photo of Assamese Style Lemon Chicken

Assamese Style Kaji nemu/lemon chicken

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Assamese cuisine is simple and based on fresh local ingredients. We love our sour curries and enjoy a variety of citrus fruits. Kaji Nemu is a variety of lemon which is high on flavor and low on juice. Chicken curry with Karzi Nemu and rice powder is a dish I had wanted to prepare for a very long time. 

I used the rind and juice both for this dish. Simple spices which are readily available are used, and the preferred cooking oil is mustard oil. However, I tried this recipe with both mustard oil and regular refined oil separately. We loved both. I used rice powder slurry, just as in a traditional Assamese kitchen, to thicken the gravy. 

Karzi or Kaji Nemu is ingenious to Assam, and it will be difficult for you to find a replacement. You may try it with the regular lemon and reduce the juice by half. 

My mum makes the best lemonade with these. No matter how hard I try, it’s almost impossible to replicate, especially without this particular variety of lemon. Our meals are incomplete without a slice of this lemon. In every restaurant and even in marriages, a tiny bowl with salt, green chilies, and slices of kaji nemu is mandatory. If you ask me, we prefer a piece of fresh lemon over pickles too. 

I do hope you try and like this recipe.   

photo of Assamese Style Lemon Chicken
Recipe of Assamese Style Lemon Chicken

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2-3


  • Chicken 500 gms
  • Kaji lemon 2
  • Onion 1
  • Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp
  • Paprika ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder ½ tsp
  • Panch phoron 1 tsp ( mix of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and black sesame seeds)
  • Dried chili 2
  • Fresh chili 2
  • Fresh coriander ½ cup
  • Rice powder ½ tsp + ¼ cup water
  • Salt


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the panch phoron. Once the oil is flavored, add the chilies and onion.
  2. Saute till the onions are soft, and then add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix the powdered spice (turmeric, cumin powder, paprika, and coriander powder) with a tablespoon of water and add to the pan.
  3. Once the oil starts releasing, add the chicken pieces.
  4. Cook on high heat with continuous stirring for 30 seconds. Then turn down the heat and let the chicken cook through.
  5. Add the zest of one lemon, juice of two, and half a cup of water. Gradually add the rice powder slurry and keep stirring.
  6. Thicken the gravy to your desired consistency. Serve hot with steamed rice. 


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