Lemon and Coconut Rice with Sambhar

Being from western India, I've never quite experimented with south-Indian cooking a lot, but my husband being one of the true south-indian food fans, I had no choice but to jump right in! And I have to say I loved this!! Dosas and Idlis is something everyone finds interesting, but I was new to the wide variety of rice dishes that my friends kept cooking. So after trying stuff like Puliyogare, Tomato Rice, Curd Rice and Tamarind Rice, next in line was the famous Lemon Rice. I was intrigued by the subtle taste of this dish, and how the flavors of lemon and spices gave a nice touch to the simple art of making rice. I made some modifications to the traditional recipe and decided to add coconut to this, which made it taste even better. We had the Lemon-Coconut Rice with the not-so-traditional sambhar. I'm not sure if this is a widely accepted pair or not, but I can tell you it had us licking our fingers and the plates!!


For the Rice
4 cups long-grain basmati rice
a fistful of peanuts
a fistful of chana dal (raw, soaked in water for at least 5-6 hours)
6-7 curry leaves
2 dry red chillies
7-8 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
3-4 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4-5 green chillies - finely chopped
1/2 cup coriander - finely chopped
3-4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp jeera
a pinch of asafoetida
salt - to taste

For the Sambhar
5-6 cups tuver dal - pressure cooked
water - to give desired consistency
4 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp mustard seeds
spices - red chilly powder, turmeric, salt, garam masala - to taste
4-5 tbsp sambhar masala (you can get this in Indian stores)
1/2 cup onions - chopped
1/2 cup other vegetables of your choice - boiled (optional, you can use potatoes, peas, etc)
3 tbsp oil

Make the rice as you would in a rice cooker or pressure cooker. Add a tbsp of ghee to it while cooking. In a wok, add 3 tbsp ghee, then add the jeera, mustard, green chillies, dry red chillies, soaked chana dal and asafoetida. When seeds start spluttering, add the peanuts and saute them till they get roasted. Now add the cooked rice to it. Add salt and sugar amd mix well. Next add the turmeric powder and half of the lemon juice. Gently mix everything so the rice get evenly coated by the masala. Keep adding more lemon juice till you get the tangy flavor in your rice that you are comfortable with. It should not be too sour, but the flavor of lemon had to be highlighted. Finally add the chopped coriander and the shredded coconut. Leave some of the rest for garnish. Let it cook on medium flame for 8-10 mins, not more.

For the sambhar, pressure cook the Tuver dal as you would for any normal dal. Now take some oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and the onions and saute them till lightly golden. Then mix in the tamarind paste and the sambhar masala and let it cook with some water till it becomes thick and oil starts to separate. Next add the boiled vegetables of your choice, and the cooked dal. Mix everything together. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and garam masala according to your taste. Add enough water to make it like a curry, but not too liquid. Sambhar is supposed to be a little thick. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped coriander if you want.

Serve the hot Lemon and Coconut Rice with the Chatpata Sambhar and enjoy a delicious meal with a tangy twist which is sure to arouse all your taste buds!!

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Rina said...

Interesting rice recipe Mansi. Thx.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean! I loved your recipe, and the additions of lemon, peanuts and coconut to rice would have made it taste awesome!! loved your little thali too:)

Jane said...

simple and sweet...what more could one ask for! we americans eat a lot of rice, so its nice to see that its easy to add some spicy and unique flavor to our food too, which can get kind of bland at times! thanks for sharing:)


Nabeela said...

Torture....pure torture. That's what the pictures are doing to me ;)
I sometimes pair sambar with non traditional dishes too...it doesn't matter as long as the food police doesn't come to know about it!

Siri said...

Lemon and Coconut... nice combo mani.. sure it must be fingering licking.. will add coconut next time I make lemon rice..:DD

musical said...

Lovely combo! i don't how traditional it is, but we used to eat this combo regularly in the hostel mess :-D. Chitranna and sambar would get together in our platters with ease (even though sambar was actually meant for plain rice!) :).


Lakshmi said...

Hi Mansi..Adding coconut enhances the taste of lemon rice and I love to add some freshly grated coconut in my lemon rice. I bet you had a lovely time having that rice with sambhar. Nice combo.

Mansi Desai said...

I know guys! didn't anticipate that it would taste so good together:) but we really had a swell time relishing it! I'm totally hooked to lemon rice now!

Suganya said...

I will have 2 plates, please.

Asha said...

Mansi, we do add fresh coconut gratings to Chitranna, tastes great.Looks great there!:)
Sambhar never has Garam masala though and it's usually eaten with plain rice, although I bet it tastes great with Chitranna too!:)
Great thali.

Kribha said...

Hmm..that's intresting. I make lemon rice and coconut rice seperately. It never occured to me to combine the two of 'em. Got to try it soon.

A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said...

nice platter, Mansi..and thanks for that written up on green tea..really appreciate it!

Sirisha Kilambi said...

Mansi....I can almost smell the good taste here....I agree its a hit :-)) Now u made my mouth water...wanna have some :-))

Padma said...

I love the taste of coconut rice n with sambhar is a rare combination, I prefer having with some kurma :)

Ann said...

This looks like something my family would really like. I will be trying it soon! Thanks!

Windy said...

Mmm... When I have lemon rice, I would have it in an Indian restaurant. I like it but never knew that is from southern India. The picture looks nice.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I am intrigued not just by the recipe, but by the fact that you mentioned it was from Southern India vs.Western Inda (which I assume is the origin of most of your recipes). I'm clueless on the regional differences in cuisine. They don't differentiate much in most of the restaurants in my area, so I really know very little. You should do a primer sometime on regional differences!