 votes

Lemon Rice Recipe

This south Indian lemon rice recipe is super delicious, flavorful and ready in flat 10 minutes. This quick and easy rice recipe is one of the summer staples at our home that I make very often. It is known as elumichai sadham in Tamil, Chitranna in Kanada and nimmakaya pulihora in Telugu.
This yummy dish is made with cooked rice, few basic tempering ingredients like mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, peanuts, turmeric powder and lemon juice. If you have cooked rice handy you can make lemon rice in 10 minutes. Serve with a simple vegetable dish, papad, chips and curd for a complete yet light summer meal. Vegan recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: lemon rice
Servings: 3
Calories: 444kcal
Author: Harini


  • 1.25 cups rice 2.5 cups cooked and cooled rice
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Salt

For lemon rice tempering:

  • 3 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 tablespoon chana dal
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts
  • 7 cashews broken
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 3 green chilies chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice lime juice



  • Pick, rinse and soak 1.25 cups rice in 15 minutes. Soaking helps to remove the excess starch from the rice and prevents it from turning mushy. Once the rice is soaked, drain excess water and rinse twice in fresh water. Next cook the rice in such a way that grains are separate.
    cooked short grain rice
  • As the rice cooks, soak 2 teaspoons urad dal, 1 tablespoon chana dal in a small cup of water. Also chop 2 green chillies finely.
    lentils soaked in water
  • Add 3/4 teaspoon salt & 2 teaspoons oil to the cooked rice, toss and fluff the rice grains.
    rice tossed with oil and salt for making lemon rice

Making Lemon Rice

  • Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a pan over medium heat. Temper with 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Drain excess water from the soaked lentils and add it too. Fry for 30 seconds.
    Frying mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal in oil
  • Add asafoetida, curry leaves, minced ginger, chopped green chilies, cashews and peanuts to the same pan. Also add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • Saute well till cashews turn golden.
  • Remove from flame and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and mix well.
  • Add this to the cooled rice.
  • Mix well thoroughly but gently without breaking the rice grains. Taste lemon rice and adjust salt or add more lemon juice if needed.


Texture of rice– It is very important to get the texture of rice right for this recipe. It should be non sticky with grains separate.
The quantity of water I have given here are estimates for aged rice. Add more or less according to the quality of your rice.
Add tempering ingredients only to the cold rice to prevent rice from turning mushy.
Spice level– This recipe will yield you moderately spiced lemon rice. If you spicier version you can increase the green chilies or you can even add 1-2 dried red chilies while tempering.
On the other hand, if you are making this for kids you can just skip the chillies or add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder too.
Curry leaves– These are one of the important ingredients for making flavorful rice according to me. They lend this unique authentic aroma to lemon rice. If you don’t have fresh curry leaves you can also dried leaves. If you have curry leaves powder just add 1 teaspoon of it too.


Serving: 3servings | Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 110mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg