Citrus fruits are beneficial to boost our immunity, energy and also our mood and they aid in detoxification & digestion, this was the main reason that lemon rice was earlier prepared & packed for short travels. So even today we can pack this traditional rice dish for children’s lunch box as it helps to keep them active & energetic all through the day.
Recently I bought unripe citrons (naarthai) for making pickle but found them ripe after a week or more. I was wondering what to do with them as their pulp turned sweet and peel became tender. I just prepared a lemon juice by mixing its juice with lemon juice and it was more delicious & flavorful than the simple lemon juice. So I have also prepared citrus rice by using lemon & ripe citron as these citruses complement each other; sweet citron juice & sour lemon juice elevate this humble rice dish to a whole new level. I have served citrus rice along with curd rice as shown below:
Now the recipe for a delectable flavorful lemon rice:
Citrus rice recipe:
Time taken: 30 min
Serves : 4
- Lemon (elumicham pazham) – 1 No.
- Ripe Citron (pazhutha naarthai) – 1 No.
- Boiled Rice (puzhungal arisi) – 1 cup (200 g)
- Sesame oil (nallennai) – 1 tbsp (3 tsp)
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Green chillies – 3 Nos.
- Cashewnuts – 15 Nos.
- Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- First we need to cook rice by removing the starch so that the rice turns soft fluffy & non-sticky (you may refer here for this method of cooking rice). If you prefer the pressure cooking method it is better to add water in the ratio of 1:2 & simmer for 8 min after bringing to high pressure.
- Extract juice from both citruses, strain through a sieve and keep aside.
- Heat a large flat pan with oil, add mustards, when spluttered add curry leaves, chopped green chillies & cashews and fry them in low medium flame till cashews turn golden.
- Add turmeric & fry in low flame for 5 sec.
- Add cooked rice and mix well in such a way that each grain is coated with turmeric.
- Add salt & citruses juice and gently mix with wooden spatula.
- Citrus rice is ready to serve.
Tips & Tweaks:
- Frying turmeric powder in oil adds the beautiful yellow color to this rice dish, so we need to add it before adding cooked rice into the pan.
- I have added cashew nuts in place of Bengal gram as some, esp. children, may not like the addition of Bengal gram.
- We need to extract juice from both the citruses just a while before adding to rice, if we keep the juices for a long time it may begin to turn bitter.
- While adding citrus juice, we can remove the pan from heat.
- You can also try with other citruses like sweet lime, orange, or use them in combination.