Nimmakaya pulihora (lemon rice)

Lemon rice or chitrannam or Nimmakaya Pulihora"(telugu) in Telugu is a staple and simple south Indian food. In my previous lemon rice I showed the simple, Chennai style and our home style but this one is prepared in my grandma’s house by my mami, which is simple but added one more ingredient to make it more special that is roasted chana (putanae or dalia in hindi). I still remember whenever we plan for picnic or journey by train or car , my grandmother and my mami, they prepare so perfectly with the colour and taste, who is in anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) prepare this lovely lemon rice, to go with it they prepare stuffed green chilli with coconut fry which I have shown you in my recipe. It is best served with pickle or potato crisps. It is so simple and easy to make. My mother used to prepare for my lunch box also with some fried potato poriyal, which is my favourite food during lazy times, no need to spend much time in is very helpful to those who are very busy with their jobs but have to cook food for themselves and the kids, which is a very easy solution is this lemon rice, which will not get spoil or stale.

Lemon rice can be prepared with leftover rice which is kept in the fridge. I never use peanuts (groundnuts) for my lemon rice, as I don’t like it in my lemon rice but you can add in the beginning if it is raw fry with onion or boiled in the end. Lemon rice is yellow in colour and it flavours are fresh and appetizing. After seeing my lemon rice photos, you will see that my rice is showing different colours from light to dark, it because of turmeric powder, I sometimes add more or less.


  1. Oil – 2 tbsp or more
  2. Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
  3. Chana dal (Bengal gram) – 1 tsp
  4. Curry leaves – 15
  5. Dry chillies (broken) – 3
  6. Onion (chopped) – 1/2 (if medium) or 1 (if small)
  7. Green chillies (sliced or chopped) – 2
  8. Turmeric powder – less than 1/2 tsp
  9. Cooked rice (ponni or basmati) – 3 cups
  10. Lime or lemon – 1/2 (big) or 3 to 4 tbsp of juice
  11. Roasted chana (putanae) – 2 to 3 tbsp
  12. Salt - as per taste
  13. Coriander leaves (chopped) – few


  1. Chop onion, slice green chillies or slit it apart, keep it ready.
  2. Cook the rice in advance and let it cool, separate it with a fork, keep it aside.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder, mix both and keep it aside.
  4. Grind roasted chana (putanae or dalia) to fine powder in a dry spice mixer, keep it aside.
  5. Add the roasted chana powder and lemon juice mixture to the rice, coriander leaves mix well and keep it aside.
  6. Take a vessel, add oil, when hot add mustard seeds, dry chilli, chana dal, and curry leaves, sauté for 30sec.
  7. Add chopped onion and green chilli, sauté till soft and transparent, switch it off.
  8. Add the fried onion mixture to the rice and mix well.
  9. Add this yellow rice mixture to the same vessel in which onions were fried.
  10. Cook it on simmer for 10min by closing the lid till all the mixture and roasted chana powder is well blended, rice is hot and cooked well.
  11. Colour of the rice changes from light to bright colour.
  12. I always get different colour for my lemon rice whenever I cook lemon rice from light to bright colour as per turmeric powder is added(can view in the picture).
  13. Can sprinkle coriander leaves in the end also and mix well.
  14. Serve with stir fry potato (poriyal) or just potato crisps.


  1. If there is any leftover rice in the fridge, mix all the ingredients as above and simmer for 10min till it is fluffy fresh rice again.
  2. Add lime or lemon juice as per your sourness, as some lemons will be very sour.
  3. Can use ready made lemon bottles.
  4. Salt is added in the rice, but I add a pinch of salt for the onion mixture.
  5. Can view in the picture, the colour of the rice after mixing lemon juice is light in colour and in the end, after simmering it is bright yellow colour.
  6. Can adjust with turmeric powder as per colour, if it is needed.
  7. When ever I cook lemon rice it will not be the same colour, sometimes it is light or dark, as per turmeric powder I added.
  8. Can use basmati rice or ponni raw rice, sona masoori rice or ponni boiled rice which we get in India.