How To Make South Indian Lemon Coconut Rice At Home

South Indian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors, aromatic spices, and diverse range of dishes. One such delightful dish is Lemon Coconut Rice, a tangy and fragrant rice preparation that is not only delicious but also easy to make.

Perfect for a quick meal or a special occasion, this dish combines the zesty flavor of lemon with the tropical taste of coconut, creating a mouthwatering experience. Let’s dive into the recipe and learn how to make South Indian Lemon Coconut Rice at home.


For the Rice

  • 1 cup basmati or long-grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Tempering

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal (split chickpeas)
  • 1-2 dried red chilies
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

For the Flavor

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts or cashews
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


Step 1: Cook the Rice

  1. Rinse the Rice: Rinse the basmati or long-grain rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming sticky.
  2. Cook the Rice: In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rinsed rice, salt, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Prepare the Tempering

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large pan or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee over medium heat.
  2. Add Mustard and Cumin Seeds: Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add Urad Dal and Chana Dal: Add the urad dal and chana dal to the pan and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add Red Chilies and Curry Leaves: Break the dried red chilies into pieces and add them to the pan along with the curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds.
  5. Add Green Chilies and Asafoetida: Add the slit green chilies and a pinch of asafoetida. Sauté for another minute.
  6. Add Turmeric Powder: Add the turmeric powder and mix well to combine all the spices.

Step 3: Combine and Flavor the Rice

  1. Add the Coconut: Add the freshly grated coconut to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the coconut is lightly toasted.
  2. Mix in the Rice: Add the cooked and cooled rice to the pan. Gently mix to combine the rice with the tempering and coconut, ensuring that the rice is evenly coated with the spices.
  3. Add Lemon Juice: Squeeze the juice of 1-2 lemons over the rice and mix well. Adjust the lemon juice to your taste preference.
  4. Add Nuts: Add roasted peanuts or cashews to the rice for an added crunch and flavor. Mix well.
  5. Season with Salt: Taste and adjust the salt as needed.

Step 4: Garnish and Serve

  1. Garnish: Garnish the Lemon Coconut Rice with fresh coriander leaves.
  2. Serve: Serve the Lemon Coconut Rice warm with a side of raita, pickle, or a simple vegetable curry.

Tips for Perfect Lemon Coconut Rice

  • Use Fresh Coconut: Freshly grated coconut gives the best flavor and texture to this dish. If fresh coconut is not available, you can use frozen or desiccated coconut, but fresh is always preferred.
  • Adjust the Spices: Adjust the number of chilies according to your spice tolerance. You can also add more curry leaves for a stronger flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: The amount of lemon juice can be adjusted based on your taste preference. Start with one lemon and add more if needed.
  • Nuts: Roasted peanuts or cashews add a delightful crunch to the rice. Ensure they are roasted well for the best taste.
  • Cooling the Rice: Allowing the rice to cool slightly before adding it to the tempering helps prevent it from breaking and ensures each grain is well-coated with the spices.

Health Benefits of Lemon Coconut Rice

Lemon Coconut Rice is not only a flavorful dish but also offers several health benefits:

  • Rich in Fiber: The rice and coconut provide a good amount of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and keeping you full for longer.
  • Vitamin C: Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps in the absorption of iron from the rice.
  • Antioxidants: The curry leaves and turmeric used in the tempering are packed with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect against diseases.
  • Healthy Fats: Coconut and nuts provide healthy fats that are essential for overall health and help in maintaining energy levels.


South Indian Lemon Coconut Rice is a delightful and easy-to-make dish that brings together the tanginess of lemon, the tropical flavor of coconut, and the aromatic spices of Indian cuisine. Whether you are looking for a quick lunch, a side dish, or something special for a festive occasion, this recipe is sure to impress. Try making it at home and enjoy the burst of flavors in every bite!How To Make South Indian Lemon Coconut Rice At Home

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