Eaten either as a main dish or as an accompaniment, fragrant and aromatic lime rice is a specialty in Tamil Nadu.






Skill level

Average: 4 (4 votes)


  • 1 tbsp chana dhal (split chickpeas) (see Note)
  • 550 g (2½ cups) basmati rice
  • limes, juiced, plus extra wedges, to serve
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted raw peanuts, fried, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp urad dhal (see Note)
  • 8 fresh curry leaves (see Note)
  • 4 dried long red chillies, broken in half
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place chana dhal in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, rinse rice several times, drain, then place in a saucepan with 1 litres of water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid, then reduce heat to low and cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and stand, without removing lid, for 10 minutes or until just tender. Add lime juice, season with salt and stir to combine.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add chana dhal, mustard seeds, peanuts, urad dhal, curry leaves and chillies, and cook for 3 minutes. Add turmeric and 2 tablespoons of water, and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir to combine. Cook for a further 3 minutes to warm through. Serve with extra lime wedges.


• Chana dhal, available from Indian food shops, are large split chickpeas.
• Black mustard seeds and curry leaves are available from select greengrocers, delis and Indian food shops.
• Urad dhal, available from Indian food shops, are small split black beans; when split they are white in colour. 



Photography Chris Chen. Food preparation Leanne Kitchen. Styling Berni Smithies.


As seen in Feast magazine, April 2014, Issue 30.