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two hands reaching out to pick up a bowl of lemon rice each from a plate
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5 from 6 votes

Vegan Instant Pot Lemon Rice

This Instant Pot recipe of cilantro lemon rice is made with white rice, lemon juice, and spices. It's a quick and easy, vegan South Indian snack!
Course rice, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Pressure Release Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 312.26kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • First rinse the rice well. There is no need to soak the white rice before cooking it in the Instant Pot.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Add oil and once it's hot add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal. Cook till the lentils turn light golden.
  • Add curry leaves and dried red chilies. Saute for 10 seconds.
  • Then add the chopped green chilies and onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Next, add the grated carrots and cook for 40 seconds.
  • Add rinsed rice.
  • Then add water, turmeric powder, and salt.
  • Turn off the saute mode, close the lid, keep the valve in sealing position and cook in pressure/manual mode for 4 minutes. You can also select the rice mode in the Instant pot to cook this white rice.
  • While it's cooking, squeeze the juice from the lemons.
  • When the pot beeps, release the pressure after 10 minutes. Then add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and cilantro. Mix it with the rice.

Stovetop

  • You can precook the white rice in an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker a couple of hours before.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and once it's hot add mustard seeds, urad dal, and chana dal. Saute till the lentils turn light golden.
  • Add curry leaves and dried red chilies. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Then add the chopped green chilies and onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Next, add the grated carrots and cook for 2 minutes or until the carrots turn soft.
  • Add turmeric powder, cooked rice, and salt. Mix it all together.
  • When all the rice is well combined, take it off the flame. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lemon juice.
  • Mix it all together and serve it warm.

Notes

For this lemon rice recipe, preferably use freshly squeezed lemon juice. But if that's unavailable to you, then you may use the packaged lemon juice. But the taste will not be the same.
Always remember to add the lemon juice last. Do not cook lemon juice for long. It alters the taste. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice based on your preference.
The traditional South Indian recipe of lemon rice is made without onions or shallots. But adding them lends to a nice flavor. Feel free to add or skip adding veggies.
Add some cooked chickpeas, or any other beans to up the nutrition value of the dish. You can also garnish it with some lemon zest to make the rice even more aromatic and extra zingy!
I have made it gluten-free. But if you want, you can add asafoetida or hing. Fry some peanuts/cashews/pine nuts and add them to the rice. It gives it a nice flavor and crunch.
You can also add half a tablespoon of ginger paste when sauteeing other ingredients. Actually, this recipe is very flexible. You can easily skip some of the ingredients if you don't have them.
Soak chana dal 10 minutes before adding it to the pot. This ensures it's soft and not hard to chew when cooked.
How to store it?
Leftover Cilantro Lemon rice stays well in the fridge for 2-3 days. It can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. You can also freeze it.
Alternates to white rice
It's not necessary to use Basmati rice. you can use any rice. Even leftover rice works great!
However, if using leftover rice, then no need to cook it in the Instant Pot. Just saute all the ingredients in a skillet and add the cooked rice.
If looking for low-carb options, you can prepare the same recipe with quinoa, cauliflower rice, or any other alternate grain in place of rice.
You can also use rice noodles, vermicelli, or brown rice. Just adjust the cooking time in the Instant pot accordingly.

Nutrition

Calories: 312.26kcal | Carbohydrates: 62.91g | Protein: 7.47g | Fat: 3.53g | Saturated Fat: 0.34g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 66.96mg | Potassium: 203.12mg | Fiber: 5.5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1859.42IU | Vitamin C: 56.77mg | Calcium: 59.98mg | Iron: 1.64mg