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Brown clay bowl filled with pale yellow lemon rice garnsihed with brown peanuts and green cilantro leaves. A green and white checked napkin to the left and pieces of cilantro to the right. All on a pale grey background tinged with yellow
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Lemon Rice with Gondhoraj Lebu Juice

Tangy tasty lemon rice: rice cooked and mixed with lemon juice and tempered with mustard seeds, chilies, turmeric powder and curry leaves, garnished with fried peanuts. Serve with a simple potato curry and pappad.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Lunchbox, Main Course
Cuisine: south indian
Keyword: Elumicham Sadam, Gondhoraj Lebu, Gondhoraj Lime, Lemon Rice, Lunchbox, Under 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 518kcal
Author: Sujata Shukla


For Lemon Rice

  • 2 cups Raw rice short grained rice is best
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon juice for Gondhoraj Lebu Juice 2 tablespoons; Other lemon juice 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons Gingelly Oil/ Til Oil
  • ¼ cup Raw peanuts shelled. To be fried together with another ¼ cup noted below for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon Kadugu/ rai/ mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Vendhayam seeds/ Methi seeds / Fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Kadalai paruppu/ Channa dal / Split Bengal Gram lentils
  • 1 Green chilli sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger About 2 cm piece, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • 10 Curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Salt or to taste

For the garnish:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup raw peanuts shelled


Cook The Rice

  • Cook the rice in a pressure cooker for one whistle, using just sufficient water for it to cook. The rice grains should be separate and whole, and not mushy.
  • Once the cooker cools enough by itself, remove and spread the rice on a wide plate, so that the grains remain separate. Allow rice to cool.

Preparation: While the rice cooks

  • Squeeze juice from lemon, discard the seeds. If Gondhoraj Lime is available, it gives great flavour to the lemon rice. Alternatively, regular lemon may be used.
  • Slice the chili and tear the curry leaves into bits. Mince cilantro leaves and Ginger


  • Heat the oil, sauté all the peanuts on medium (¼ cup for adding to the rice, ¼ cup for the garnish, i.e. totally about ½ cup) for about 2 minutes till they begin darken and to split.
    Remove fried peanuts (after draining the oil back into the pan, using a slotted ladle) and transfer the peanuts to a dry heatproof bowl.
  • To the remaining oil, add mustard seeds, let them crackle. One by one, add fenugreek seeds, channa dal, sliced green chilies, minced ginger, turmeric powder and curry leaves, giving each a few seconds to sauté.
  • Switch off the stove and add salt to the tempering, stirring gently so it dissolves. You could add the salt directly to the cooked rice, but it's difficult to spread it evenly into the rice. Adding salt to the oil helps to mix it uniformly into the rice, but add it sparingly.
    You can always add more salt later on if required, rather than adding excess salt at this stage.

Making Lemon Rice

  • Pour the tempering with the oil into the rice along with half the lemon juice. Mix well but gently, into the rice till the yellow of the turmeric covers every grain and there are no lumps or grains of white rice.
    Taste for salt and for tanginess, adding more salt or more lemon juice as required. The taste of the lemon should be dominant.
  • Roughly Crush (without powdering it) half the fried peanuts with a pestle and mix into the prepared rice.
    Transfer the lemon rice to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining fried peanuts and with coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roasted or fried South Indian appalam, or pappad or with chips. Fried potatoes, sliced into small cubes makes a great accompaniment.
  • The lemon rice may be served hot or after several hours. It can serve well as a packed lunch for school or office or for a train or car journey.


Serving: 12 cups | Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 102IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg