Lemon Rice or Chitranna is a bowl of very delicious and flavorful rice with the right amount of crunchiness, spiciness, and tanginess. Lemon rice is a comfort food in many homes. If you have leftover rice, then this dish can be prepared and served in less than 10 minutes.
About the recipe
Lemon rice, also known as chitranna , nimmakaya pulihora, chitrannam, elumichai sadam is a popular rice recipe from South India where the tempering made using herbs, spices, and nuts along with lemon juice is tossed to the steam rice, making it spicy, tangy, and aromatic with a nutty flavor and highly addictive. This tempering is called oggarane or gojju in Kannada.
You really don't need any spoon or cup measurements. You can vary all the ingredients as per your taste. Yes, I just love preparing rice items mainly because of the flexibility it gives to prepare as per one's preference unlike any other dish.
If you are a bachelor or beginner, this is one of the best recipes you can try.
Overall the crunchiness of lentils (chana dal and urad dal), cashew nuts, and peanuts, the spiciness of green and red chilies, and flavor of asafoetida, ginger, and lemon make this rice simply irresistible.
Any variety of rice can be used to prepare this dish. We generally prepare this whenever we have left over rice at home. This dish can be prepared for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Since it travels well, it is also good for lunch box or picnic. Chitranna can be served alone, but also tastes great with roasted potatoes or any namkeens 🙂
Stovetop at home and firewood in temples is the most preferred way to make chitranna. But I have also tried making one pot lemon rice in Instant pot. The taste diifers from the traditional method but if you are looking for one pot meal, then do it in your instant pot.
Navratri No Onion No Garlic Rice Series
(all satvik, no onion, no garlic rice recipes)
Three more recipes and my rice series will come to an end 🙂 WOW! I cannot believe I was able to achieve this one. Thanks to my lil one and hubby, who are supporting me in every way to make this series a successful one, and also a special thanks to my readers who are loving this series 🙂
If you ask me which is my favorite rice recipe from all the cuisines, My answer would definitely be Lemon Rice.
There are variations to this rice dish. But temple-style chitranna (lemon rice) is by far my favorite, and today I am going to share the recipe for temple style chitranna. This is very popular in Mangalore, Udupi, Karkala region of Karnataka.
Some other variations are adding onions, pepper, raw mango(mavinkayi chitranna), or coconut.
1 cup Rice
2 tablespoon Coconut Oil / Canola Oil / Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Urad dal
1 tablespoon Chana Dal
½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
A pinch Asafoetida / Hing
¼ cup Peanuts
10 to 15 Cashews
1 Dry red chili broken
1 Green chile chopped
1 tablespoon Ginger chopped
10 Curry leaves or approx 1 sprig
¼ cup Coriander leaves / Cilantro chopped
2 tablespoon Lemon juice adjust as per taste
Salt to taste
How to make Best and Easy Lemon rice or Chitranna?
To make this dish perfect, you will have to be generous with the tempering (especially peanuts and curry leaves) and cilantro (coriander leaves). You can replace peanuts with cashew nuts or use a combination of both.
Any oil of your preference can be used in making this dish, but I would say use good coconut oil for a classic traditional taste and saute the turmeric powder in oil for a few seconds. Add lemon juice only at the end when mixing the rice with tempering. Else your rice may taste bitter. If you follow these simple steps, then your dish is going to be a super hit 🙂 Detailed steps in the recipe card.
Rice - Make sure the rice is non-sticky, not mushy. If you have overcooked the rice by mistake, then allow it to cool completely and break the lumps, and then add it to the tempering. If you have leftover day-old rice, use 3 to 4 cups for the recipe.
Any rice that you use for your everyday meal, i.e., basmati, jasmine rice, long grain rice, anything can be used to make this lemon rice.
Herbs, Spices - I generally add all the spices available in my pantry. This is only going to make your rice more flavorful. But you can skip ginger, red chilies, urad dal, and chana dal if it is not available.
Asafoetida or Hing can be skipped if you want a gluten-free version.
Looking for more lemon or lime rice variations? Then check these out
Eerulli Chitranna - In Karnataka, even onion is sauteed with tempering and added. This gives the rice a unique taste.
Lemon rice tastes good on its own. But it can also be served with namkeens like papad, sandige, yogurt salad, pickle, and chutneys.
This is a very good recipe for your lunchbox or tiffin box, as it tastes great even at room temperature.
Make ahead & Storing.
Lemon rice tastes good the day it is made. In case you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for a day but not more. Reheat in the microwave for 15 seconds, or sprinkle some water and heat on the stovetop for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you add onions to the rice, I would not recommend storing it. Finish it the same day.
Instant Pot Lemon Rice
Lemon rice or chitranna can also be made in your instant pot. I have added details to the recipe card. First, make the tempering using the herbs and spices given in the ingredient list and then add the raw rice and cook together.
The taste is good but not the same as the traditional one. If you are looking for a quick one-pot dish, then you can try it this way.
You can also check here the making of lemon rice or chitranna at home
Follow me on Instagram and tag me with #cookwithkushi so that I get a chance to see all the recipes you make and give them a ♥.
Lemon Rice | Chitranna Recipe | How to make Lemon Rice
- 2 Pans
- 1 cup Rice
- 2 tablespoon Coconut Oil / Canola Oil / Vegetable Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Urad dal
- 1 tablespoon Chana Dal
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- A pinch Asafoetida / Hing
- ¼ cup Peanuts
- 10 to 15 Cashews
- 1 Dry red chili broken
- 1 Green chile chopped
- 1 tablespoon Ginger chopped
- 10 Curry leaves or approx 1 sprig
- ¼ cup Coriander leaves / Cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice adjust as per taste
- Salt to taste
- Cook the rice using any method that you are comfortable with. Add salt while cooking the rice.1 cup Rice
- Once the rice is cooked and comes to room temperature, use a fork to separate the grains. Keep this aside.
- If you have left over rice then this recipe is ready in less than 10 minutes. For a change, I have used Basmati rice for this recipe. You may use any rice of your choice.
- Heat oil in pan or kadai on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low setting, and mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal, chana dal, hing, turmeric powder, and saute till the rawness of turmeric goes off and dal turns light-golden in color.2 tablespoon Coconut Oil / Canola Oil / Vegetable Oil, 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds, 1 teaspoon Urad dal, 1 tablespoon Chana Dal, ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, A pinch Asafoetida / Hing
- Add peanuts, cashews, red chile, green chile, ginger, and curry leaves and saute till peanuts and cashews are roasted.¼ cup Peanuts, 10 to 15 Cashews, 1 Dry red chili broken, 1 Green chile chopped, 1 tablespoon Ginger chopped, 10 Curry leaves or approx 1 sprig
- To this tempering add rice, coriander leaves, lemon juice, salt if required and toss till combined.¼ cup Coriander leaves / Cilantro chopped, 2 tablespoon Lemon juice, Salt to taste
- Lemon Rice is now ready. Serve and enjoy
Instant Pot Lemon Rice
- Wash and drain the rice and keep it aside.
- Press SAUTE button on your instant pot. Once hot, add oil to inner pot of your instant pot.
- Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, hing , turmeric powder and saute till rawness goes off.
- Add peanuts, cashews, red chile, green chile, ginger, and curry leaves and saute till peanuts and cashews are roasted. At this point you can either transfer this tempering aside and toss it later or continue cooking along with it.
- Pour 1 ¼ cup of water, salt to taste and deglaze by scrubbing the bottom of pot with spatula. Press CANCEL button.
- Add washed and drained rice, mix well.
- Close the lid with vent to Sealing Position. Press the pressure cook button and set the time for 5 minutes.
- Once done. let the pressure release naturally for 7 to 8 minutes. Then release any remaining pressure manually.
- Open the lid of your IP and remove inner pot and set aside.
- When tempertaure comes down a bit, add lemon juice, cilantro and mix until combined. Serve and enjoy.
- Vary all the ingredients as per your preference.
- The ratio of rice to water varies depending on brand of rice used.
- You may use asafoetida powder(hing) or asafoetida dissolved in water. If adding in dissolved form, add it at the end of tempering.
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