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Refreshing Lemon Rice | South Indian Vegetarian Comfort Food


South Indian comfort food…

Lately, I have been embracing bright colors. I now dare to wear bright colorful clothes, carry colorful bags, walk on colorful shoes and my latest favorite lipstick color is fuschia. Yes,  I am all about bright colors now. It’s just not me the entire fashion world is talking and wearing color. I always used to be a neutral color-loving girl and always fell for beige, cappuccino color, bronze, etc and used to frown at red, yellow, orange. Well, I am out of my comfort zone. I now feel color actually makes everyone cheerful and happy, ins’t it? Oh, talking about colors I am reminded of the colorful houses in my hometown. Last time, when I had visited my hometown, I was astonished to see all the houses painted in bright colors including my parent’s house. At first, I couldn’t help laughing at those colors, believe me my parents house now has a parrot green color. I even saw houses painted in pink, fluorescent colors, purple, orange, yellow etc. Looks more like a candy house 🙂

Nevertheless, I’ve always loved to cook colorful dishes. The natural gorgeous colors of many fruits and veggies have always amazed me; the red color of pomegranate, wine red color of beetroot, intense yellow color of lemon, the list is endless. They are just stunners!


Yesterday, I decided to make some colorful vegetarian dishes. One dish that flashed through my mind instantly was lemon rice which has a marvelous yellow color. It’s not the lemon but the turmeric powder that imparts the yellow color to the lemon rice. Also, it’s been ages since I’ve made lemon rice so I felt very enthusiastic about making lemon rice.

Lemon rice is a South Indian vegetarian delicacy, often served for lunch along with pickle and yogurt. It’s a comfort food for many South Indians, the lemon juice imparts a slight tartness to the rice and the seasonings make the rice taste refreshing & delish.

lemon rice

Cooking Video

Lemon Rice
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 People
  • Coconut oil- 2 tbsp (or add 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp ghee)
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Chana dal- 1 tbsp
  • Urad dal- ½ tbsp
  • Dried red chilies, halved- 3
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
  • Lemon juice, freshly squeezed- ¼ cup
  • Lemon zest- 1 tsp (optional)
  • Cooked Rice- 3 cups (Sona Masoori, Ponni or Basmati Rice)
  • Salt- 1¼ tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 tbsp
  1. Cook the rice in boiling water over the stovetop or in a rice cooker or Instant Pot.
  2. Drain the water if cooked in a saucepan & keep it aside.
  3. Have the freshly squeezed lemon juice ready.
  4. Place a wok or large wide pan over medium heat, add oil or both oil & ghee.
  5. Add mustard seeds, let it splutter.
  6. Add chana dal & urad dal, saute till they turn light golden brown.
  7. Add dried red chilies & curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
  8. Lower the heat, add turmeric powder, saute for a couple of seconds, don't burn it.
  9. Immediately, add lemon juice, combine well.
  10. Add the cooked rice & salt; combine well without any lumps, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  11. Add lemon zest, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  12. Garnish with cilantro.
  13. Serve lemon rice with pickle or any of your favorite veggie side dishes.




Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...