This is a typical South Indian dish. I was first introduced to this dish by my lovely work friends Latha and Jayanthi. This dish, without doubt, is one of the simplest recipes to prepare. It is such a warm and vibrant dish with a tangy zing which dances on the palate. I absolutely love the vibrant pink/purple color that the red onions take on once the lemon juice hits the pan (the use of onions is my take on the dish – the south Indians do not use onions). This is one of my favorite go-to recipes when I need to make something quick especially when I have leftover rice. It can be served on its own as a light meal or accompanied by any seafood dishes. We normally have it with pan fried fish or prawn chilli fry. Fish is a perfect match for this dish.
Whenever I cook this dish, it brings back wonderful memories of my earlier days in Dubai. Hubby used to work in the hospitality industry and for a long spate of time he used to have his weekly off on Tuesdays. For him, the eve of his weekend is the day he loves to have a good meal. His favorite was Lemon Rice and fried pomfret. Hence, Monday night dinners for a long while became very predictable – not that I am complaining. As mentioned in my posts rice and fish feature high up in the pyramid of my favorite foods. I would gladly eat these every day of the week!!!
I believe this dish works very well with leftover rice. It can also be made with rice vermicelli. Do give it a try.
1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. peanuts or 10-12 cashewnuts, halved
1 tsp. split urad dhal
1 tsp. mustard
1 pinch of hing
2 dry kashmiri chillies, whole
1-2 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. finely chopped ginger (optional but recommended)
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 small red onion, finely sliced (optional but recommended)
½ tsp turmeric powder
Juice from one medium lemon (See Note)
Salt to taste
¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- Wash the rice and soak for 15-20 minutes. In a pot of boiling water, add the rice and cook till done, then drain in a colander.
- In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard, when it starts to splutter add the nuts of choice, urad dhal, red chillies and hing.
- Next add the curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and onion. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add the lemon juice, turmeric and salt and switch off the flame.
- Immediately add the cooked rice and toss gently till well coated in the seasoning mixture. Taste for salt.
- Finish with coriander leaves. Toss gently to mix.
- Enjoy with a side of your choice.
- Use lemon juice according to your taste. Always add less in the beginning. You can add more later, if required. The quantity would also depend on the tartness of the lemons.
- Do not overcook the rice else you will end up with a mushy dish. The finished dish should be light and fluffy.
- Works well with leftover cooled rice.
- Use a wide pan/skillet so the rice doesn’t get squashed when mixing together.