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South Indian lemon rice

Tangy and fragrant South Indian lemon rice.

Are you bored of eating white rice with your meal? I sure am. I think I am just one of this kind of people where I like to mess with the basic flavours and make them just more sophisticated, interesting or just spike up the flavour. Yes, I am guilty of that and my husband is pointing it out all the time.

It is time for a change and turn boring white rise into South Indian lemon rice. A beautiful fluffy rice, spiked with turmeric, lemon, black mustard seeds and toasted peanuts. This rice is also called Elumichai Sadam – dish that comes from Southern part of India.

South Indian lemon rice

How to make South Indian lemon rice?

First you need to cook rice, make sure that you do not overcook it. It will turn into a mush and will taste horrible. For the best results, please follow the recipe below.

Then it is time to prepare spices. You need to melt ghee butter and add spices first. Cook it for few minutes so spices can release aroma. Please use lid if possible as mustard seed will pop and jump off a pan under a heat. Yeap, I learned from experience – bloody mustard seed were all over the house. Then add peanuts and lemon juice and zest and stir.

The last thing to do is to gently mix rice with spices and amazing side dish is ready.

How to serve South Indian lemon rice?

You can serve this side dish with pretty much any meat or fish you wish. It goes very well with a curry as well.

South Indian lemon rice

What South Indian lemon rice taste like?

I think the flavours are just beautiful, very fragrant and bold. lemon flavour is quite prominent. This side dish is customizable, you can add or leave out whatever you want. Speaking of which, my husband hated peanuts in this dish, he said it was too crunchy for him. On the contrary, I absolutely loved toasted peanuts, it added some bitterness and creaminess and just complemented the whole dish.

If you are looking for more Indian recipes, I can recommend you the following:

I hope you will make my recipe and if you do, please leave a comment below and let me know your feedback. You can also find me on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Gab and Gettr. Please say hi and do not forget to tag me in if you make my recipe. I love seeing your creations.

Recipe source – adapted from the book “The Indian cookery course” by Monisha Bharadwaj

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें

South Indian lemon rice

Tangy and fragrant South Indian lemon rice.

Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 13 mins Total Time 28 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



  1. Place rice in a bowl and soak it in cold water for 30 min.

  2. Rinse rice and place it in a medium pot, add salt, pour 390 ml of cold water and turn the gas on (do not add lid on top).

  3. When water and rice starts to bubble, lower the heat to simmer and put lid on pot.

  4. Cook the rice for about 12 min , do not remove lid from the pot during cooking time!

  5. In a large pan, add ghee butter, warm it up, add mustard seeds and fry them until they start to pop.

  6. Add peanuts and fry it for few minutes until they start to brown.

  7. Lower the heat to minimum, add turmeric, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir. Turn the heat off.

  8. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat, take the lid off and let the rice to cool off. Do not stir it, just gently get to the bottom and help the steam to escape.

  9. When rice has cooled off, gently add it on the pan ( heat up the pan first) and stir the rice with the spices.

  10. Serve hot.

Keywords: rice
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