Instant Pot Lemon Rice – Easy, tangy and delicious South Indian rice dish with basmati rice, peanuts, spices and lemon juice! Makes a quick vegan meal!
What is South Indian lemon rice?
South Indian style lemon rice is a super simple and traditional rice dish made with simple spices and lemon. It is nothing but cooked rice seasoned with roasted spices, nuts and lentils and flavored with lemon.
Lemon rice is also known as Nimmakaya Pulihora in Telugu, Elumichai Sadam in Tamil and Chintranna in Kannada.
I love adding veggies, lentils and greens to the classic South Indian Lemon to make it more nutritious and wholesome. I have already posted a couple of lemon rice recipes on the blog. Check them below.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Super easy and quick to make
Even a novice cook can make this dish
It is a naturally vegan dish
Perfect for picnics, gatherings, parties and lunch boxes.
I doesn’t need any side dish
Rice – Traditionally we use sona masuri rice to make lemon rice but I have used basmati rice in this instant pot version. Make sure you wash rice 3-4 times or until water turns clear.
Lemon – This is the key ingredient. I would recommend using freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Adjust the quantity as per your taste.
Peanuts – Do not skip peanuts. They add a wonderful crunch and taste to the dish. If you are using pre-roasted peanuts, skip the roasting peanuts step and add them at the end.
You can also add some cashews along with peanuts to make it rich.
Mustard Seeds – These tiny mustard seeds will give the authentic flavor. You can get them from any Indian store or online.
Chana Dal – Also known as bengal gram or split chickpeas. You can get them from any Indian store or online.
Urad Dal – Urad dal is black gram, they will add a nice crunch and protein.
Ginger – Use freshly chopped or grated ginger for the best flavor. It is totally optional though.
Asafoetida / Hing – All you need is a just pinch of asafoetida to get the authentic flavor. You can easily find it in Indian grocery stores. Skip this if you don’t have it.
Curry Leaves – You can use fresh, dried or frozen curry leaves in this recipe.
Green Chillies – The quantity of green chillies will depends on the variety of chillies you are using. Use less or more according to that. You could also use any type of hot peppers here.
Dried Red Chillies – Skip them if you don’t have them handy.
Turmeric Powder – Don’t skip the turmeric powder. You only need a little bit of turmeric, that gives a beautiful color.
Oil – Use whatever you have in hand. I have used sunflower oil in this recipe.
It can be stored in the refrigerator for a day.
I haven’t tried freezing lemon rice yet. You may try freezing it.
It doesn’t need any side dish and can be served warm or cold.
If you want, it can be served with plain yogurt (plant-based yogurt if you are vegan), raita, curries, lentils, stews or anything you have.
How to make it gluten-free?
Simply skip asafoetida / hing or use gulten-free hing to make it guten free.
Step by step instructions:
Rinse basmati rice with plenty of water 3-4 times or until water turns clear.
Drain and set aside.
Press the SAUTE button.
Add oil to the inner pot of your instant pot.
Add peanuts and roast until they become brown.
Take them out of the pot and set aside.
In the same oil, add mustard seeds, chana dal and urad dal.
Let them fry until they are light golden brown color.
Then add curry leaves, finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies, red chillies and hing.
Give it a good stir.
Add rinsed and drained rice, water, salt and turmeric powder and mix until well combined.
Cover the instant pot with lid and turn the valve to sealing position.
Cancel Saute mode and press Manual / Pressure cook button. Adjust the time to 5 minutes.
Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes and quick release the remaining pressure manually.
Once the metal pin drops, open the lid.
Add roasted peanuts and lemon juice.
Gently mix everything and serve!
You might love these recipes:
How to make instant pot lemon rice recipe video below:
Instant Pot Lemon Rice Recipe
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 3 Tablespoons Oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Peanuts
- 1 Tablespoon Urad Dal
- 1 Tablespoon Chana Dal
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 Green Chilli
- 2-3 Dried Red Chilli
- 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Chopped Ginger
- 1.5 Cups Water
- ½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- A Pinch of Hing
- Salt to taste
- Wash basmati rice for couple of times until water turns clear. Drain water completely and set aside until use.
- Press the SAUTE button and add oil to the inner pot of your instant pot.
- Add peanuts and roast until they become brown. Remove the roasted peanuts from oil and keep them aside.
- In the same oil, add mustard seeds, chana dal and urad dal.
- Let them fry until they are light golden brown color. Don't burn them.
- Then add curry leaves, finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies, red chillies and hing. Give it a stir.
- Add rinsed and drained rice, water, salt and turmeric powder and mix until well combined.
- Cover the instant pot with lid and turn the valve to sealing position.
- Cancel Saute mode and press Manual / Pressure cook button. Adjust the time to 5 minutes.
- Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes and quick release the remaining pressure manually.
- Once the metal pin drops, open the lid.
- Add roasted peanuts and lemon juice.
- Gently mix everything and serve!
Nutrition values are estimates only.