Yellow Peanut Rice

Yellow peanut rice is a South Indian recipe that I’ve been eating since I was young. I don’t even know if that’s the right name but that’s just what we call it in my family. The rice is made with lemon, coconut, fried spices, peanuts, cilantro and it’s yellow in color from hulthi or turmeric spice:

Turmeric is really good for health so I try and put a little bit of it in most things I cook. It’s a close relative of ginger and similarly has a bit of a pungent flavor and helps to soothe the stomach. The spice comes from the root of a tropical shrub. It’s been used in traditional Indian medicine for a long time to treat ailments and recently has been shown to help fight diseases – cancer, diabetes, arthritis and Alzeimers. You can find it in most grocery stores.
I remember my 4th grade teacher had all the students bring in foods from their cultures and this is actually the dish I brought in. My school was mostly Irish and Italian kids so I was nervous to bring Indian food in, especially the bright yellow kind, but since peanut rice was one of my favorites that’s what my mom made. I was so worried about it and to top it off I was so shy (I cringe thinking back). I thought no one would try it and I’d have to eat it all before going home so that my mom wouldn’t feel bad. I was a mess UNTIL I saw this one Tupperware with octopus in it. I was like oh Italian food looks funny too! Anyway it was really cute because all the kids loved it and the octopus. And there was none left to bring home.

I like serving this rice with yogurt and its nice to pack for a picnic. When I gave my friends Andrew and Faouzi a cooking class we ate the rice with spinach raita, sambar, green beans palya and kosambri:

I just shot the video for this recipe with Alana and Paul. Take a look here.

Yellow Peanut Rice

video recipe

*fresh dill is a nice addition to this rice which I fry for a few seconds before adding in the rice to the pan.
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
1 dried red chili, broken in two (alternative is chopped green chilis which adds more spice)
4 fresh curry leaves
juice of 1 lemon
handful frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
cilantro for garnish

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on stove with water and turmeric mixed in. To make the rice not stick I sometimes add a little oil. Set cooked rice aside.

In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and put in peanuts under medium heat. Fry peanuts until they are fragrant and turn golden brown. Put peanuts aside. (They will get crunchier as they sit out.)

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil under medium heat. To test the oil is hot put in a couple mustard seeds and they should start sizzling. Then add the rest of the mustard seeds and hing. Shake up the pot and cover (this is so the mustard seeds don’t pop out of the pan and burn you!) Once they pop for a few seconds, lower the heat and add the urad dal, chana dal, dried red chili and curry leaves (rub leaves between your hands a little before putting in pan to release oils). Coat them with oil and fry for a few seconds. The urad dal and chana dal should turn a brownish hue. Add the rice into the wok and mix well. Fry for a few minutes.
Turn the heat off and mix in the lemon juice and coconut. Add in the peanuts and salt to your taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve with yogurt raita.

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