Lemon Rice

raditional South Indian quick lemon rice also known as chitranna or nimmakaya pulihora is a popular dish made for a meal. To make this, precooked rice is tempered with spices, dal, curry leaves and nuts. Lastly it is mixed with fresh lemon juice to impart a refreshing and delicious flavor. Recipe with instructions for stovetop & Instant pot.

Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Main Course


For Soaking Rice

  • 1½ cups rice uncooked

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoon oil

  • ¾ teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 4 tablespoon peanuts

  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 2 green chili

  • 1 sprig curry leaves

  • 1 ½ teaspoon chana dal

  • 1 teaspoon urad dal

  • 1 pinch hing

Veggies And Herbs

  • ½ tbsp ginger

  • 2 dried red chilies


Soaking Rice

  • Wash rice a few times and drain the water completely.

  • On a low flame cover and cook it in a large pot with 3 cups water

  • The rice must be cooked fully but grainy and not mushy

  • Fluff up the rice gently with a fork and cool completely. This helps to keep the rice grainy & firm.

Cooking Rice

  • Heat a pan with ½ tbsp oil on a medium.

  • Add peanuts or cashews and fry until golden and crunchy.

  • Pour another 1½ tbsp of oil and add mustard, urad dal & chana dal.

  • Next add ginger, green chilis, red chilies(optional) and curry leaves.

  • Fry them until the leaves turn crisp for about 30 seconds. Do not fry for too long, ginger will turn bitter.

  • Quickly water will evaporate and turn the dal softer yet keeping them slightly crunchy.

  • Transfer this to the cooled rice. Ensure the rice is cooled completely then squeeze the lemon juice and give a good mix.

  • Taste the lemon rice. If needed sprinkle more salt and add more lemon juice. Garnish with roasted peanuts or cashews. Serve lemon rice with plain yogurt, papad or pickle.

Dum Cooking

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