Nutty Lemon Rice is an easy fried rice recipe that is vegan and gluten-free. And I love this because this is kids friendly as well. So no worry about the lunch box of my kid. Meal prep friendly.
This is a super simple dish for your lunch or dinner and also super easy to make. Make on stovetop pan/ pot or in an instant pot, this won't take much of your time. You can use your leftover rice for this recipe to give them a nice twist of flavours. I also make arancini with my leftover rice.
Though this rice is a way similar to the popular cilantro lime rice, this is a little different with a different flavor and taste.
Nutty Lemon Rice - Quick Vegan Dinner
Nutty, because this rice contains lots of crunchy bits of nuts. Peanuts are the main nuts we use here. However, you can also add other nuts like cashews, almonds for a rich enhanced flavour. This rice has a dominant tangy flavour of lemon makes the dish superb that kids also enjoy.
You can make this on the stovetop with fresh rice or leftover rice. Also, you can make them quickly using your instant pot. This is one of the simplest recipes with the perfect blend of flavours.
Ingredients for lemon rice
Basmati Rice - Long grains are the best (at least I prefer them the most for my rice recipes). However, you can also make them with Jasmin rice.
Onion - sliced onion
Ginger - around 1-inch ginger crushed. You can also add garlic to the rice. However, I love it with ginger only.
Lemon - lemon juice + lemon zest. Can substitute lemon with lime too.
Nuts - Handful of peanuts to add crunchy bite to the fried rice. However, you can also add some cashews and almonds for extra bite and richness to the rice
Spices - Cumin seeds + mustard seeds, Turmeric powder, salt, cayenne pepper or paprika (substitute for green chillies), asafoetida or thing. Turmeric powder is essential for the lemon rice. Asefoetida brings on a nice flavor and prohibits flatulence that may be caused by the nuts.
Herbs & chillies - Curry leaves, coriander leaves, green chillies like serrano peppers or jalapeno or any of the chilli you can take.
However, you can also skip the green chillies if you can't resist the heat or substitute that with a pinch of cayenne or paprika or chilli powder.
Cooking rice perfectly is important too
If you are making this from freshly cooked rice, then 2 things you need to do to get better non-sticky rice. 1- I never overcook the rice for such a fried rice recipe. It should be just done (cook al dente) and immediately strain out from hot rice water using a colander. 2 - Rinse them in a colander under tap water. This stops over-cooking of rice in its own heat.
There is another reason behind this. While cooking rice, the water gets all starch from it. So when we remove water after it's cooked, the excess starch is washed off. At the same time, if we cook rice in a pressure cooker, all starch will again be absorbed by the rice itself during the process.
So if you are making this in an instant pot, there is no opportunity to get the starchy water out. So I prefer to remove the water once my rice is cooked, though instant pot takes lesser time for the whole preparation.
How to make Nutty Lemon Rice?
Cook rice till it's just cooked. Pass it through a colander and then rinse it under tap water. This will stop rice being sticky and overcooked.
Heat 4 tbsp oil in a pan. Fry peanuts till a little brownish. Don't over fry else it will taste as burnt. Remove from oil once done. Similarly, fry cashew nuts as well. Note- Don't add peanuts and cashews together, since the cashews are cooked quicker than the peanuts.
In the same pan add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 10-15 curry leaves, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp green chillies. Saute for a second.
Then add sliced onions and saute till translucent. Now add in fried nuts, turmeric powder, chilli powder (optional). Now add rice to the pan and mix gently. Add salt, lemon juice and lots of freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Lemon rice is ready. Serve hot with curd or raita or any curry or lentils.
Instant Pot Lemon Rice
In instant pot proportion of rice to water is 1: 1. For every one part of rice, you need to add 1 part of water.
To make the lemon rice in the instant pot, start the SAUTE mode. Add oil when it shows HOT. Then saute or fry the peanuts for 30 seconds till they are done. Remove the peanuts from the instant pot to a clean plate.
Then to the same oil add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and let it splutter for 10 secs. Then add the sliced onions along with minced/ crushed ginger, curry leaves, zest of lemon, and green chillies. Skip green chilies if you don't like spicy food.
Saute for 1 - 2 minutes till onion looks translucent. Then add asafoetida, turmeric powder, paprika (if not using green chili), and stir once to mix them well. Then add the rinsed rice and add water followed by salt and lemon juice.
Now CANCEL the SAUTE mode. Turn the lid and place the pressure valve to SEALING. And start the PRESSURECOOK mode. Set time for 5 minutes.
It will take 4-5 min to build the pressure inside the instant pot. After that the timer will start. Once timer beeps and cooking is done, let it be on NPR (natural pressure release) for 10 minutes. Quick release rest pressure.
Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Now add finely chopped cilantro leaves and the fried nuts/ peanuts.
Nutty Lemon Rice
Nutty Lemon Rice
- 4 cup cooked rice (1.5 cups uncooked rice)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 12 - 15 curry leaves
- 3 green chillies cut into slits
- 1 tsp ginger finely minced
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt or as per taste
- 1/4 cup peanuts (+ cashew nuts + almonds)
- 2 lemons or 4 tbsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon (optional but adds a strong flavor)
- fistful of coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida
- Make rice first. Strain with help of a colander then wash it once with regular water to stop excess cooking.
- Heat oil in a pan. Shallow fry peanuts and cashew nuts. Remove once they turn light brown.
- Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them crackle first.
- Add minced ginger, green chilies, zest of lemon.
- In next 10 seconds, add sliced onions and curry leaves. Saute till translucent.
- Then add turmeric powder, paprika (substitute for green chilli) and mix well.
- Now add in cooked rice, fried nuts, and salt followed by lemon juice.
- Give it a gentle nice stir.
- Cover with a lid and keep on low heat for about a minute.
- Turn off heat and add a fistful of freshly chopped coriander leaves.
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