Lemon rice / nimmakaya pulihara | TummyKhush

Every recipe has a story to tell and this recipe is the story of Bangalore street food. Craving for something different usually meant eating out with hubby on road-side bandis or vehicles that usually stocked on everything from idlis and dosas to noodles and manchurian. While hubby used to gorge on idlis and dosas, I never used to miss the rice that was sold there. Lemon bath, masala bath you name it. For me, till then, lemon rice just meant the traditional lemon rice made during festivals that was tempered with basic dals, jeera and red chillies. But this was a different take with onions and garlic thrown in. Its a real comfort food on lazy, rainy or cold days when you crave something spicy yet soothing. Even better when you have left over rice in the fridge. Here is my take on the recipe I adore


Ingredients needed:

Cooked rice : 1 cup
Lemon juice of 1 lemon

For the tempering:

Onion : 1 medium size chopped fine
Green chillies : Slit and halved as per taste (I normally use 2 to 3)
Oil: for frying and tempering/popu/tadka
Peanuts/cashewnuts – a few
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal –1/2 tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu –1/2  tsp
Mustard seeds/ avalu : 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies : 1-2 (broken)
Hing/asafoetida : a pinch
Green chillies : 1-2 finely chopped
Turmeric : a pinch
Coriander leaves : a few sprigs chopped


Add salt to cooked rice mix well and set aside.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon and set aside. You can vary the quantity of lemon juice according to taste.

Heat oil in a pan. Fry the peanuts or cashewnuts for a couple of minutes till they change colour slightly and are fried. Remove from oil and set aside.

In the same oil, add chana dal and udad dal. Fry till they change colour slightly. Now add the mustard seeds, jeera and dry chillies. Add hing, turmeric powder, green chillies and fry. Take care not to burn the tempering.
Now add the chopped onions and fry on low heat till they turn pink and translucent. We do not want to brown the onions.

Turn off the heat. Add the chopped coriander and lemon juice. Allow to sizzle while mixing thoroughly.

Pour this mixture on to cooked rice along with the fried peanuts/cashewnuts.
Mix thoroughly. Check seasoning. You can adjust the quantities of lemon juice and salt.
Serve on its own or with a pickle of your choice.
This dish is very good for dinner when you want to eat light or as breakfast.


A little ghee can be added to the oil before tempering to enhance the taste of the rice.

Be liberal with the oil as it is needed to bring all the ingredients together and bring out the taste of the recipe.



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