Citrus Rice

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.

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Nartham pazham (ripe citron fruit)

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:

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Lunch with citrus rice

Now the recipe for a delectable flavorful lemon rice:

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Citrus rice using lemon & citron fruit juices

Citrus rice recipe:

Time taken: 30 min

Serves : 4


  1. Lemon (elumicham pazham) – 1 No.
  2. Ripe Citron (pazhutha naarthai) – 1 No.
  3. Boiled Rice (puzhungal arisi) – 1 cup (200 g)
  4. Sesame oil (nallennai) – 1 tbsp (3 tsp)
  5. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  6. Green chillies – 3 Nos.
  7. Cashewnuts – 15 Nos.
  8. Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
  9. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Salt – 1 tsp

Cooking Method:

  • 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.
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Starch-free rice
  • 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.
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Side dish ideas for lemon rice:

Citrus rice goes well with masal vadai, medhu vadai, bajji, tiffin sambar, pottukadalai thuvaiyal, any pickle of your choice, etc.

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  1. Looks super yummy! I will make this soon. My family enjoys rice and this is a great opportunity to eat a different type of rice than we eat for dinner every night.

    1. Thanks.
      It is lemon & citron, citron is very much like lemon but slightly bitter, but has wonderful flavour.

      1. oh …OK …I will look for that! ..and I will definitely try this … I eat a lot of rice! Thank you!

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