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Monday, 17 September 2018

Chitranna / Lemon Rice Recipe

Chitranna or lemon rice is a popular rice preparation in South India. It is a crunchy flavorful dish prepared my mixing steamed rice with a special seasoning of mustard seeds, lentils, curry leaves, peanuts and chilies and further flavored with lemon juice. It is considered an auspicious dish and made on festivals and offered as Naivedhyam to the deity. One can find lemon rice served in temples of South India as prasad. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow and the dish serves as a great  lunch box menu and travel food too. 

Chitranna or lemon rice is a delicious side dish and comfort food for many. It is one of the best ways to use left over cooked rice. Onion can also be added to the tempering if making it casually. But if it is to be offered as naivedhyam skip onion and make fresh rice to prepare chitranna. The dish is typically made in sesame oil but you may use other cooking oil like soybean or sunflower oil. I have added cashew nuts also along with peanuts.You may skip it or add if you wish. Serve the lemon rice plain or with curd or pickle of your choice and some fried papadam. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings : 3-4

  • 3/4  cup raw rice
  • 3-4 tablespoon peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon cashew nuts 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon skinned and split black gram ( dhuli urad dal)
  • 1/2 inch ginger root
  • 1 green chili chopped or slit (optional)
  • 2 red chilies broken
  • Pinch of asafoetida / hing
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon lemon juice as per taste
  • Salt to taste

  1. Rinse the rice in a bowl with clean water until it runs clear. Rinse and transfer  it to a pressure cooker with water (ratio of rice to water is 1: 2) , 1 teaspoon oil and salt to taste . Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Open the lid once all the pressure has been released . Fluff the rice with fork and remove it in a plate to cool down a bit. 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan and add cashew nuts to it. Fry the nuts on low flame until they become golden in color. Take care not to burn them. Remove and keep aside.

3. Now add peanuts in the oil and fry until you hear the cracking sound and the peanuts turn crunchy. Keep the flame medium so that the peanuts do not burn. Remove the fried peanuts and keep aside.

4. Now add remaining oil in the pan and add mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle add the black gram and fry for few seconds until it changes its color. Next tip in the curry leaves followed by green and red chili pieces. Stir fry for few seconds.

5. Now add 1 tablespoon of water to the tempering. The water evaporates very fast and this step helps in softening the fried lentil . Next add the asafoetida followed by turmeric powder . Mix well and put off the flame. Now add lemon juice and pour this seasoning over the steamed rice. Also add the fried peanuts and cashew nuts.

6. Mix the seasoning well with the rice and keep the rice covered for at least 30 minutes . This will allow the flavors of the seasonings to infuse inside the rice. Serve Chitranna as it is or with fried papadam and some pickle of your choice.

  Recipe Notes:
  • You may add chopped onion to the tempering if making the lemon rice casually. Skip it if making it as an offering to God.
  • Lemon rice can be made with left over rice or the rice can be cooked fresh to make it.
  • Fry the peanuts well as they add crunch and texture to the rice.
  • Skip adding green chili if making for kids.
  • Adding little water to the tempering is optional but it helps to soften the fried lentil so do not skip this step.
  • Adjust the quantity of lemon juice as per the sourness you wish to have in the rice.
  • Adding cashew nuts is optional.
Sending this lemon rice recipe to #162nd #FoodieMondayBlogHop With #LemonAffair as the theme for this week.


If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. 

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For more south Indian rice recipes, do check the following posts from my blog



  1. I love lemon rice! Your version looks super delicious! :)

  2. Give me a bowlful of this delicious and lovely colored rice and that's all I need for a meal. I just love it. Several times carried it as travel food during a train journey in India.

    1. Yes di..this is our preferred food for train journeys as well.

  3. Classics always shine Poonam. This is such a standard recipe in our household it just gets done and relished so often.

    1. Cannot agree more on this Seema. The recipe is so simple and easy to follow

  4. My daughter's favourite rice dish. Your looks so gorgeous. Loved adding fried cashew nuts. Please pass a bowl full. I would love to have it anytime. Next time I will follow your method. Awesome share.

    1. Thank you di. Cashew nuts takes this simple dish to yet aboanot level. Do give it a try di.

  5. Its so flavorfull Poonam, all time hit at my place when run out of time  ...Lovely share for theme dear !!!!

  6. Lemon rice is my go to dish when I am in a hurry and your version looks gorgeous.

  7. Love this quick and easy recipe. A Saviour for me when i am late from work.A regular affair at my place. Fab share Poonam.

  8. I will say yes to lemon rice anytime. Looks very inviting. Lovely share

  9. I simply love Chitranna and this looks beautifully delicious!