When life gives you lemons, what do you do? Make lemonade? Nah, I’d rather make nimbu ka achar (lemon pickle) or better, lemon rice! Some days call for a quick lunch, and thanks to the Instant Pot, we have many options for a perfectly cooked, quick lunch now. Lemon rice is a popular South Indian dish that you can find in many South Indian restaurants as a side dish with some sort of gravy or protein. Zesty, citrusy, bright, and delicious—a bowl of lemon rice can instantly brighten up any day. If you have leftover curry from last night’s dinner, you can liven it up for lunch with this bright yellow bowl of sunshine. So are you ready to spice up your menu with this Instant Pot lemon rice recipe?
Lemon rice is basically a South Indian dish. It is known by different names in South India, like Chitranna or Nimbehannu Chitranna in Kannada, and Nimmakaya Pulihora in Telugu. It is a common side dish that is popular on menus in South Indian restaurants around the world. This rice dish is tasty, aromatic, and full of citrusy flavor. However, you would be amazed to know that it is actually pretty simple to make, and you can make it super quick in your Instant Pot. For the citrus, you can either take lemons or limes, as per your personal preference. However, in India, traditionally, lemons are used in this recipe. So let us make this easy recipe in the Instant Pot, and there is a good chance that Instant Pot Lemon Rice Recipe will become your go-to, quick-fix rice recipe.
Ingredients For Instant Pot Lemon Rice
The main ingredient of this recipe is “Sona Masoori” rice, which contributes to the flavor and texture of the dish. Sona Masoori is a short-grain rice variety that is common in South Indian cuisine. It has a slightly sticky texture and a mild flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients.
Water cooks the rice and helps to soften and hydrate the rice grains. It also plays a role in the texture of the final dish.
Oil helps sauté the various ingredients like nuts, dals, and spices. It also adds flavor and richness to the dish.
Mustard seeds, red chili, green chilies, curry leaves, and turmeric lend their aromatic and flavorful qualities to this recipe. Mustard seeds add a nutty flavor and pop when heated. Red chili and green chilies add spice and heat. Curry leaves add a distinctive South Indian flavor, while turmeric adds a warm, earthy flavor and a yellow color.
Fresh lemon juice is the star ingredient of this recipe, as it adds a tangy and refreshing flavor. It balances the richness of the nuts and oil and adds a bright acidity to the dish.
Salt enhances the flavor of the dish and balances the other ingredients.
Step By Step Instructions For Instant Pot Lemon Rice
To start, put the Instant Pot in sauté mode and heat the oil in it.
After that, add rice and turmeric powder. Sauté the rice for a few seconds.
Subsequently, add salt and 1.5 cups water. Stir well.
Then, stir in the lemon juice.
Once done, press Cancel and close the lid with the vent in the sealing position.
Now, start the Instant Pot in Manual or Pressure Cook mode for 4 minutes at high pressure.
When the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.
After that, open the lid and gently fluff the rice.
Then, give it a gentle stir.
Finally, your Lemon Rice is now ready to be enjoyed!
Lemon Rice is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. To start, you can serve it hot as a main dish along with some papad and raita. Alternatively, serve it as a side dish with mince or grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables. You can also serve Lemon Rice with some pickle or chutney for a tangy flavor. To make it a complete meal, you can pair it with a simple salad or vegetable stir-fry. For a more indulgent meal, you can serve it with some fried or roasted chicken. To make it a more filling meal, you can serve it with some boiled or scrambled eggs on the side. Lastly, Lemon Rice makes a great option for lunch boxes or picnics as it is easy to pack and transport. With so many serving options, Lemon Rice is a crowd-pleasing dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
To store the Lemon Rice, follow these simple steps. First, let the rice cool down to room temperature. Once it has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container to keep it fresh. If you plan to store the rice in the refrigerator, it can last up to 3 days. Before reheating, add a few drops of water to the rice to prevent it from becoming too dry. If you plan to freeze the Lemon Rice, let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. You can store the rice in the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring occasionally. It’s important not to refreeze the rice afterwards. By following these simple steps, you can store the Lemon Rice and enjoy it for a few days.
Yes, Instant Pot is great for making rice because it can cook the rice quickly and evenly, resulting in perfectly cooked rice every time.
Rinsing rice before cooking in an Instant Pot helps to remove excess starch, which can make the rice sticky or clumpy. This also helps to prevent the rice from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Lemon rice powder typically contains spices such as coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, and red chili powder, as well as dehydrated lemon zest.
Lemon rice can be served as a side dish with a variety of curries or grilled meats, or enjoyed on its own as a light and flavorful meal.
Lemon rice may become bitter if too much lemon zest is added. This recipe just uses lemon juice, but I will often add some lemon zest just to amp up the lemon flavor. LEmon zest is very potent so be judicious if you do this. You want the lemon to be balanced with the other flavors to achieve a pleasant taste.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.