This lemon turmeric rice recipe combines the delicious flavors of the popular South Indian lemon rice with healthier brown rice and added vegetables.
About this recipe
South Indian lemon rice is a simple rice recipe made by mixing cooked white rice with lemon juice, turmeric and spices like chillies and ginger. In this healthier version, I have swapped white rice with brown rice and added veggies like carrots and soybeans for the extra crunch, nutrition and flavor. These ingredients go well with the authentic zesty flavor of the traditional lemon rice recipe. This is one of the easiest brown rice recipes seasoned with Indian flavors!
Bonus: Lemon rice is one of the staple lunchbox meals Indian moms love since it stays fresh for hours without the need to refrigerate. It can also be refrigerated or frozen to last longer.
Added bonus: This turmeric brown rice has added vegetables, which makes it a wholesome vegetarian meal, with protein from soybeans and fiber from carrots. You can customize it by adding boiled vegetables like cauliflower, beans, or peas.
I’ve used Jasmine brown rice here, but any brown rice would do. Read further to find out the foolproof method to cook any type of rice.
Spices and flavors
You need bold flavors to spice up brown rice. Turmeric, chillies and ginger along with lemon do the trick. But the secret ingredient here is actually the LEMON ZEST. There’s a burst of citrus flavor from lemon zest which makes this Indian lemon rice recipe simply irresistible!
Edamame beans are nothing but tender, immature soybeans in the pod. A great source of protein, (apart from iron, calcium, omega-3 fats, fiber and a host of minerals) especially for vegetarians and lactose intolerant people, soybeans are best consumed as a whole food rather than processed. For this recipe, I have used frozen edamame. You can also use dried soybeans, which have to be soaked overnight and pressure cooked.
If soybeans or edamame are not easily available or they’re not your favorite, they can be replaced with an equal quantity of green peas, fresh, frozen or dried. Use the same cooking instructions as for soybeans.
I’ve added grated carrots, but other vegetables like French beans, cauliflower, baby corn can also be used. Precook them (steam or boil) before adding.
Other ingredients would be oil, mustard seeds, cashews and curry leaves for garnishing.
How to make South Indian lemon rice- step by step
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
How to cook Brown Jasmine Rice
Soak the rice for about 30 minutes. If you’re cooking brown rice for the first time, it’s better to cook on a stovetop using a wide pot or pan. Boil about 5 to 6 cups of water for every cup of brown rice. The amount of water should be at least 5 times that of rice. Boil water and add the rice. Cook until you’re able to squeeze an individual grain with ease but not mushy.
For cooking the Jasmine brown rice in a rice cooker or instant pot, the quantity of water should be about 2½ to 3 cups for 1 cup of brown rice. (The exact quantity depends on the brand of rice you’re using.)
Drain the rice using a strainer. Transfer rice back to the pot and keep it closed for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread out the rice on a large tray or plate and let it cool. Now it is ready to be seasoned.
For more tips and detailed pictures on cooking brown rice, read the recipe for stir-fried red rice with Thai flavors.
How to season lemon turmeric rice
Boil edamame in water for 5 minutes. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cashews, chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Saute until browned and then add grated carrots and edamame. Stir for 5 minutes and turn off the flame. Add lemon juice, zest and brown rice and mix well. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes and serve!
Common questions about cooking brown rice
How long to soak brown rice?
To get nice fluffy brown rice soak it for about 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. It will soften up the grains and help speed up the cooking process, too. After cooking, keep the rice closed in the hot cooking pot for 5 to 10 minutes. The steam released will also help fluff up the rice.
How long does cooked brown rice last?
Cooked brown rice stays fresh for about 3 hours without refrigeration (consume it within 3 hours, DO NOT refrigerate after 3 hours), 5 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. This turmeric brown rice with lemon can last for about 6 to 7 hours without refrigeration. The citrus juice and turmeric help keep the rice fresh for longer. That makes it ideal for packed lunches, picnics and potluck side dishes. Make sure that you use clean, dry containers and store them after the rice has completely cooled down.
Is brown rice hard to digest?
Due to its high fiber content, brown rice can be hard to digest for some of us who are not used to high-fiber food. Soaking brown rice before cooking helps digestion. Another way to improve the digestion of brown rice is to use healing spices like turmeric and ginger (and lemon, too) that make it easy on the stomach, to season brown rice. (As we have used in this recipe.)
What to pair turmeric brown rice with
You can also pair this lemon brown rice with the simple Kerala egg roast for a vegetarian dinner.
How to make brown rice taste good
If you want to replace white rice with brown rice in your favorite rice recipes, follow these simple steps. Once you know the brown rice to water ratio and how to cook brown rice as above, you can make the best brown rice recipes:
- Add more seasoning for brown rice. (About 25% more than when you use white rice.)
- Add more vegetables and herbs than you would for white rice.
- After cooking and seasoning the brown rice, keep it closed and allow it to sit for a minimum of about 10 minutes so that the flavors are absorbed by the brown rice.
- If you are cooking just plain brown rice to eat with curry, do this: after cooking and straining, transfer the rice back to the pot and keep it closed for about 10 minutes. This will allow the rice to steam and get fluffy in the residual heat. If you are using rice cooker or instant pot, do the same thing: allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
More rice recipes
Looking for more easy recipes with brown rice and red rice? Check out these:
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