Stellar Chariot

By Arun Neelakandan

Lemon/Lime Rice (‘Chitranna’) Recipe

Chitranna (aka Lemon/Lime Rice), a South Indian Dish

Chitranna (aka lemon/lime rice), is a South Indian rice dish that’s quick and easy to prepare. It is made by mixing a juice mixture with cooked rice. There are many variations, but here is my mother’s recipe.


  • Curry leaves (to taste; we usually use 2 stems)
  • Green chilli (to taste; we usually use 3 chillies for one 1 lemon/lime), sliced once longitudinally cut down the middle once
  • Juice from 2-3 medium limes (or lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chana dhal
  • 1 tablespoon white, split urid dhal
  • Approx. 3 tablespoons of sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Some chopped coriander (for garnishing and aroma)
  • Cooked rice


  1. Heat the oil until hot over a medium flame on a frypan
  2. Add mustard seeds until it ‘pops’ (takes about 30 seconds)
  3. Add the cumin seeds
  4. Add the urid and chana dhal and fry ‘til light golden brown colour
  5. Add the curry leaves
  6. Add 1 tsp salt (this will prevent spattering)
  7. Add the turmeric powder
  8. Add the lime juice and turn off the stove after 30 seconds of adding
  9. Add a tablespoon of salt
  10. Add chopped coriander
  11. Leave on stove until cool

Combine this mixture with some nice, fluffly rice when ready to serve. How much mixture you add to rice is up to you.

This mixture can keep for about a week when refridgerated. Keep some handy and you can have a meal ready in moments.

Highly Recommended: Add some lightly fried cashews, peanuts or even some other kind of nuts to give the dish a great, crunchy boost!

Worth Trying: Replacing the lemon/lime juice with another citrus variety (e.g. orange juice).

Often served with a bit of pickle, appalam and/or some kind side dish (e.g. perhaps some aloo gobi or similar).