Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lemon Pickle or Nimbu Ka Achaar

Summer season is one particular season, which we were looking forward to this year here. Don’t get me wrong , when I speak of summer, I mean summers in western countries not the one we are habitual of seeing in India.I know it’s harsh and cruel as compared to the mild weather here.I just love the warmth of sun rays coming through our window glass and when it touches you, you feel rejuvenated. One thing which was on my to-do-list was to prepare home-made lemon pickle. I know what you must be thinking when so many good quality pickles are available in supermarkets, why to take pain for a lengthy and long process.

I know, but sometimes a simple thing to do can be very challenging and pickle making is one thing. So, I ventured out to this unknown zone. And over a time I have come up with this recipe to make my home-made lemon pickle. Pictures shared below is my 3rd attempt in making lemon pickle and turn out so good that I thought it’s worth of mentioning here. I don’t count half way efforts and when it can satisfy my level of expectations then only I go ahead and talk about it here. If you are just trying it out first time and things don’t go the way you have expected, don’t loose your heart there is always a second time.If I can do it so can you.Give it a try sometime.

I was always so intrigued by my Hindi speaking friends.And their delicious Tiffin box for which they used to have at least one type of achaar daily with a sabzi and paratha .Be it nimbu ka achaar or aam ka achaar or karounde ka achaar and so on…
I know if they happen to taste this perhaps they would have told me-“No we don’t add curry patta to our nimbu ka achaar.”
Then I would have gone on to say-“But this is how one of my south Indian friends makes it.”
So, perhaps they would have gone on to tell me this is not authentic, traditional nimbu ka achaar.
Isn’t it great how a simple nimbu ka achaar can be made in two different, sorry three or may be four different ways? Such is the diversity of our Indian cuisine for that matter our culture.

I liked the flavor of this achaar, spicy, tangy and it goes well with my dal and moong dal’er bhaat.
Now am I giving doubts to my Bengali friends-“eyi bhabhe bhaat, moong dal er sathe lebur achaar keo khaye naki, horrible!! Begun bhaja, aloo bhaja nahole potol bhaja khaye, keo Hindustani’r moton lebur achaar khaye naki.” But we do like eating with a fresh cut slice of lemon, isn’t?

Adapted from This Recipe, I do think I have improvised it a lot to suit our taste buds.
You can almost double,  may be triple the content for a full jar of lemon pickle. For 3 persons, I do think below measurements serve well.

Lemon pickle
Recipe requirements
4 -6 lemons
2 lemons for lemon juice
2-4 garlic (if you wish to add)
3-4 green chilies (if you wish to add)
Salt as per taste –I added about less than ¼ cup of salt.
Less than ¼ cup of sugar (if you wish to add, but not necessary)
½ tsp of methi powder/ grounded fenugreek
¼ cup of paprika
3-4 tbs of oil to add later
1 tsp of turmeric powder
For tempering
1 tsp of hing
2-3 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of cumin seeds
4-5 small dry red pepper
About 20 curry patta or 4-5 twigs of curry patta
2-3 tbs of cooking oil/sunflower oil

Chop and cut 6 lemons into small cubes. Make sure to get rid off any seeds if any. Wash them in running water.
Now most important dry them very well before you start making pickle. Traces of water can spoil the pickle. Fungus may grow due to the moisture that is being trapped inside.
On a kitchen towel or you may use strong quality tissue paper to dry them up. Scatter all over; make sure they do not overlap. It may take up to 5-6 hrs if exposed to proper and continuous sunlight. Summers are best time for pickling specially after Holi.I made this batch in the month of June and it’s almost September ready to be eaten.
Now squeeze out juice from 2 lemons and keep them aside. Make sure to get rid off any seeds.
In a big mixing bowl, mix in cut lemon cubes, lemon juice, salt, sugar, cooking oil, paprika, fenugreek powder, chopped garlic and green chilies.

Prepare the tempering
Heat up a saucepan, add oil.
Temper it with hing/asfoetida, cumin seeds,dry red pepper and mustard seeds and curry patta.
Let it cool completely.If you wish you may go ahead and mix it well with the prepared pickle.
Otherwise wait for 3-4 days and then temper it.Meanwhile keep the lid closed and place the jar in direct contact of sunlight or at least 3-4 hrs daily sunshine.In India 1-2 hrs of sun exposure is sufficient.
It’s entirely up to you to add this tempering, if you do not wish you can skip it. Somehow I feel this adds up to the flavor of ripened pickle.
Store in a clean glass bottle which has tight lid.TIP- I happened to have a pasta jar which I cleaned it well with warm soap water and then sun dry it for 2 days.I used this jar for storing pickles. I have seen one of my UPean friends home, people use ceramic vessels called as “burni” and they cover it with a clean muslin or thick cotton cloth.
Transfer the mixed pickle to ripe and add rest of the oil and close the lid tightly.
Place it where you can get plenty of direct sunlight. It will take approx 2 months for proper ripening.
Meanwhile you may just shake the content and if you wish with a clean dry spoon (wipe dry with a cotton cloth), you may shuffle the content inside once in a while.

You should choose good fresh lemons without any bruises on skin.
Do not hurry up, initial few days it will turn out very sour. I thought it’s better to add some sugar to overcome the sourness of lemons. But if you do like very sour and spicy pickle you can avoid adding sugar and add little bit of red pepper powder to enhance the spice content.
I happened to add some garlic and green chilies also. But it turn out the garlic's were not soft, any reasons for that.
Be careful about methi/fenugreek. Too much fenugreek can actually turn the pickle bitter.
When I was making this, I was short of hing/asafoetida, but still this has turned out nice. So, if you wish you may skip hing.But asafoetida has remarkable medicinal value. It helps to reduce stomach related disorders and is great for digestion purpose.If you think, you should include it.

There is a No-oil lemon pickle recipe  at  Manisha's Indian Food Rocks. I have made that also, and it tastes delicious too.
And here at VKN's My Dhaba  also.

Then here at Mona'a Zaiqa  also.

Thanks for visiting Spice and Curry


  1. the pics have got me salivating....

  2. Tongue tickling pickle..yumm/!

  3. amio ebhabei banai anekta tabe lebuguloke age ektu mojie ni. ekhane lebur skin khub mota nayto naram hayna. darun bolecho tabe dal bhat achar keu khay naki. tabe tomar dale amio.

  4. S,
    Thanks :-)..

    thanks :-)..

    hain tempering ekto pore dile O hoye , lebu moje gele aro bhalo khete hoye..

    Thanks :-)..

    thanks ladies for visiting and leaving your footprints..
    hugs and smiles

  5. Lebu dekhle mukhe jol ashe kaeno? This is my husband's fav pickle. Thank you for the step by step process, you have made my life simple.

  6. oh my what a mouth watering pickle ..drooling here


  7. O how delicious! And the photos are so lovely too.

  8. Pree,
    yes, and aajkal tumar abostha te aro hobe tai na..try korbe bhishon bhalo lagey barir tuiri lebur achaar..

    thanks for coming.


    hi and thanks for liking pics.

    thanks all for coming here
    hugs and smiles

  9. Dear Jaya
    I feel good that you liked the Venice posting.
    This achar recipe looks good ( with that dash of garlic..humm), must pass it to Voudi.
    Garlics are tough nut to crack normally, so you have to boil and add ( but the smell will go completely and no use of adding). Let it be like that or just smash few and add.
    Have a nice day

  10. Ushnish Da,
    Exactly , I also thought of boiling it or precooking it and then adding it but thought it may spoil the pickle..well I let it remained like that and it turned out crunchy.But taste wise this pickle is incredible.Thanks for coming by.

  11. Dal bhaat diye lebur achar amar khub bhalo lage


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