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Lemon Rice (Chitranna)

I learnt the lemon rice from my friend from Andhra, Swati, when I was in college. The best part in her lemon rice was the crispy urad daal. It tasted great. When I went to Bangalore after my college, I found Chitranna was a very famous dish there. My friend Poornima prepared different kinds of chitranna, with beet root, with capsicum etc. But my favorite was her simple lemon rice. Unlike Swati, she used ground nuts and onion in her lemon rice.

3/4 cup rice
1/2 cup onion(optional)
3-4 green chillies
1 and 1/2 tbl spns lemon juice
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1 tea spn urad daal
5-6 curry leaves
1 tbl spn ground nuts(optional)
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn oil

Lemon juice quantity can be increased or decreased according to individual taste.

Cook rice in pressure cooker. Rice should not become too soft, the rice grains should be seperate after cooking, otherwise it becomes paste when mixed, So use a bit less water compared to normal, instead the rice from previous day can also be used.
Heat oil and add ground nuts, mustard seeds and urad daal. When they start popping, add green chillies, curry leaves. Fry for a minute. Add onion, turmeric, fry till the onions turn slightly brownish.
Add the rice, salt and mix well. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Mix well.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 15min

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{ 34 comments… add one }

  • Preeti June 2, 2006, 9:57 am

    Hey Shilpa,

    Have you ever tried a dish called “hulli avalakki” thats similar to puliogre but of finer texture? It’s a kannadiga dish and so YUMMMM. Could you please share the recipe if you have it?

    Shilpa: Preeti,As of now, I don’t know what is ‘hulli avalakki’, I will try my best to find it out :).

    • Akhila March 24, 2012, 9:04 am

      I think you may have already found this recipe by now but here’s what my mom had taught me for Hulli Avalakki (in case you still need it):

      4Cups thick Avalakki/Beaten Rice
      3tbsp Grated Jaggery
      2Cups thin Tamarind Juice
      4tsp Sarina Pudi/Rasam Powder
      4tsp Sesame Seeds
      3tbsp Dry Coconut, Grated
      Salt to Taste

      For the Seasoning:
      4tbsp Oil
      2tsp Mustard Seeds
      4tsp Groundnuts
      1/2tsp Turmeric Powder
      Few Curry Leaves
      A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida

      Grind Avalakki to a coarse powder and remove to a mixing bowl. To this add
      Tamarind Juice, Jaggery, Rasam Powder and Salt and mix well using hands.
      Let it stand for 30 to 40 minutes. Dry roast Sesame Seeds and powder it and keep aside.
      Now heat Oil in a pan and and add Groundnuts and Mustard Seeds. When the Mustard Seeds starts to splutter add Turmeric Powder, Asfoetida and Curry leaves. Add this to the Avalakki mixture along with Coconut and Sesame Seeds powder. Mix well and serve.

      Enjoy! :)

  • sudha vinodh June 2, 2006, 12:24 pm

    shilpa, chitranna looks so yummy.. mom usually adds coconut in addition the ingrediants you have specified. Reminds me offmy days in bangalore..Thanks for sharing the recipe..

    Shilpa: Thanks Sudha

  • appletpt June 2, 2006, 12:32 pm

    hi shilpa,
    i am new to the blog and i have adoubt about fruit cake i hope u can clarify it.

    Shilpa: Can you please specify what is the doubt? I would love to clarify it. Thanks.  

  • Ashwini June 2, 2006, 1:36 pm

    Shilpa like you I love lemon rice too. I worked in Bangalore for some time and I swear I could have lived on all the types of rice that they have :-)
    You said you couldnt come up with anything for JFI? Thank your husband for that creative suggestion. Loved the idea of paankh with strawberries. And the cake looks divine too. Good one

    Shilpa : Thanks Ashwini. Having missed last JFI for mangoes, I was already feeling terrible. Your entry gave an idea to my hubby. Thanks to both of you :).

  • vineela June 2, 2006, 2:31 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    yummy lemon rice.Its one of my favourite rice dish.

    Shilpa : Thanks Vineela

  • mamta June 2, 2006, 10:25 pm

    hi shilpa,
    easy and the most heavenly dish.thank you.can u please post a recipe for tomato baath.i love it.

    Shilpa: Sure Mamta, I will post it soon.

  • Monica August 10, 2006, 7:39 am

    ah, my husband loves this :) I am going to try this soon. Thanks !

  • Glynis August 27, 2006, 1:16 am

    Dear Shilpa,

    I accidently picked on this site & like it. It’s already added to my favourite folder and i do browse often.
    I need some recipes for two year old, can you send me some? I will really appreciate it. thanks

  • Glynis August 27, 2006, 1:16 am

    the recipe looks real yum will cook for my son this

  • Varsha September 19, 2006, 9:26 am

    Never made it with ground nuts…must try…

  • Aparna January 13, 2007, 12:40 pm

    Hey Shilpa,

    Your site is cool !! I made lemon rice for the first time.. and it turned out great !

  • sisira April 23, 2007, 11:56 am

    hii shilpa,
    you are giving good recipies with photographs,
    can you tell me a rice item with capsicum or else any capsicum curry?

  • Shilpa April 23, 2007, 12:10 pm

    Sisira, there are many capsicum dishes on this site.Please click here or search “capsicum” in searchbox on the top.

  • anjali December 24, 2007, 6:16 pm

    My!!! what a delicious recipe!! i also added cut up dried figs along with walnuts and cashews…ummmmm they taste yummy! thanks a ton for this wonderful recipe!!my best friend doesn’t eat eggs…so this cake was a treat for her! we all simply loved it!!!

  • Minutha February 20, 2008, 3:42 am

    hi shilpa…..
    i came across ur site when i was searching in google in regards to how to make soft chapati….. since then this site has been my favorite site… i have also subscribed… i do gets mails…. the most liked part was your lunch box…….its a big headache for office goers…. wat for dabba…..
    thank you so much for sharing your simple n quick receipes…..will surely start trying……

  • Helen April 3, 2008, 8:37 am


    Very nice. I’v gone through your receipes, really attracting.
    In lemon rice recipe also fry a piece of ginger. It tastes realy good.


  • Richa May 17, 2008, 8:33 pm

    Hi Shilpa- Your cooking tips and recepies are simply great. Tried this Lemon Rice as well as the tamarind rice as per this. It tasted great. But I have a problem. Whenever i do this, the udad dal tastes too hard and crunchy while chewing it. Its there anything wrong that I am doing? Pleas advice.

  • Anshu July 10, 2008, 10:39 am

    hi shilpa
    saw your blog today n tried out your lemon rice..they turned out really good..my father loved them..thanks for sharing..

  • Sheetal November 18, 2008, 3:33 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    this web site is in my bookmarks.
    I have not tried any of the receipies yet but looking forward to do so.
    I think I will start from the lunch box menues. They are the most useful things for a working mother like me.
    Keep posting.

  • Lakshmi December 29, 2008, 2:06 am

    Shilpa ,

    Which side dish goes best with lemon rice ?

  • Lakshmi December 31, 2008, 12:50 am

    Hi Shilpa ,
    I tried out this recipe. Came out superb and was so easy. Thanks a ton !! . By the way can you post tomato rice recipe please. i tried out tomato rice yesterday and it came out very ok ok . waiting for your tomato rice recipe .

  • Ajit Sahoo January 5, 2009, 1:08 am

    I like this very much. today i will try in my home…………

  • merlin January 5, 2009, 2:40 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    Good recipe, Try this variation, Add Shreds of Ginger and slit green chillies in the lemon juice. The rest of recipe is same.
    It would taste better.


  • lakshmi April 13, 2009, 12:33 am

    please tell me the recipe of TAMATO RICE please i wud love to make it

  • pallavi August 22, 2009, 10:37 am

    try with grilled chicken…goes well

  • Shaili May 23, 2011, 6:40 am

    The recipe looks very interesting and i shall be trying it soon!! pls keep posting more such stuff! thanks

  • Anitha October 10, 2011, 11:45 am

    Hey Shilpa,

    I usually hop around numerous blogs to try new recipes But ur blog is a clear winner. I can be assured that anything i try from here, hits teh bulls eye :) Thanks for making our lives easier Shilpa !!!!

  • Anitha October 10, 2011, 11:49 am

    Hey Shilpa,

    I usually hop around different blogs to try out new recipes. But Urs is a clear winner. I can be assured that anything i try from here, hits the bulls eye :). I tried lemon rice and it turned out to be awesome as always! Thanks for making our lives easier Shilpa :)

  • MarcP September 12, 2012, 7:33 am

    I don’t know what urad daal is unless it’s the same as red lentils and I’ve never seen curry leaves in any market in the US. Too bad because this sound really good.

    • Shilpa September 12, 2012, 10:15 am

      Urad dal is split black lentils. Both urad dal and curry leaves are easily available in any Indian stores in US.

  • Sarita April 7, 2013, 11:56 pm

    This was a fantastic side for our fish dinner. Thank you for the recipe! :)

  • mURALY April 17, 2013, 5:54 am

    dEAR sILP,


    • Shilpa April 18, 2013, 9:36 am

      I have two types of obattu on the site – this and this.

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