A spicy, tangy plate of lemon rice is heaven itself. But for a differently delicious dish that's also packed with protein, try this Lemon Garlic Rice studded with chewy cubes of tofu. It's super easy to make with just nine ingredients!
If you could taste sunshine, what do you think it would taste like? Lemons, of course.
There's something about Fall that makes me want to pack as much sunshine into my life -- and my belly. And lemons, with their bright, happy flavor, can make any meal that much sunnier, especially when they take centerstage.
This Lemon Garlic Rice is inspired, just a little, by one of my favorite South Indian dishes. But while that lemon rice needs more specialized ingredients and spices, this one is really simple and needs just nine ingredients you likely have on hand. It is just as tasty, and the chewy baked bits of tofu make it even more so.
When you take a mouthful of this rice, you'll be startled by the explosion of flavors and textures. There's the tang of the lemons and the spice of the garlic, and then there's the velvety smoothness of the rice and the chewiness of the tofu. It's all quite amazing, but you don't have to take my word for it.
I add a ton of garlic to this recipe, because I have been madly in love with garlic my whole life and can never get enough of it. You can cut it down, but really, why would you unless you happen to love bland food? And if that were the case you wouldn't be here, would you?
How to make the perfect lemon garlic rice:
- Soak your rice for a few minutes before you cook it. Just for 30 minutes, no longer. That will give you lovely, long grains of rice in your cooked dish and your lemon garlic rice will look as pretty as it tastes.
- Add the zest of your lemon to the rice. This really amps up the flavor, and you want to pack in as much lemon flavor into this dish as you possibly can.
- Cook the rice for the exact times described in the recipe -- no more, no less. That way you can ensure you get perfect rice each time you make this.
- One rule of thumb to follow, whenever you make rice, is to never, ever, stir it in the middle of cooking. Once you've put the lid on your rice, you need to let it cook and then stand another 10 minutes after you turn off the stove. Once you take the lid off after 10 minutes, you can fluff the rice up with a fork.
- You can make this rice soy-free by not adding tofu -- just use more cashews. And you can make it nut-free, of course, by not adding any cashews.
- Vegetable oil
- Cumin seeds
- Baked tofu or Air Fryer Tofu
- Raw cashews
And, of course, you'll need salt and ground black pepper
Any spicy curry would be fantastic with this lemon garlic rice, like a Mirchi ka Salan, Chana Masala, Aloo Palak or Palak Tofu Paneer.
Or just eat it by itself.
Lemon Garlic Rice
- 1.5 cups basmati rice (soaked for 30 minutes with enough water to cover by two inches. Drain and rinse a couple of times before using in recipe.)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 12 medium to large cloves garlic (smashed, peeled and then sliced)
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 16 oz baked tofu cubes
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to darken, add the cilantro and turmeric and stir for a few seconds to mix. Add the garlic and cashews and stir-fry until the garlic begins to turn a light blonde.
- Add the drained rice along with salt and ground black pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until the rice starts to turn opaque.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and two cups of water and mix well. Cover with a tight lid and let the rice cook over a medium-low flame for 20 minutes, undisturbed.
- Let the rice stand 10 minutes after cooking. Then open and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the baked tofu cubes and garnish with more cilantro, if you wish.
Yummy this looks delicious will definitely have to give it a try ?
Hi, you mention cashews in the article but don’t include them in the recipe. Where do they come in please?
In step 1-- added. Thanks!
cashews are not in the ingredient list. How much? what type? raw? Thanks!
1/4 cup, and raw!
I assume the rice in the recipe is white. I use brown basmati all the time and would like to know how much water I should use with that after soaking. And of course it will take longer to cook as well.
BTW, your blog is one of my favorites and I love your taste in cooking all things.
Hi Glenda, thanks for the kind words. You can absolutely make this with brown basmati. Use 2 cups of water for each cup of soaked brown basmati rice. After you add the water, return to a boil, cover, and let the rice cook 45 minutes undisturbed on low heat.
I love anything with lemon, and I know this dish will be no exception. It looks delicious! Can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Hope you try it! 🙂
Can brown basmati rice work?
Yes, use 2 cups of water for each cup of soaked brown basmati rice. After you add the water, return to a boil, cover, and let the rice cook 45 minutes undisturbed on low heat.