Cilantro Lemon Fried Rice

Cilantro Lemon Fried Rice

I tend to cook in one of two fashions.

  1. I come home from work starving, and quickly make something like a fried egg sandwich, or a quesadilla, or a bowl of cereal (gasp)- something that I can have ready in about five minutes because I don’t want to wait any longer.
  2. I come home from work almost starving, and decide to cook something proper, because I’m very hungry but can wait longer than five minutes. I then proceed to cook rice and sausage and lentils and a pound of bacon and a gallon of pudding and enough pasta to feed an army, a menu also known as Anything and Everything That Strikes My Fancy. I then spend the next week and a half working on the leftovers, because I am only one person, but my cooking brain can’t comprehend that.

This time was a mild case of #2.

I hungrily surveyed my fridge, and remembered I had a large bunch of cilantro waiting to be used. Aha, cilantro lime rice, I thought. My sister Merry makes a delightful cilantro lime rice, full of peas and lime zest and love, which is the best thing ever to eat beside fish. But upon further surveying, I saw I didn’t have peas or lime, so I was going to have to make do, which is, after all, my favorite kind of cooking. I like recipes in theory, but generally stray pretty far from them when I actually attempt them.

This time, that method turned out pretty well, so I wanted to share the joy, in case you like cumin as much as me.

Start with plain cooked rice. 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water comes out perfectly, not sticky or crunchy.

I made two cups of rice for this recipe, because like I said, no control over my cooking brain when it comes to quantity.


  • In a wok or large skillet, fry a whole diced onion in plenty of oil or butter.
  • Add a bag of drained whole kernel corn. If you char the corn a little, it adds nice texture and flavor.
  • Add the  cooked rice, and fry and fry it till everything is hot and chewy and delicious.
  • Now, the seasoning. Add a little more cumin than you think you should. I didn’t measure, but add enough so you can definitely taste it. Salt to taste.
  • Pour several generous tablespoons of lemon juice over it. I only had canned, but it would be even better with a fresh lemon.
  • When it’s done cooking, take it off the heat and stir in at least half a bunch of chopped cilantro.


And there you go. Simple and delicious.

I ate it with a sort-of-caprese salad. It probably breaks some law to eat Mexican and Italian flavors together, but it was delicious. If you want to copy it, I simply tossed together:

  • Halved grape tomatoes
  • Cubed pepper jack cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A drizzle of 18 year balsamic vinegar

2 thoughts on “Cilantro Lemon Fried Rice

  1. I definitely have to make this at some point this week… or my version of it all. I do the same thing as you, I like recipes in theory but don’t follow them and I personally love the concoctions I come up with.

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