Books by Richard Sayce

Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1
Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 2 Front Cover
Curry Compendium Cookbook
Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice Recipe: 

You may have noticed lemon rice in the ‘rice & sundries’ section of Indian restaurant and takeaway menus. It’s yet another hidden gem which is sadly disregarded. My version uses both lemon juice and the essential lemon rind, along with some unconventional spices which I think complement the zesty flavour of this fried rice accompaniment.

This recipe will make enough for one or two people when served alongside a main dish. If you wish to make extra it’s best to repeat the recipe each time instead of scaling up. It’s quick to cook and the results are well worth it!

Scroll down for the video.

You can also find this Lemon Rice recipe in my cookbooks CURRY COMPENDIUM and INDIAN RESTAURANT CURRY AT HOME VOLUME 2. All my books are available in both physical and kindle formats.


  • 200g Cooked Basmati Rice (left to dry/cool so not moist)
  • 2 TBSP (30ml) Oil or Ghee
  • ½ tsp Black Cumin Seeds (see Notes)
  • ½ tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Hing aka Asafoetida (optional, see Notes)
  • 60g Onion, roughly chopped (about half of a medium one)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced
  • 1-2 tsp finely chopped fresh Green Chilli (optional)
  • ¼-½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Mix Powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Tandoori Masala
  • ½ tsp Kalonji Seeds (also known as Nigella)
  • 1-2 tsp Lemon Rind (finely grated or chopped)
  • 2 TBSP fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1-2 tsp Butter Ghee to finish (optional)


Lemon Rice


  1. Cook the basmati rice according to the instructions on the packet or your preferred method. Make sure any excess water is drained, then run a fork through it gently a few times and leave to dry off a bit and cool. Don’t leave rice at room temperature for more than an hour or so. If in doubt place the rice container in ice cold water or refrigerate after cooking.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a wok or frying pan on high heat.
  3. Add the black cumin seeds, the black mustard seeds, and the optional hing.
  4. When the mustard seeds start to pop add the chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves.
  5. Stir fry for 30-45 seconds or until the onion browns at the edges. The sweetness of the partly caramelised onion will complement the sharpness of the lemon.


  1. Now add the salt, mix powder, turmeric, tandoori masala, kalonji seeds, and the optional green chilli.
  2. Continue frying for 20-30 seconds stirring diligently to prevent the spices from sticking and burning.
  3. Then add the lemon rind, the cooked basmati rice, and the finely chopped coriander leaves.
  4. Mix together well and continue stir frying for a minimum of 90 seconds until the rice is piping hot.
  5. Add the fresh lemon juice shortly before the end of cooking, and if you wish, top with some butter ghee for extra richness.
  6. Serve, sprinkling a little bit more fresh coriander on top.


  • All spoon measurements are level (1 tsp = 5ml, 1 TBSP = 15ml).
  • Never leave cooked rice at room temperature for more than an hour or two. If not using immediately, always cool and refrigerate, or keep hot.
  • Black cumin seeds (Hindi: kala zeera) are slightly smaller and thinner than the common brown variety, and impart a smoky, earthy flavour when cooked. They can be bought from most South Asian food shops, but if you can’t get hold of some then 1 tsp of ‘regular’ cumin may be used instead.
  • The use of hing is optional (it may be hard to come by in some places). It adds a taste like onion and garlic and works well in this dish.
  • Check the amount of salt in your cooked basmati rice. If it was cooked using salt (especially with the absorption method), then adjust the amount of salt when frying.


  • This recipe differs slightly from the one shown in the accompanying YouTube Video in that the coriander stalks have been removed and the lemon rind increased from 1 tsp to 1-2 tsp.
  • Enjoy this Lemon Rice recipe, and please visit the Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen YouTube Channel for lots of Indian recipes.
Watch the Video


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