Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lemon/Lime Rice ( Lemony Rice With Indian Spices)

Lemon or Lime Rice is a classic lemon colored rice dish and one would not think of a picnic without it! It is part of the category of foods called "chitrannam" - beautiful or "pretty as a picture" food. For my delicious vegetable-laden version of lime rice, click here. Lemon/lime rice is traditionally served along with Yogurt Rice and accompanied by fried yogurt cured chilies, papadams, Indian pickles, etc.

As children a picnic was always a mysterious and joyful event to us as we never knew when it would happen. We welcomed them joyously as we knew it would entail a trip to some wonderful place in the huge truck with lots of other families. We would find our Amma furiously preparing lots of traditional picnic goodies before dawn for our potluck meal. We left early in the morning to arrive at the chosen scenic place in time for a morning romp and then the long awaited meal. The ladies had their chance to have their leisurely walk and conversation after everyone was fed and all the things got put away.

Picnics always remind me of Appa, my father, as he always planned the picnics and those were some of the most fun times I had with him besides making "half-boiled veggies" and vanilla pudding.

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Rice
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 to 2 Ripe Limes or Lemons

Thalippu/Tadka:

2 Tbsp Ghee or Oil
4 Tbsp raw Cashew pieces
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 Tbsp Chana Dal
2 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
2 Dry Red Chilies
1 sprig Fresh Curry Leaves

Method:

Wash and drain the rice in a fine sieve.

Bring two cups of water to a boil; stir in rice and salt and bring to a boil again.

Stir well, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes undisturbed.

Heat the ghee/oil in a wide skillet or kadai (Indian Wok) until a slight haze forms over the ghee.

Add cashew pieces and stir; add the dals, red chilies, and the mustard seeds and cook until the dals turn pinkish and the mustard seeds start popping.

Sprinkle the asafoetida and add the curry leaves and cover quickly until the crackling subsides.

Stir in the turmeric into the spices in the skillet and turn off the heat.

Add the rice into the skillet along with juice from one lime/lemon and fold in to mix well.

Taste for seasonings; add more lime/lemon juice and salt according to your taste. The rice should be a little on the lemony side at first; the flavors mellow as the rice absorbs all the flavors.

Serve warm or at room temperature with papadams (crisp lentil wafers) or other accompaniments as desired.

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