June 19, 2016

Masala Lemon Rice

How to make Masala Lemon Rice

              I usually make lemon rice, with green chillies & ginger (see recipe - Lemon-Lime Rice) which needs no grinding of ingredients. Once in a while, I like to make this masala lemon rice which has ground fenugreek seeds & red chillies in it for a different flavor. This lemon rice reminds me of the kovil prasadam aka temple offering, back home. So give this recipe a try and evoke nostalgic feelings of your temple visits. Sharing this recipe with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 33: June-Week 3.

          That makes me ponder - we hardly realize that the present moment is special, in that moment (during the actual experience). We yearn for it only after we lose it or go far away from the experience. And, when that happens, even a daily/ordinary happening becomes close to our heart and we long for that experience again. I'm beginning to understand the importance of all the spiritual quotes I've read about being fully present in the moment. 
  Live in the present. - Dalai Lama

Wherever you are, be all there.  - Jim Elliot

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. - Eckhart Tolle

The present moment is the only moment that's available to us, and it is the door to all available moments. - Thich Nhat Hanh


1 cup of uncooked rice
2 to 3 ripe lemons, squeezed
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp, Gingelly oil
1 Tbsp, chopped coriander leaves
2 Tbsp, roasted Cashewnuts or Peanuts

To roast & grind:

1 tsp, Gingelly oil
1/2 tsp, vendhayam/fenugreek seeds
3 to 4 dry red chillies

For tempering - 

2 tsp, Nalla ennai/Gingelly oil
1 tsp, Kadugu/Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp, Ulutham paruppu/Urad dal
1 Tbsp, Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal
a sprig of curry leaves
1 or 2, dry red chillies
1/4 tsp, Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp, Asafoetida powder/Hing

Stove top method:

  • Cook the rice with just enough water, so the grains are cooked yet stay separate, when fluffed with a fork. Mix a tbsp of oil to the rice & let it cool.
  • Cut, squeeze & strain the lemon juice of seeds. Set the juice aside.
  • To roast & grind: Heat a tsp of oil in a small pan, break up the dry chillies & add to the oil & roast for a minute on low-medium heat. Now add the fenugreek seeds & continue roasting for a few more seconds until they are crisp & golden brown. Turn off the heat & let it cool before powdering them finely.

  • For tempering: Heat 2 tsp of oil, add all the ingredients listed under tempering starting with mustard seeds,then the dals, when they are crisp & golden, add all other ingredients & fry until aromatic.

  • Finally, to the cooked rice, add the powdered masala, lemon juice, salt and the roasted tempering ingredients. Stir gently to mix all the flavors into the rice. Top with chopped coriander leaves, nuts & enjoy.


  • Lemon rice is best served after a couple of hours of preparation, so the flavors are well infused with the rice and the result is a better tasting lemon rice.
  • The rice has to be just cooked & grains separate. Take care to use lesser water than usual to achieve good results.
  • I prefer saving the lemon juice separately, & adding it to the rice towards the very end; so we can taste the rice & add more or less as needed.
  • If you find that grinding/powdering just the roasted chillies & fenugreek seeds is too hard; because of such a small quantity; then you can add a little bit of the roasted channa dal/urad dal to it for ease of powdering.

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