Thirunelveli Lime Rice is different from the typical Madras Lime Rice in that it is very mild, and fresh ingredients like onion, green chillies, and coriander leaves are used, and it is also served with Paruppu Thuvaiyal. The acid in the lime juice changes the anthocyanin pigment in the onion to a beautiful reddish pink colour and makes the texture crisp. This makes it a most attractive dish.
The magic of Thirunelveli cooking is that few ingredients are used intelligently to create nutritious dishes with enchanting flavours – but this gives our vegetarian cooking an unfair reputation for being cheap and stingy 🙂 Lime rice with paruppu thuvaiyal is dry and therefore ideal for packed lunches. My mother always packed this in a banana leaf whenever I went on school excursions.
Rice, roasted Bengal gram dhal, and coconut, contribute 6g, 22g, and 4g of protein respectively per 100g. The rice and the dhal protein supplement the amino acids lysine and tryptophan to give a very good quality protein. The coconut also adds protein and fibre, making this the most nutritious vegetarian meal.
For the Lime Rice
- 2 C Raw Rice
- 2 T Lime Juice
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 6-8 small Green Chillies, stalks removed
- ¼ C chopped Coriander Leaves
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/8 tsp Asafoetida Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Salt, or to taste
- 3T Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil)
- 6 C Water
For the Paruppu Thuvaiyal
- 1 C Roasted Bengal Gram Dhal
- ½ C Coconut scrapings
- ½ tsp Tamarind Concentrate
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1 ½ tsp Salt, or to taste
- Wash and drain the rice. Boil 6 cups of water to which 1 teaspoon of oil and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt are added. Cook the rice in the boiling water till all the water is absorbed. Spread the rice on a large plate and allow to cool.
- Heat the oil in a large kadai or wok. Add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the onion and green chillies. Do not brown.
- When the onion turns translucent, add the coriander leaves, turmeric and asafoetida powders, and stir once.
- Add the lime juice and the rest of the salt. Stir till the salt dissolves. Add the cooked rice and mix carefully.
- Add the curry leaves and stir once before removing from heat.
- In the grinder jar of a mixie or blender powder the roasted Bengal Gram Dhal. Remove from jar.
- To the same jar, add coconut scrapings, chilli powder, salt, tamarind extract, and garlic. Pulse at speeds 1 & 2 for 10 seconds each.
- Add the powdered dhal and 2 tablespoons of water, or as required, to arrive at a thick paste. Pulse for 10 seconds or more.
- Remove the thuvaiyal from the jar and serve.
- I prefer to use gingelly oil because it is the traditionally chosen one for lime rice. If you do not like the earthy flavour of the gingelly oil, you can use any other flavourless vegetable oil.
- I use Kashmiri Chilli Powder for its mild flavour. Use half the amount if you are using any other variety.