The Meal Planner

Warm, fragrant and utterly beautiful, this rice dish is a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal.

Recipe from Indian Food

Serves 4

1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
2 cups boiling water

Put kettle on to boil water.

In a frying pan over medium-low heat, heat the vegetable oil and mustard seeds for a couple minutes until the seeds are fragrant. Add the chili flakes and let them heat in the oil for 3o seconds. Add the rice, tumeric, lemon rind and salt. Stir the rice around and let the grains get coated in the spice mixture. Add the boiling water, let come up to to a nice simmer, add a lid and turn to low. Let the rice simmer covered for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 more minutes.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with cilantro.

Click here for printable version of Indian Lemon Rice


This is probably the prettiest rice I have ever eaten. The bright sunny yellow color with flecks of black and green are so appealing to the eye that they become more pleasing to the palate. I thought tumeric was more of a natural food coloring, rather than a spice that was actually spicy, but the tumeric combined with the red chili flakes gives this rice a slight bit of heat that's warm and fragrant.

When I went to the store to buy my groceries, I couldn't justify paying $1 for a fresh lemon when I had a bottle of lemon juice at home that I had paid about $2.50 for. I know lemon juice really isn't an exact substitute for lemon rind, since the rind has such pungent lemon oils in it, but I really didn't care. Instead of the lemon rind I used about 1 tsp of lemon juice and it wasn't enough. Our rice really wasn't "lemony" at all. If I use juice as a substitute for rind again, I will definitely up the amount of juice I use to a couple of tablespoons. It was still delicious though. And a perfect accompaniment to the Tandoori Chicken since the chicken doesn't have a sauce.

Need some delicious Indian recipes to serve with the rice? Try these:

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9 Responses
  1. Vanessa Says:

    Oh man, this was super good. We loved the subtle flavours. I think Nialle and I need to visit an Indian store soon because I couldn't find black mustard seeds and I think that would have really added to the taste. Regardless of the missing mustard, Nialle still raved about this dish.

  2. I'm not sure exactly what black mustard seeds "taste" like. I was able to find brown mustard seeds at Superstore so that's what I used. The dark flecks amongst the yellow grains was really pretty, but it didn't really have a distinctive flavor. Did you use lemon rind or juice? Was your rice lemony at all?

  3. Vanessa Says:

    I think black and brown mustard seeds are supposed to have more of a flavour kick...and add more depth to the dish. I just used regular mustard powder and couldn't taste any kind of mustard at all.

    I used a lemon rind for the rice and it had a very delicate and subtle lemony taste. Next time I'll probably increase the amount to two lemon rinds.

  4. Marisa Says:

    Oh yum! I've enjoyed this at our local restaurant but have never tried making it before.

    Now that I have a recipe I'll definitely be giving this a go.


  5. Cindy Says:

    I have lost count of the number of times I've prepared this recipe. It is so good that I have shared it with several friends who also love it.
    One little twist that I add is a mix of red, green, and orange peppers -thinly sliced- popped in during the last hour of cooking. I also reserve the butter and add it during the last half hour along with the yogourt (Btw, PC Greek yogourt is fabulous and zero fat.), a bit more (about 1/4 of original amount) garam masala, garlic, ginger, tandoori masala, curry powder, and 2 tsp. lemon juice to tweak the flavours.

    This is one amazing recipe!

  6. erin Says:

    The Lemon Rice Recipe that I got from an Indian friend does things a little differently. You make up the "goodies" ahead of time and then can mix it into rice anytime you want. It also includes lentils, peanuts, and cashews. I love the crunch that they add. Each time I make it, I make a big batch and then mix it into rice for several meals. I could share if you wanted.

    I made your Tikka Marsala last week and it was awesome!!

  7. Anshu Says:

    Very nice recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    See my innovation with lemon rice

  8. Anshu Says:

    Very nice recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    See my innovation with lemon rice

  9. Anonymous Says:

    nice idea.. thanks for sharing.