September 6, 2009

Elumichampazham Chaadham (Lemon Rice)

I was just looking at my blog recipe archives, and it struck me that I have been neglecting certain categories by not posting as much in them. One of these categories is "Pasta And Rice". While the omission has been unintentional, it seems ironic to me that we eat rice everyday and yet I haven't posted too many rice recipes despite an abundance of "raw material"!

As a step towards remedying this situation, I present to you "Elumicham Pazham Chaadham". In Tamil (a south Indian language and my mother tongue), "elumicham pazham" is lemon and "chaadham" is rice. This just about describes this dish, which is a slightly spicy rice preparation which has a delightful tang from the lemon and a nutty flavour from the lentils and peanuts in it.

A traditional preparation from my community, this rice preparation (like most other similar preparations), is very easy to put together yet very satisfying and filling. Lemon rice, along with other flavoured and seasoned varieties of rice dishes, are traditionally made for Aadi Perukku which is Tamil festival which celebrates a good monsoon and the promise of a bountiful planting and harvest year.

However these rice preparations are also everyday fare in most homes, probably because they're so good and easy to make. While such rice preparations are made with freshly cooked rice for festive occasions, they're also a wonderful way to use up left over rice on other days.

One thing I would like to point out is that many recipes for south Indian rice preparations seem to use Basmati rice. Basmati is a variety of rice grown in the north of India and so traditionally not used in south Indian cooking. So these recipes are best if made with other varieties like Kolam or similar short grain white rice.
Also, these recipes do not work well with boiled rice (which is popular in Kerala), though some varieties of steamed rice are fine. I have made this with steamed Sona Masuri.


4 cups cooked rice (at room temperature)

1 1/2 tbsp oil

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp split black gram lentils (urad dal)

2 tbsp Bengal gram lentils (chana dal)

1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (with or without skin)

2 green chillies (chopped)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

a big pinch asafetida powder

salt to taste

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves


Heat the oil in a big pan (big enough to take the 4 cups of rice) and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, turn down the heat to medium, add the lentils and sauté till they're golden in colour.

Now add the peanuts and sauté for about a minute or so. Add the green chillies. Stir a couple of times and add the turmeric powder. Again stir a couple of times, add the asafetida powder and the curry leaves and stir well. Turn off the heat.

Now add the rice and salt. Gently mix. Add the lemon juice and continue gently mixing everything together so that the rice is uniformly yellow in colour.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with pappads or plain potato crisps and yogurt or a raitha (vegetables in spiced yogurt), if preferred.
This is a great one dish meal. This recipe serves 3 to 4 depending on whether it is served as a one dish meal or as part of a larger meal.

I am sending this to Barbara of Winos and Foodies, who is celebrating "LiveSTRONG With A Taste Of Yellow" in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise awareness about cancer issues worldwide.

Do join me at Barbara's blog, if you are interested, where the deadline for this event is September 13th, 2009.


Happy cook said...

I always thought Malayalam was you mother tounge.
I made for the frist time lemon rice few months back and loved it, this looks great.

Priti said...

All time fav...looks very nice

Chitra said...

I luv lemon rice a lot..Very easy to make..Pass that bowl here :)

Priya Narasimhan said...

nice one you said this is one of the easiest and deilicous rice recipe..

Ivy said...

The rice sounds delicious. I love anything with lemon in it.

Lien said...

what a wonderful recipe... must be delicious!

Anne said...

Nice! Brings back memories of friends who made this for me. Can't wait to make it again!

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simran said...

I know...I tend to ignore everyday cooking too when blogging. Reminds me to check my blog archives :)

jayasri said...

Oh!, it's my all time favourite, if i don't at least once a week i will go bonkers i think, love it, you can send it along to me !!!

Pavani said...

Love lemon rice anytime of the day. It is one of my go-to dishes when I'm dog-tired of making anything else. Lovely pic.

Indhu said...

I love lemon rice... I think that was the first recipe I posted on my blog.. yours looks yummy :)

Miri said...

I have just discovered over the past 3-4 years that I am definitely wired to crave rice after a week or so of not eating it - just a decade back I would have sworn it didn't matter whether I ate rice or rotis...sigh

I love sona masuri and can't bring myself to use basmati for these "variety rices" :)

Hari Chandana said...

Nice dish.. Yummyy

sra said...

I haven't yet tried lemon rice with basmati but even in South Indian restaurants in five star hotels, I think all the rice they use is basmati. Once I came across a recipe book published by a basmati producer, and they had recipes for idli and ootappam with basmati!!!

srikars kitchen said...

looks really delicious.. nice entry..

Parita said...

A Classic !!

Nags said...

hehe, the way you wrote chaadam made me laugh :D

Purva Desai said...

looks perfect and tempting

Cynthia said...

I've really got to stop fooling around and get down to making some lemon rice.

Uj said...

Looks delicious.. This is one my fav mixed rice varieties..

Barbara said...

Your Lemon Rice looks wonderful. Thank you Aparna.

Pavithra said...

Thats my fav one Aparna. Do check my blog for the event, Hope to see ur Entry dear.

Srivalli said...

wow..lemon rice never looked so appealing!

Cham said...

I can even have for breakfast lemon rice, looks yum!

Raaga said...

Yes... sona masuri/ponni is the best for this :) Can't stand lemon rice/ puliyodarai with basmati rice... many restaurants here also serve it that way :(

Aparna said...

I can see that a lot of us are lemon rice lovers going by the comments here. :)
If any of you haven't made this before, please do so. Its worth it.

HC, no Tamil is my mother tongue, I though I'm fluent with Malayalam.

Simran, checking one's archives is a good thing to do as I have discovered. :)

Miri, I've discovered its something that happens as one grows older. One goes back to craving whatever food one grew up with. :)

Sra and raaga, I know many restaurants abroad use Basmati for these, but it is sad when Indian restaurants do this.

Really Sra? Idli and oothappam with Basmati!

Nags, in our version of Tamil we say "chaadham" instead of "Saadham" as said in classic Tamil. :)

You do that, Cynthia. ;-)

Pavithra, I certainly will if I can find the time.

So can I, Cham. And for lunch and dinner too! ;)