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Lemon Rice
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A great Indian side dish



  • 1 cup (225 ml) basmati rice
  • 2-1/2 cups (600 ml) water
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) sugar
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 1-1/2 tbsp (20 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) yellow or brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) cumin seeds
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) slivered almonds, chopped, toasting optional
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) julienned carrots (approx. 1/4" x 1 1/2")
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp (1 ml) turmeric
  • Pre-cook rice in water.
  • Sprinkle with salt, sugar, lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
  • Toss gently; set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy saute pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (Have spatter screen ready!)
  • Add the mustard and cumin seeds to the hot oil, cover with spatter screen and cook until the seeds stop popping, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the nuts and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
  • Add the onions, carrots, red pepper and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the rice, and mix thoroughly until each grain is stained yellow from the turmeric.
  • Cover and cook until very hot, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer to serving plate.
  • Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
  • Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
A fresh green serrano or jalapeno chili, seeded, stemmed and chopped, may be substitute for the red pepper flakes.

This recipe is an adaptation of one by Laxmi Hiremath (from The Dance of Spices) for those who are allergic to peanuts. In her recipe chopped peanuts and peanut oil are used. She also calls for the fresh chili but we didn't have one the first time we made this dish and the red pepper flakes gave it a kick. Also the carrots are an addition a la our friend Chef Jagu and add lovely color as does the fresh cilantro and turmeric!

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