Lemon Rice -Variety Rice, Lunch Box Recipe

Lemon rice, a tangy, zesty mixed rice recipe. An easy to make lunch box dish, that can quickly tossed together during the morning rush. 

lemon rice

Lemon rice is a popular and more frequently made rice dish in South-Indian kitchen. It is also one of most common travel food for travel long distance train and bus journey. They usually pack mixed rice dishes like pulihora or lemon rice, as they stay good for a day or two.

Lemon rice is one of the easiest mixed rice recipe to make. It gets done in less than 10 minutes if you have some leftover rice. It is also a popular rice recipe made for pooja offerings.

How it is made?

You need nicely done rice, that is fluffy and separated. If the cooked rice is mushy, than lemon rice would resemble a mash. So, perfectly done rice is the main ingredient in the dish.

A tadka/tempering with oil, mustard seeds, hing/asafoetida, curry leaves and crunchy elements like chana dal, urad dal and peanuts are added to the tadka. Then the coloring element turmeric powder is added. This sizzling tadka added to the fluffed up rice along with salt and finished with fresh lemon juice and garnishes.

lemon mixed rice

Another method

Some might add the lemon juice to the tadka and let it boil a little and then add everything to the rice and mix. They say it is done so, people don’t catch a sore throat because of the lemon. My Amma follows the above method. But i learnt to make lemon rice this way from my aunt and like the freshness of lemon in the mixed rice.

More Mixed Rice Recipes

Lemon Rice | Variety Rice | Lunch box recipe

Lemon rice, a tangy, zesty mixed rice recipe. An easy to make lunch box dish, that can quickly tossed together during the morning rush. 
Prep Time5 mins
Adding tempering and mixin5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: A quick rice recipe, Easy to make rice dish, How to make lemon rice, How to make mixed rice, Lemon mixed rice, Lemon rice recipe


  • 2 cups Cooked rice Fresh or leftover
  • 2 nos Indian lemon juiced
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • fresh ginger for garnish optional


  • 1 tbsp oil any vegetable oil, i prefer Gingely oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds/kadugu
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 3-4 nos red chilies or use 2 nos green chilies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • tsp hing/asafoetida
  • 2 tsp peanuts or any nut of your choice, if allergic to nuts, omit this
  • a sprig of curry leaf


  • Spread the rice on a plate and fluff it with a fork. If using leftover rice, then i would suggest steam it a little in the Microwave or on the stove-top.
  • If you are planning to cook rice fresh, then rinse 1 cup of rice 3 or 4 times with water. Add 2 cups of fresh water, cook the rice on stove-top, once the rice is 90% done, strain the extra water completely and keep it covered for 10 minutes. If making in pressure cooker, cook for 3 whistles.
  • Heat oil in a pan, Splutter mustard seeds, throw in curry leaves, gram dal, urad dal, hing and red chilies
  • When dal changes color, add peanuts and turmeric powder. Saute for  30 secs for the nuts to roast.
  • Pour this sizzling tempering on the rice. Mix well.
  • Add lemon juice, mix well. Adjust Salt. Garnish with coriander and ginger.
  • If serving immediately, serve it warm with a side of crisp, preferably appalam. Or pack it in lunch box with your favorite dry subzi.
Variety rice

I prefer to serve this variety rice with a side of appalam/poppadam. You can also pair it with a spicy dry subzi.

Dry subzi to pair

If you have tried this recipe and like it, give it a star rating or let me know in the comments below. You could also share it with me on Instagram using #icampinmmykitchen and tagging me @priyasrinivasan
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