Dabbakaya pulihora, rough lemon flavored rice

Dabbakaya pulihora, a tangy flavored, Andhra rice dish that’s tempered with Indian spices, red chilies, and peanuts for Ugadi, telugu new year

dabbakaya pulihora
dabbakaya pulihora

Dabbakaya pulihora is a typical Andhra style rice preparation similar to lemon rice aka nimmakaya annam. A wonderful change to the south indian tamarind rice aka pulihora. Tomorrow is our Telugu new year, Ugadi and this Andhra delicacy makes for a perfect rice dish. A dear friend gifted me a few rough lemons she harvested from her kitchen garden and I put them to good use. I made dabbakaya pachadi or pickle, dabbakaya rasam (concentrated juice) and dabbakaya pulihora.

Dabbakaya is a large lemon with a rough skin and goes by the name ‘rough lemon‘. Many confuse it with grapefruit and pomelo. Belonging to the citrus family, it is the size of an orange and has a lesser sour flavor compared to the regular lemon. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, rich in antioxidants and boosts the immune system.

dabbakaya (telugu), rough lime

Dabbakaya pulihora recipe is no different from lemon rice recipe (nimmakaya annam). You have to replace lemon juice with dabbakaya juice. Do add a generous amount of roasted peanuts or cashewnuts since it adds oodles of flavor. If you have access to curry leaves, do add a couple of sprigs to the tempering. I like to add at least three to four sprigs of curry leaves. It is an essential ingredient so do not avoid it. I would not suggest the use of long grain or basmati rice. Regular rice like sona masuri or sannalu works good. Ensure that the cooked rice is soft yet firm and should not become mushy.

I always make lemon rice or dabbakaya pulihora a couple of hours before lunch time. When the rice dish sits for a couple of hours the flavors meld with the rice absorbing the aromatic tempering and tangy flavor of dabbakaya giving it an addictive taste. Using a mix of green chilies and red chilies lends the right amount of heat which helps balance the tangy flavor of the rice. You can serve with crisps like papad or popaddam, pickle and thick yogurt (dahi).

dabbakaya pulihora recipe
dabbakaya pulihora, rough lime flavored rice

Dabbakaya pulihora makes for an excellent festive dish for festivals like Ugadi, Ram Navami and Ganesh Chaturthi. A very simple, quick, straightforward South Indian rice preparation and a flavorful one at that.

Check out more UGADI festival recipes.

How to make dabbakaya pulihora

Dabbakaya pulihora recipe

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 5

 Main Ingredients:

  •  dabbakaya
  •   rice


  •   Raw rice - 250 gms (regular rice like Sona Masuri)
  •   Dabbakaya - 1 (rough lemon)
  •   Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  •   Chana dal - 1 1/4 tbsps (senagapappu/bengal gram)
  •   Split gram dal - 1 tbsp (minappa pappu/dhuli urad)
  •   Green chilies - 3, slit length wise
  •   Red chilies - 3-4, tear and de-seed
  •   Ginger - 1", finely minced
  •   Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  •   Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  •   Peanuts - 1/3 cup, roasted and peeled
  •   Cashewnuts - 1/4 cup, roasted (optional)
  •   Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
  •   Salt to taste
  •   Oil - 3 tbsps

Method for making Dabbakaya pulihora recipe

Wash the rice and cook in enough water till the rice turns soft yet each grain is separate. It should not be mushy. Spread the cooked rice on a wide plate. Sprinkle enough salt and a sprig of curry leaves all over the rice and mix into the rice. Set aside and prepare the tempering.
Squeeze the juice of the rough lemon or dabbakaya and place in a bowl. Discard seeds and skin. Set aside.
For the tempering, heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add urad dal, chana dal and allow them to turn red. Add the dry red chilies, slit green chilies, minced ginger, and asafoetida and mix well.
Add two sprigs of curry leaves and turmeric powder and mix well. Turn off heat.
Add this tempering to the cooked rice and mix well to combine.
Slowly add the squeezed dabbakaya juice and mix. Do not add all the juice at once. Taste and if it requires more tang, add a few tbsps of dabbakaya juice. Adjust salt if required.
Remove to a serving bowl and serve with appadam, pickle and yogurt.


  •   You can adjust the red chilies/green chilies according to your spice preference.
  •   Add dabbakaya juice, a few tbsps at a time. Mix with the rice and taste. If required, add more juice. Do not add all the juice at once.
  •   If the rice needs more sour flavor, you can add one or two tbsps of regular lemon juice.


Dabbakaya pulihora, a tangy rice recipe made with rough lemon juice, Indian spices & peanuts. A gem among Andhra vantalu to celebrate Ugadi festival