Apr 26, 2008

Recipe - Nimmakaya pulihara (Lemon rice/Pulighodarai)

Rice mixed with lemon juice and spices


Pulihara reminds me of temples and festive seasons. Yellow rice is is prepared as an offering at the temples almost everyday and is served as "prasad/bhog". Lemon rice is very famous in south India. Each state, for that matter every household, in southern India prepares lemon rice almost the same way.

After leaving home, pulihara is prepared almost once in a month with the left over rice. I usually prepare lemon rice more frequently than tamarind rice, as this is easier to prepare and takes less time.


  • Rice - 1 cup (standard measuring cup not the rice cooker cup)
  • Lemon juice - 1/4 cup (2 large lemons approx)
  • Cashew nuts/ground nuts roasted - 1/4 cup (optional)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing ( asafoetida) - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon (according to taste)


  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Chana dal (bengal gram) - 2 teaspoons
  • Urad dal (black gram) - 1/ teaspoon
  • Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - 2 stalks
  • Green chilies - 5 - 6 Indian green chilies
  • Dry red chilies - 3 (cut in small pieces)
  • Methi powder (fenugreek) - 1 teaspoon
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon

Cook Rice:

Wash rice, add 2 cups of water with one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon of oil. Cook the rice separately and set it aside.


Preheat oil in a wok/kadai at medium high temperature. Add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter, add methi powder, hing, green chilies, dried chilies, and curry leaves. Sautee them well. Add turmeric powder and turn off the stove.

In a large open bowl, spread rice, add seasoning and lemon juice. Do not pour lemon juice all at once. One can't tell the sourness of the mixture, unless one is a very good cook.

Add the lemon juice according to your taste. After lemon rice is mixed well, set the rice aside for 15 - 20 minutes for all the juices to blend with rice.

Preparation time 20 - 30 minutes

Servings: 4

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Some of the recipes presented here are originally inspired by others. Credit is given to the original postings. I have listed recipes here for my own reference as well as pictures are my addition to the whole cooking experience. Enjoy.