Chitranna recipe is a traditional South Indian dish that is popularly served during festivals and special occasions. This flavorful rice dish is made by mixing cooked rice with a fragrant tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, peanuts, spices and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Chitranna is popularly known as Lemon Rice.
My first introduction with this exotic rice dish happened when I was staying in Chennai college hostel. In our hostel, menus were fixed according to the days of the week and every Thursday night we had two rice options Lemon rice and coconut rice. I used to prefer lemon rice over coconut rice.
Lemon Rice: A Quick and Easy Lunchbox Recipe
Chitranna is one of the easiest recipes I have ever tried. It is a great one pot meal which saves you when you are running short of time. When you get up late and need to attend a meeting at first half, lemon rice is one of the quickest recipes to save you, especially if you already have cooked rice in your refrigerator. In fact, it's a great meal option for a lazy weekend.
Rice: You can use any type of rice for this recipe. Never use overcooked rice, otherwise the lemon rice will turn mushy. I prefer using long grain aromatic basmati rice for this dish.
Cooking Oil: You can use any vegetable oil for making lemon rice. I use sunflower oil however, you can use ground nut oil, sesame oil, etc.
Nuts: Commonly peanuts are used in this recipe. However, you can also add cashew nuts for the same.
Lemon: Always use fresh, juicy lemons for this recipe. Good quality lemon enhances the flavor and aroma of the rice.
Tempering Ingredients: Tempering with fresh curry leaves, mustard seeds, urad dal, split gram dal, dry red chilli, etc. makes the rice flavorful.
How to make Chitranna
To prepare this at home, simply follow the step-by-step Chitranna recipe.
Fry the peanuts in oil until the raw smell goes away and the color turns light brown. Set them aside.
In a pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves, dry red chili, mustard seeds, urad dal, and split gram dal. When they begin to crackle, add the chopped green chili and sliced onion. Cook until the onions have become transparent.
Next add turmeric powder and mix well. Now add the cooked rice and stir well. Following that, add fried peanuts and salt to taste.
Turn off the heat and later squeeze lemon juice and mix well. Lemon rice is now ready to eat. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.
Usually, lemon rice does not need any accompaniment. However, you can serve it with papad (appalam), plain curd, raita, pickle and chutney. Some people also love to have with some khara boondi, vada or other fried items.
Initially, I tried lemon rice with store-bought spice pack but did not like the taste. Then I slowly started experimenting and finally I could fine-tune it according to our taste buds. Since then, lemon rice is in our meal menu and now our daughter likes it too. So, I would recommend you make the lemon rice from scratch. This is a fail-proof recipe, you can follow this recipe to make delicious lemon rice.
Yes. You can definitely use leftover rice to prepare lemon rice. It is a very good recipe to use up the leftover rice. Whenever we have guests at home, and we end up cooking extra rice. Lemon rice is the best way to use up your cooked rice.
Interestingly, you can cook rice on previous day which can make your job easier for next morning. Cook the rice on previous day, allow it to cool, keep it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Next morning you can just follow the remaining steps to cook the lemon rice.
You can cook lemon rice with any varieties of raw rice however, I prefer to cook it with long grained basmati rice. Either you can cook rice and prepare it fresh or use leftover rice to give it a makeover.
Sometimes when I run out of peanuts I use cashew nuts. Addition of any nuts gives nutty flavor to the lemon rice and makes it more exotic.
More Rice Recipes
Lemon Rice | Chitranna Recipe
- 2 cups Cooked/Leftover Rice
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 medium Onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
- ½ teaspoon Urad Dal
- ½ teaspoon Split Gram Dal
- ⅔ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 8-10 nos Curry Leaves
- 1 or 2 no Dry Red Chilli
- 1 teaspoon Green Chilli, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon Refined Oil
- Fry the peanuts in oil till the raw smell disappears and turn light brown in color. Keep them aside.
- Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves, dry red chilli, mustard seeds, urad dal and split gram dal.
- Once they start crackling, add chopped green chilli and sliced onion. Cook until the onions turned translucent.
- Next add turmeric powder and mix well.
- Now add cooked rice and mix them well.
- Next goes fried peanuts and salt as per taste.
- Turn off the gas and add lemon juice and give a good stir. Now lemon rice is ready to serve.
- You can also add chopped coriander leaves before serving it.
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