Rice as a one-pot meal is common in South India and there are a number of variations on this theme. The dishes vary from light lemon rice to heavier Bisi bele bhat and Vanghi bhat. The concept is to have a filling and nutritious meal, especially for the farmers who carry little packets of food from home to the fields.
This is a light dish for those hot summer months. Lemon is quite the misnomer for this dish as it is always made with lime juice. Lightly tinged with tart lime juice, the dish has a variety of textures from the peanuts and lentils.
This is one of the first cookbooks that I bought about 30 years ago, I was craving good South Indian cuisine when I moved to Philadelphia for my degree. We have cooked through most of the recipes in this cookbook, each one delicious, it helped us remember our lives in India while we assimilated in the US. This cookbook is always the first to come out when we crave this cuisine, and of course, led me to get every other cookbook written by Chandra Padmanabhan.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 cup long-grain rice, preferably basmati
2-3 green chillies, slit in half longitudinally
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
Juice of 1 1/2-2 limes
Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
For the temper:
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black gram (urad) dal
1 teaspoon Bengal gram (chana) dal
1-2 dried red chillies
A pinch of asafoetida powder
12-15 curry leaves
Cook the rice in a rice cooker, Instapot or on the stove. Drain if needed and fluff. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pot and add the mustard seeds. fry the seeds for 20 seconds till they begin to pop. Add the cumin, black gram, Bengal gram, dried red chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves and give a quick stir.
Add the green chillies and fry for 1 minute. Add the ginger paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the peanuts, turmeric and salt and give a quick stir. Add the rice and gently fold the rice into the mix coating it with the turmeric. Toss gently so as not to break up all the grains and the mixture is even.
Serve warm or at room temperature.