Chitrannam (Lemon Rice)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
*If you do not have day-old or leftover rice to use, cook your rice first so that it has ample time to cool down. *In this particular recipe, I would recommend having your ingredients measured and ready in advance due to the quick pace needed for steps 1-6. Have them right near your stove! *The chana dal can be purchased at the Indian food store already dried and roasted in a small plastic bag. *Serve with chicken curry, vegetable curry, yogurt, and/or pickle (aachaar). *This also makes a great lunch/brunch meal by itself or with an egg curry and a cup of yogurt.
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ⅓ cup cashews or peanuts or combination
  • 2-4 green Serrano or Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 stem curry leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dry roasted chana dal (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup) or limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, dissolved in the lemon juice
  • 3 cups cold or room temperature leftover cooked rice, preferably basmati
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet.
  2. Add a mustard seed to test the heat of the oil (it should pop).
  3. When the oil is ready, add all the mustard seed and cumin seed. Let sizzle for 30 seconds.
  4. Then add nuts, chilies, and curry leaves.
  5. Then add garlic cloves. This mixture will sizzle and pop; stir continuously and immediately lower heat to medium.
  6. Add the dals. Be careful not to burn the dal or garlic. This whole process should not take too long—about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat and add the turmeric. Stir well.
  8. Let this fried spice mixture cool down.
  9. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix the cold rice well with your hands or a wooden spoon. Warm to room temperature in the microwave if it’s too cold (i.e. 3-4 minutes)
  10. Add lemon juice mixture to the rice. Mix well.
  11. Add the spices/nuts mixture to the rice. Mix well. Season with additional salt as necessary.
  12. Serve at room temperature or warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-3 as a side dish
Recipe by Shef's Kitchen at