Lemon Rice is one of the staples of South Indian homes and of Temples for their Prasadam. It is a special rice indeed, with the tang of lemon/lime juice and the crunch of peanuts and lentils fried off in the tadka. You can make lemon rice with freshly cooked rice or with left over rice. It keeps well at room temperature and also makes a great packed lunch.
Lemon Rice | Elumichampazha Saadham
1 cup cooked rice
8 or 10 skinned, roasted peanuts
1 – 2 lemon or large lime, squeezed
0.25 tspn turmeric
salt to taste
2 Tblspn ghee
1 tspn black mustard seeds
0.5 tspn black gram dal (split urad dal)
1 tspn channa dal
0.25 tspn fenugreek
1 branch curry leaves (approx 10 leaves)
2 green chillies, chopped
1 Indian dried red chilli
Take the warm cooked rice and spread it out on a plate to cool. When it is cool, place it in a large bowl.
Using a heavy pan or kadhai, roast the peanuts in a little ghee until nicely browned on both sides. Remove from the peanuts and keep aside.
In the same pan, heat the remaining ghee. Add the mustard seeds and as they pop, add the channa dal, urad dal, dried red chilli, fenugreek and asafoetida. When the dal darkens add the chopped green chilli and turmeric powder. Finally add the curry leaves and allow to splutter for a moment.
Remove the tadka from the heat and pour over the rice with the salt and peanuts, and mix the rice gently.
Add the lemon or lime juice and stir gently again until all is mixed.
The fenugreek can be ground to a powder if so desired, and added to the rice with the tadka.
Cashews may be added or used instead of peanuts.
The amount of channa and urad dals can be increased (up to 1 Tblspn each), as can the amount of ghee. Indian sesame oil can also be used in place of the ghee.
Sere with pappadum or coconut chutney, yogurt pachadi, chutney or kosambari. Some even like it with masala vada or pakora. It is a light dish that can be eaten for breakfast, a picnic or tiffin.
To spark up Lemon Rice, dry roast and grind to a powder – 2 green cardamom pods, 2 tspn fennel seeds, 2 cloves, 1 cm cinnamon stick, and 2 tspn poppy seeds. Add to the rice when adding the lemon juice. (Alternatively, use 05 tspn of chutney podi/powder.)