Lemon Rice or Chitranna is a popular South Indian Rice recipe where the rice is flavored with lemon juice.
The dish is a complete meal in itself or it can be eaten with curd, raita, curries, or any chutney and is a wonderful way to use those leftover rice. Here is how to make it.
South India is a treasure trove of recipes that are simple and easy to make yet very flavourful.
My idea for South Indian food was limited to Idli, Dosa and Uttapam, some years back.
But when I shifted to Bangalore, I was surprised to see the variety of food!
Each and every dish was so delicious and so unique in terms of taste and flavour.
As I love North Indian Pulav recipes, I was very excited to try this South Indian version of spicy and tangy mixed rice recipes.
And the first recipe that I tried my hands on, was this Lemon Rice, which was also one of the most popular South Indian Rice recipes that can be made in a jiffy.
Made with limited spices and lemon juice, this will surely be your favourite dish to pack in your Lunch Box.
This dish is typically made in sesame oil but you can also use olive oil or any vegetable oil of your choice.
What is Lemon Rice?
It is cooked rice flavored with lime juice and tempered with mild spices.
Making it is a very easy process and it becomes even easier when you already have steamed rice ready.
To make it, a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, and curry leaves is made and is added to the cooked rice along with roasted peanuts and cashews.
Lemon juice is added at the end to give it a slight tangy taste to this lemon Rice.
Turmeric powder is also added that gives a beautiful yellow colour to this mixed rice.
You will probably have all the ingredients in your pantry to make this dish.
You will need rice, lemon, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, cashews, curry leaves, dry red chillies and green chillies.
As it gets its spiciness from green chillies and dry red chillies, in the masalas you will just need turmeric powder to add that beautiful colour to the rice.
You can add green chillies and dry red chillies for a spicy flavour and can omit them if making this rice dish for kids.
Can you use leftover rice to make it?
Yes, you can definitely use leftover rice.
Actually, Lemon Rice tastes even better when made with leftover rice.
If you are making it with fresh rice, make sure that the rice cools down completely or refrigerate it for some time before you add it in the tadka.
I like to serve some kind of Raita (Yogurt Dip) and Papad with Lemon Rice.
You can also serve pickle and chutney. Coconut Chutney also pairs well with this dish.
Can you eat it during pregnancy?
Although lemon is full of good vitamins and minerals, eating it during pregnancy may cause some problems like heartburn or damage to teeth enamel.
So if possible, just avoid eating it for those 9 months or consult your physician before making it a part of your diet.
Pro Tips by Neha
Use a day’s old cooked rice to make this recipe.
The rice grains are more separate and fries well with the spices.
If using fresh rice, refrigerate it for a few hours before tempering.
Use short grain to make this dish. Although there are no rules, it’s traditionally made with sona masuri rice.
Adjust the amount of green chilli and lemon juice according to your taste.
This rice keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This is a great recipe to pack for a lunch box.
You can also drizzle a tsp of ghee over the rice before serving. It will add on to the taste.
You can also add veggies like carrots, beans etc to this rice to make it more nourishing.
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Step by Step Recipe
Dry roast the peanuts and cashew nuts till slightly browned. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan.
When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal. Cook till dals are slightly browned.
Add green chilli, dry red chilli, curry leaves and hing. Cook for 10 seconds.
Add the roasted peanuts, cashew nuts, salt and turmeric powder. Cook for 10 seconds.
Now add the cooked rice and lemon juice and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Lemon Rice Recipe
- 2 cups Cooked Rice
- 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- 1 tsp Chana Dal
- 2 Green Chilli (Split into half)
- 3-4 Dry Red Chillies
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- ¼ tsp Hing
- ¼ cup Peanuts
- 6-8 Cashew Nuts
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Dry roast the peanuts and cashew nuts till slightly browned.
- Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal.
- Cook till dals are slightly browned.
- Add green chilli, dry red chilli, curry leaves and hing.
- Cook for 10 seconds.
- Add the roasted peanuts, cashew nuts, salt and turmeric powder.
- Cook for 10 seconds.
- Add the cooked rice and lemon juice and mix well.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes.