Lemon pickle is a very simple pickle yet it adds an instant zing to any meal. Pair it with parathas, rotis, dal rice or curd rice, and instantly even a boring meal suddenly becomes very interesting.
The key to making any pickle and preserving it for a good length of time unrefrigerated is clean utensils. Make absolutely sure that everything is clean and dry. There should be no trace of water on the jars or spoons or anything that touches the pickle. Each time you serve the pickle, be sure to only use a clean and dry spoon.
This pickle takes about 7 days of slow cooking in the hot sun. I mix the cut lemons with salt and place the closed jar in the sun for a week. It is important to make it when the weather forecast calls for clear sunny skies. Summers are an ideal time. I have also made it in winter by just placing the jar indoors next to a sunny window.
I like to use Kashmiri chili powder to give it a bright red color. If you prefer your lemon pickle hot, you may use regular chili powder or paprika. When the pickle is ready, press it in another clean jar and then pour oil on top so that the oil covers the pickle. This prevents spoilage.
- Air tight glass jar
- 3-4 big lemons
- 2-3 tbsp salt
- 3/4 – 1 cup sesame oil
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 pinch hing or asafoetida
- 2-3 tbsp red chili powder
- Wash lemons in water, wipe them and set them aside for a few hours to dry.
- Cut lemons in bite-sized pieces. Try to remove as many seeds as possible.
- Place lemons in an air-tight glass jar and add salt.
- Mix well by shaking the jar.
- Leave the jar in sunlight for a week. Keep it indoors at night. Stir the lemons daily.
After one week
- Saute about 10-15 seeds of fenugreek (methi) until they turn reddish brown. Don't burn the methi. Grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle.
- In a small saucepan, heat oil to its smoking point. Add mustard seeds till they splutter. Add a pinch of hing or asafoetida and turn off the heat. Let this oil cool to room temperature.
- In a clean mixing bowl, transfer the lemons from the jar, add chili powder, crushed methi, and half the oil and mix well.
- Transfer the pickle to another clean jar and press gently. Pour the remaining oil on top of the pickle to keep it fresh longer.
- Keep this jar in a cool dark place and enjoy your pickle.
Try another wonderful pickle – the whole red chili pepper pickle.