Description: Food Network Kitchen's Indian-Style Yellow Rice.
Recipe courtesy of Nidhi Jalan for Food Network Kitchen

South Indian-Style Yellow Rice

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings
This vibrant rice is cooked with turmeric, tempered with mustard seeds, nuts and dal and finished with lemon zest and juice, resulting in an aromatic, bright, tangy and crunchy rice. It’s also a great way to revive leftover rice the next day. (See Cook’s Note)



  1. Wash the rice in cold water until the water is no longer cloudy, 3 or 4 times, then drain. This step is important as it removes the starch from the rice and prevents it from clumping up.
  2. Heat the stock or water in a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the drained rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Do not disturb the rice or take a peek while it’s in the middle of cooking. Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 to 7 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a pan large enough to fit the rice over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let sizzle until you hear popping sounds, about 30 seconds. Add the nuts and cook until golden brown and crunchy, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the urad dal, asafetida, crushed red chiles and curry leaves. Be careful as the curry leaves might sputter. Cook until the urad dal turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gently mix in the cooked rice. 
  4. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.  

Cook’s Note

Curry leaves are an important part of this recipe; however, if you don’t have access to fresh curry leaves, you can add some fresh herbs at the end, such as cilantro, mint, parsley or dill. If using leftover rice, add the turmeric after the dal turns golden brown and let it cook for a few seconds before adding the rice. Mix gently, cover and cook for 5 minutes before removing from the heat and adding the lemon zest, juice and salt.