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“Mom’s Lemon Rice”. An Indian recipe from Bali.

“Mom’s Lemon Rice”. An Indian recipe from Bali.
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Of all the beautiful places I’ve ever been to, Bali stands out.

Today’s Lemon Rice recipe is as rich and flavorful as this magical island itself.  It combines the crunch of peanuts, the heat of two chillis, a hint of curry, a dash of onion, and a glorious lemon flavor.  The recipe isn’t Balinese. It hails from the Indian birthplace of one of Bali’s most prominent hoteliers.  Uday Rao presides over the two extraordinary resorts Four Seasons resorts on the island. This is his mother’s recipe.

Uday Rao

Uday Rao’s name means “Sunrise” to honor the hour of his birth.

At 16, Uday immigrated to the United States. He got his B.A. in Business Administration at Coe College in Iowa.  He then set out for Japan where he studied Business Management at Waseda University in Tokyo. Uday naturally gravitated to the world of hotels. His family is in the hotel business and Uday “practically grew up in hotels”.  He started with Four Seasons in 1991 in Chicago. Since then his resume includes stints in Tokyo, Singapore, Dallas, and the Maldives. He returned to his native India to open the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Uday confesses to being quite the homebody “listening to blues music, sipping a glass of Bordeaux and cooking.” You’ll be glad he does when you make this wonderful vegetarian rice dish. We served it with Shrimp Masala and Naan.  You can watch Uday make it by clicking here. https://www.instagram.com/p/COyRR–jg3H/

The recipe follows. But first, take a look at Bali and the Four Seasons Resorts…

Canang sari. These offerings are a sacred form of gratitude for what is and a wish for peace and abundance in the world. They are a representation of the Balinese people’s devotion to their (Hindu) gods.
Beauty abounds in Bali…
My suite at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay
And at Four Seasons Sayan
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay where every single suite comes with a private pool
Rice Paddies in Bali…Uday’s inspiration for today’s dish?

Mom's Lemon Rice from Uday Rao Four Seasons Bali

May 18, 2021
: 2
: 10 min
: 10 min
: 20 min
: If you can stir-fry you can make this dish. The only difficult thing about this recipe is finding the curry leaves. I found mine at our H Market.

The crunch of peanuts, the heat of two chillis, a hint of curry, a dash of onion, and a glorious lemony perfume combine in this wonderful rice dish.


  • Cooked basmati (long-grain) rice - 1 cup or 300 grams
  • Peanuts - 50 grams or 1/4 cup, or you can add cashews as well or mix both.
  • Lemon juice - 5 tbsp
  • Dry red chili - 2
  • Sliced lengthwise green chili - 2
  • Fresh curry leaves - 8 to 10
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cooking oil - 3 tbsp (not olive oil or mustard oil)
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro
  • Step 1 Roast the peanuts for 2 minutes on low-medium flame and set aside.
  • Step 2 Heat a pan, add oil and let it heat properly.
  • Step 3 Add mustard seeds, dry red chili, and green chili, fry it for a few seconds.
  • Step 4 Add curry leaves and chopped onion, fry it on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 Add roasted peanuts, turmeric powder, and salt to taste, mix it and cook for 1/2 minute on low flame.
  • Step 6 Add lemon juice in small batches, mix it, cook it for 1/2 minute on low flame.
  • Step 7 Taste it, and if it’s lemony then no need to add more lemon juice. Too lemony is also not nice.
  • Step 8 Add cooked rice and mix it gently, cover the pan and cook on low flame for 1-2 minutes.
  • Step 9 Turn off the flame, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
  • Step 10 I also add a dash of freshly melted ghee and mix it well before serving, but this is optional. * NOTE From Monte. Add the ghee. It’s wonderful and you can find it at Trader Joe’s.

My latest Travel Article for Travel-Wise has just been published. And with it, a recipe for Bali’s most popular dish.

Come to Bali and meet a new Chef who has invented a whole new recipe for Bouillabaisse.

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