Chitrana (Lemon Rice)
If you love citrus flavours and peanuts, this recipe is for you. A staple rice side-dish in Karnataka, Lemon Rice is nutty and fresh. Best served with vegetable palya, one of our chutneys (we recommend mint!) and some fried fish.
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 with side dishes.
- 1½ cups (280g) rice
- Salt, to taste
- 3-5 tbsp vegetable oil
- A sprig of curry leaves
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp toor dal (split pigeon lentil)
- 1 tsp urad dal (split black gram lentil)
- 1/4 cup (50g) whole peanuts
- 2 medium-sized red onions, sliced
- 3 small green chillies, sliced lengthwise
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- A handful of coconut flakes (you can use dried coconut flakes, or fresh grated coconut)
- 2 large lemons
- Coriander leaves, for garnish
This quick and easy recipe is a great way to revive leftover rice – just skip to the method. You can use any split dal although we have suggested two of our favourites to use.
Wash the rice in 4 to 5 changes of water and drain. Boil a litre of water in a large pot and add the rice to the boiling water. Add salt, cover the pot and cook on low simmer for about 20 minutes, giving it a gentle stir every 5 minutes.
In 20 minutes the rice should be cooked through. Turn off the heat and drain any excess water. Set aside.
In a small ‘tadka’ (a small pan capable of withstanding high heat and ideally not non-stick), heat the oil. Test if it is hot enough by throwing a few mustard seeds into the oil – when they crackle and splutter, it is hot enough.
Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and the lentils and stir. In a few seconds, add the peanuts, onion, and chillies. Cook on low heat for a few minutes to caramelize the onion.
Now add the turmeric, coconut and lemon juice. Cool for a few minutes, and then add it to the pot of cooked rice. Mix well, add salt to taste, and let it rest a bit before serving.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with raita or sambar and chutney.