Chef's Recipes

Lemon rice

Australian Gourmet Traveller easy Indian recipe for lemon rice by Anil Ashokan

By Anil Ashokan
  • Serves 4
  • 5 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
Lemon rice (shown with stirfried beans and pepper chicken)
Lemon rice (shown with stirfried beans and pepper chicken)

“Several renditions of this dish from the southern state of Tamil Nadu exist. I’ve chosen a simple one but it’s worth experimenting with your favourite flavour. While lemon rice is usually prepared for a special occasion as part of a spread, it also works particularly well with pepper chicken chettinad.” This recipe is from the book by Anil Ashokan (Allen & Unwin, $39.95 pbk).

Elumikkai sadam (shown with stirfried beans and pepper chicken).


  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 5 mm piece of ginger
  • 2 dried red chillies (see note)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split yellow lentils
  • 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 1½ lemons, juice only


  • 1
    Heat rice and place in a bowl. Peel ginger and chop very finely. Cut chillies in half.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a pan over high heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chilli and lentils. Add curry leaves, turmeric, chopped ginger and peanuts. When the lentils and peanuts are golden brown, take pan off the heat and add lemon juice. Pour mixture over the rice, season to taste with sea salt and toss well until the rice is coated with the mix and turns an even yellow colour. Serve with pepper chicken chettinad.


Some prefer to add chopped fresh chillies to the oil instead of the dried chillies. The dried chillies can be removed before serving if desired.

  • Author: Anil Ashokan