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Easy Lemon Rice

Quick and easy, this lemon rice makes a delicious and light meal when life gives you lemons and leftover rice!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: entree, lunch
Cuisine: Indian, Karnataka cuisine, South Indian
Keyword: Chitranna, Easy lemon rice, Lemon Rice
Servings: 4
Author: Sakshi Kapoor


  • A kadhai or pan with a lid


  • 2 to 3 cups Chawal / Cooked Rice (use any Indian variety)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Moonghphali ka Tel/ Peanut Oil or any Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Moongphali / Raw Peanuts (Use any nuts of lentils to add crunch)
  • 2 tbsp Kaju / Raw Cashews (Or use Raw Chana dal, 1 tbsp (optional) Or Raw Urad dal, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • 1 tsp Rai or Sarson / Mustard Seeds
  • 1 to 2 Sookhi Lal Mirch / Dry Red Chilli
  • 1 Kadi Patta / Curry leaves fresh or dried, 1 sprig or 1 tbsp worth
  • Namak / Salt to taste I used 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp Haldi / Turmeric powder
  • 1/8 cup Nimbu ka ras / Lime or Lemon juice


  • Start by gathering all ingredients. In case you don’t have cooked rice, start by cooking some rice using your preferred method and once done, spread it on a large plate or baking tray. Let the cooked rice cool while you prepare the tempering for this easy lemon rice.
  • Cut the limes or lemons in half and squeeze them using a citrus press (if using) to extract at least 1/8th cup of juice. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the juice and keep aside.

Fry the Peanuts

  • Place a large kadhai or pan on medium heat. Once hot, pour a few tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot and you can see it shimmering, add in raw peanuts.
  • Stir and cook the peanuts till they become darker, another 4-6 minutes.

Prepare the lemon tempering

  • In the same hot oil, add in a teaspoon of mustard seeds and wait till it starts crackling. Once you hear the mustard seeds crackle, add in any additional nuts like cashews or lentils like urad or chana dal dal. Stir and cook till you see the colour of the nuts or lentils change to golden.
  • Next, add in curry leaves, dried red chili and cook for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in haldi powder and salt. Give it a quick stir and add in the lemon juice and water mix before the turmeric starts to burn. Adding the liquid will create splash and steam so be careful. Stir the mix and you have your tempering.

Mix and Make Lemon Rice

  • Finally, add in the cooked rice to the tempering and mix until all the rice is coloured yellow with the tempering. Toss till the peanuts and tempering are evenly distributed throughout the rice. Shut the heat and cover with a lid to let the rice steam and absorb all the liquid.
  • Let the lemon rice sit for 3-5 minutes and serve warm or pack for tiffin!


  • If refrigerated, take out whatever citrus (lime or lemon) you are using out of the fridge so that it comes closer to room temperature. You can extract more juice out of a citrus by rolling it on the countertop and if its room temperature. If you can, bring limes or lemons out of the fridge earlier.