Lemon Rice ~ Nimmakaya Pulihora

Blogging Marathon, Lemon Rice,

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For day two of the marathon under the theme cooking with lemons, I have a traditional South Indian recipe, nimmakaya pulihora. Pulihora is usually made with either tamarind, lemon/lime or raw green mangoes when mangoes are in season. Husband is not fond of pulihora and I rarely make it at home. Even if I do, it is just for me. This week’s theme forced me to make it and post the recipe. Though pulihora is traditionally prepared with lemon juice, tamarind paste or with grated raw mango, I have tried carrot pulihora and cranberry pulihora for previous marathons.

Blogging Marathon, Lemon Rice,

Pulihora is prepared during festivals, for road trips, train journeys, for picnics and is also an excellent dish to make on lazy days when one is in no mood to cook. This can be served with any shorva or kurma or can be eaten as it is. I like to eat it without any side dish or with some yogurt. Lemon pulihora can also be made with left over rice.

Blogging Marathon, Lime Rice, Pulihora,

Preparation: 30 – 45 minutes (includes time to cook rice)
Servings: 1 – 1 ½

The measuring cup used here is the one that comes with the rice cooker.

  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cup Water
  • 1 Lemon, juiced or 3 tbsp. Lemon Juice (lime can also be used.)
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed Garlic (opt)
  • Pinch of Turmeric
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste and also mind you I added additional ¼ tsp. when tempering)
  • Cilantro chopped (opt)


  • 3 tsp. Oil (3 tsp. = 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/8 tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. Cumin
  • 3 – 4 Curry Leaves
  • 1 – 2 Green Chilies slit length wise and cut into 2-3 pieces (Can use ½ green chilies and ½ red chilies or only red chilies)
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. Peanuts (I used 1 tbsp. but if you like peanuts use 2 tbsps.)
  • 1/8 Turmeric


  • Cook rice in a rice cooker using 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups water and let it cool. I used a rice cooker but rice can be cooked in a saucepan or in a pressure cook.
  • In a bowl mix together garlic if using, lemon juice, salt, turmeric.
  • Once the cooked rice cools, add lemon juice to it and mix well. Taste the rice and adjust lemon juice and salt, if more is needed.
  • If using cilantro, add it to the rice and toss. Cilantro can be added now or after mixing tempering to the rice.
  • For the tempering, heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin and let the seeds pop.
  • Add peanuts, green chilies, curry leaves, salt and sauté until peanuts are roasted. This would take 1 ½ – 2 minutes. I used roasted peanuts this time and added after green chilies were lightly roasted. Since peanuts are already roasted, cook them for few seconds until all seasoning and flavors coat the peanuts.
  • Add turmeric and remove from the stove.
  • Add the tempering to the rice and mix well.
  • Serve the pulihora with shorva or serve it as it is. I prefer eating it without any side dish and like it with some plain yogurt.


  • Garlic – this is optional and it can be added raw to lemon juice and mix it to rice or can be added in tempering. It can also be left out.

Blogging Marathon: Checkout what my fellow bloggers are doing this week on blogging marathon page.

14 thoughts on “Lemon Rice ~ Nimmakaya Pulihora

  1. lovely bowl to go with the yellow rice…i often make this rice and for once was disappointed knowing that i had posted this already..this is like the first dish to hit people’s mind…the one that make this when one thingks of lemon

  2. Adding garlic sounds like a nice twist to pulihora. I also add grated ginger & hing to the tempering. This is my kind of comfort food — with some yogurt, I’ll be all set.

  3. For the longest time I have always associated Pulihora with only Tamarind as we call the other types suffixed with annam..so when I read about the different versions after blogging, I realized there is so much to know even in my own cuisine..:)..very lovely pictures Usha..Served this way, I won’t mind eat it..:)

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