Easy South Indian Food

What many people abroad do not realise is how diverse India is, not just in terms of geography, language, traditions but also food. Indian restaurants abroad sometimes mix and match various cuisines to come up with their menu. 

Most basic spices to purchase: Mustard seeds (brown), Turmeric powder, curry leaves. 

Most South Indian meals are incomplete without some form of rice; Rice is processed into dough to make tasty treats like Idlis (steamed rice cakes), Dosas (crispy pancakes) and Vadas (savoury doughnuts).  But of course rice is also eaten boiled or steamed, with some spices and additions to give it a typical flavour. While travelling around Tamil Nadu, I found that many restaurants offer extremely affordable lunch meals involving various rice dishes served with Sambar (spicy lentil & vegetable gravy). But most can be eaten on their own as well. I would like to share a very simple yet tasty recipe of one of these popular dishes; lemon rice. 


Lemon Rice


3-4 cups Cooked rice – preferably prepared earlier and cooled in the fridge

1 tsp Mustard seeds (brown)

2 1/2 tbsp Peanuts – raw

1 tbsp Chana dal (split chickpeas; optional)

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 green chilli – finely sliced

1 tsp turmeric powder 

4-5 Curry leaves 

Lime juice

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Cooking oil


Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the Peanuts, mustard seeds and Chana dal. Fry until it crackles; then add the curry leaves. Fry until the peanuts are properly roasted; be careful not to burn them. Then add the ginger and green chilli. Stir fry for around 30 sec. Add the turmeric powder and mix properly in the oil. Then add the rice; mix well, season with Lime juice and salt; serve immediately. 


I really love this dish because it is so quick, it can be done within 5 minutes; and it is a wonderful way of using up left over rice. In fact it comes out the best when using yesterday’s left over rice straight from the fridge; the grains seperate nicely then and the dish comes out fluffy and light. The fresher and warmer the rice when you put it in, the more sticky and soggy the end result will be. 

Some other typically south indian rice dishes are: tomato rice, tamarind rice and curd rice. I particularly like the latter and will probably post that recipe soon as well.



  1. odzer Said:

    Nice the rice looks really cool. I will be honest all my experiments of cooking South Indian food at home end up in disaster. I always end up going to the Sagar Ratna’s of the world though I have found a cheaper version of that now which has equally if not better food. Thanks for the recipe I might just try it when I have some leftovers.

  2. hedonist666 Said:

    I have not tried many things, still on my list of things to try is Sambar. I have tried to make Dosa once with a store bought mix. That got ruined cos at the time I did not have a non stick pan and it was just a nightmare. Maybe I’ll try it again now that I am convinced my non stick pan doesn’t get even eggs stuck to it 😉
    But anyway, this recipe is absolutely and totally failsafe! just make sure your rice is dry and the grains separate nicely.
    BTW, quite surprisingly, we managed to find a very nice South indian restaurant here as well. The food almost tastes the same as the guys selling south indian stuff off of a rehri in sec 47. maybe slightly less hot though 😉

  3. […] was inspired by Hedonists post about Easy South Indian Food so I decided to make some Lemon rice according to the recipe that she had provided. Now this was […]

  4. […] purposes only. Although I can try with moong sometimes because the daal is meant to be consumed but hedonist tried it once when she was living in India and I think she had quite mixed results. Posted in food […]

  5. […] Easy South Indian Food – A prime example of my alleged “versatility”; of course people who regularly visit this blog know that roughly 50% of the time that I don’t spend nagging about something I’m dissatisfied with, I spend posting recipes on this blog. And not just regular recipes, but those which I tried and tested myself, multiple times, and mostly those that suit a working lifestyle (Quick and easy). […]

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