South India Lemon Rice

South India Lemon Rice
Lately, I’ve been really into the Indian cuisine. It shouldn’t be a surprise due to my fondness for spicy food, right? Rather than just giving you bold spiciness, this authentic south India lemon rice is full of other flavors, such as the unforgettable aroma from the curry leaves. If you are gluten-free and eat lots of rice dishes, this lemon rice recipe will take your plain rice dish to the next level, making it much more fun and enjoyable.

south India lemon riceI mentioned before that I am in a local vegetarian cooking group. Our group meets once every month and shares cooking tips and recipes with each other. I am grateful for this fantastic group with many enthusiastic home cooks from different countries. At our last meeting, a couple of our Indian friends shared their favorite recipes that they often serve their family and friends during festival seasons. One of the recipes was this South India Lemon Rice.

south India lemon rice

I was totally amazed with and loved  this south India lemon rice. I used to think that Chinese cooking required the use of many different spices, until I started reading the ingredients of Indian recipes. I have to mention that one of the Indian spices, hing, is a mixture of asafetida powder and wheat flour. You can find the pure spice version (without wheat) on amazon . Unfortunately, my local Indian store doesn’t have the pure spice version so I left it out of this recipe to make it gluten-free.

south India lemon rice

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of spices in this recipe. You may already have most of them. They are fairly easy to find at an Indian grocery store. It’s really worth the effort. All of the spices will make the lemon rice far more than just delicious.

south India lemon rice

This south India lemon rice is tangy, spicy, and filled with bold aroma from the curry leaves and other spices. It’s the judicious knowledge of the use of spices that makes this dish such an exciting and flavorful experience.

South India Lemon Rice
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Tools Measuring cups and spoons, knife and cutting board, 12” sauté pan and spatula
Course: Gluten-free), Side Dish (Vegan
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: gluten-free meals, lemon rice, south Indian, vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Joyce @Light Orange Bean
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon minced ginger
  • ½ tablespoon chana dal
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 12 pieces raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw peanuts
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • cups cooked rice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice from one large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Heat a sauté pan over high heat until smoky hot. Add oil to the pan and wait for 15 seconds until the oil is hot. Reduce the heat to medium and add ginger, chana dal, red chili pepper, mustard seeds, cashew nuts, and peanuts. Sauté until the chana dal turn to light brown. Stir in curry leaves and turmeric powder.
  2. Over medium heat, add cooked rice, salt, and lemon juice. Stir until well combined.
  3. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve warm.


South India Lemon Rice


    • Joyce says:

      Thanks Maria 🙂 I learned this recipe from one of my Indian friends who is from south India. I was so surprised how tasty it was the first time she served it.

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