This spicy rice dish resonates with lemon. Turmeric turns it a pretty shade of yellow, and sautéed yellow split peas and urad dal give it a crunchy quality. This rice enhances any meal, Indian or otherwise.

Preparation: 1 hour | Serves: 8

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 4 dried red peppers
  • 10 curry leaves or 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons yellow split peas
  • 1 tablespoons split urad dhal
  • 1/2 cup broken raw cashew nuts
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced green chili (serrano, Tai, or jalapeno) or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 asafetida (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 


In a 3-quart saucepan prepare rice according to package directions. 

While rice is cooking, heat mustard seeds, red peppers, and curry leaves in oil over medium-high heat in a covered wok or large frying pan until mustard seeds begin to pop. 

Uncover and immediately add split peas, urad dhal, cashews, onion, bell pepper, chili, ginger, turmeric, asafetida, and salt. Fry for 10 minutes, or until dhal and nuts turn reddish brown and bell pepper is tender. 

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Add cooked rice and stir in gently but thoroughly. 

Serve hot or at room temperature.