[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lemon Rice

S & I really like lemon rice with daal. She generally does the daal, and I make the lemon rice. I've gone through a few iterations before ending up with this version.


  • 1½ cup rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal (skinned & split, not whole)
  • ¼ cup peanuts (skin removed, blanched)
  • 3 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies sliced into thin circles
  • ¼ inch ginger root minced
  • 2-3 dried red sambar chillies
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of ½ lemon


  1. Heat the oil in a medium (3-4 quart/litre) saucepan
  2. Add peanuts and fry until golden brown
  3. While the peanuts are frying, wash rice, drain well and set aside
  4. Take peanuts out and set aside
  5. Add mustard seeds to oil and fry until they start sputtering
  6. Add jeera (cumin) seeds and fry for about 30 seconds
  7. At this point, heat up 1½ cups of water in the microwave for 1.5 minutes
  8. Add urad daal to the frying mixture and fry until it starts to turn brown
  9. Add green chillies, ginger, red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute
  10. Add turmeric powder and mix well, fry for 10 seconds
  11. Add the washed and drained rice and mix well with the spices and turmeric, fry for a minute
  12. Add the hot water to this rice, and let the whole mix come to a common temperature, then slowly add in the rest of the water
  13. Add the peanuts back in, the lemon zest and a third of the lemon juice
  14. Add salt and stir it up
  15. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on medium-low until almost all the water has drained (steam will reduce, but you'll still be able to tilt the pan and the rice will move slowly
  16. Turn off the heat and let the rice continue to cook in its steam for 2-3 minutes more
  17. Take off the lid and add in the rest of the lemon juice and mix gently taking care not to break the rice
The lemon rice is now ready to eat. Enjoy with daal, curd, pickle, papad or anything else.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


This morning S felt like Upma for breakfast, so I got into the kitchen, and quite accidentally made the best Upma we've tasted in a long while. I thought I'd write down the recipe before I forget.

Now I'm not someone who normally makes Upma. Growing up, the only use of rava/sooji/semolina was to make a porridge with milk, sugar, raisins and nuts. It was only when I got older and left home that I realised that the basic concepts were similar for Sheera Halwa and Upma. This recipe somewhat comes out of my experience making sooji porrige.


  • 1 cup rava (semolina)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1½ tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal (skinned & split, not whole)
  • 5-6 cashews (unsalted)
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies sliced into thin circles
  • ¼ inch ginger root diced into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice + some more to add while eating
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh coriander coarsely chopped


  1. Roast the rava in a non-stick saucepan/kadai until you smell the fragrance of the rava (3-4 minutes), stir frequently to prevent browning.
  2. At the same time, start boiling the water, along with 1 tsp of salt and sugar, once it starts boiling, reduce to low heat.
  3. Once roasted, move the rava into a bowl for later
  4. Now heat the ghee in the same saucepan on low heat
  5. Add in the mustard seeds
  6. Once the mustard begins to crackle, add the jeera and fry for about 10-20 seconds
  7. Now add the urad daal and fry until it just starts to turn brown
  8. Add cashews and stir often until brown. (At this point I actually turned off the heat as the ghee was quite hot)
  9. Add the chillies, ginger and curry leaves and fry for about a minute (I turned the heat back on about halfway through this)
  10. Now add the roasted rava into this mixture and let it fry for a bit. Stir it up so that everything is mixed and the remaining ghee is absorbed
  11. Now add the boiling water to the rava and stir until completely absorbed. You can turn off the heat halfway through this stirring
  12. Lastly, add 2 tbsp lemon juice and mix it up
  13. Taste and add more salt or sugar if required.
  14. Serve into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Unfortunately we finished eating it before I could get any pictures, so I'll do that the next time, but if you try this, let me know how it works out.