Madhur Jaffrey's Lemon Rice

The legendary cookbook author, food writer, and actress tempers fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds to bring fragrance and flavor to a lemon juice and zest-kissed rice.



  • 2 cups basmati rice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds

  • 15 fresh curry leaves (use fresh basil or holy basil as an interesting substitute)

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


  1. Wash the rice in several changes of water. Drain thoroughly. Combine rice, salt and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover tightly. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 25 minutes.

  2. Add the oil in a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to pop (a matter of seconds) add the curry leaves. Stir once and pour the contents of the frying pan over the rice. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix gently with a fork. Mix again as you transfer the rice to a serving dish.

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