Lemon Pickle Recipe (Limbiye Nonche)
Pickle some lemons & green chillies at home to obtain a delicious, spicy, tangy pickle in 8-15 days. The one on the left in the picture above. Or make dried red chilli, mustard seed powder along with crystal asafoetida, turmeric powder, fenugreek seeds & mix them with pickled lemons to obtain a spicy pickle. The one on the right. Pickle making isn't as laborious & hard as you think. It just requires a little patience & some care while making. Making sure every bit of utensil, instrument you use to make pickle, is perfectly dry. With no moisture content in them, so that pickle has a good shelf life. Or else pickle tends to get spoilt with time. Apart from that, making pickle is a breeze, like everyday cooking, provided you get the proportions right. :)
Both the above lemon pickles are delicious & make a hell of a lunch, dinner when are had with curd rice or congee (pyej in Konkani). They're pretty easy to make, so give a small batch a try.
- 10 yellow, ripe lemons
- 1.5 cups of rock salt
- 15-20 green chillies
- 3/4 cup of mustard seeds - 1/2 cup of mustard seed powder
- 100g of dried red chillies - 1 cup dried red chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
- A chickpea sized asafoetida crystal
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of oil
Serves: 20-40 servings
Preparation Method: 1.5 hours
Lemons to be used to make pickle:
Use lemons that have ripened. In India ripe lemons are usually, completely yellow in colour. Ripe lemons get soft quick, thus get mixed in well & make delicious pickles. Don't use raw or hard lemons to make this pickle.
1. Take utmost care while making this pickle, see to it that no external water or water droplets get into this pickle while making it. Whether you're making a small batch or a big one, to store it for years to come. Or else they tend to get spoilt, way too fast. When they aren't made with care they won't have a shelf life of even 5-7 days unless stored in the fridge.
2. All the bowls, spoon, blender etc., should be clean and dry.
Pickling lemons & green chillies to obtain delicious pickled lemons & green chillies:
- Wash, cloth dry lemons. Get them completely dry.
- Then cut each lemon into 4 or 8 pieces depending on their size.
- Remove off green chilli stalks. Wash, cloth dry green chillies. Make sure they're completely dry.
- Make a slit in each green chilli, up until 1/4 portion of each chilli at the top, so that it's spice gets into the pickle.
- Heat rock salt in a wok for 4-5 minutes or until its hot.
- Add lemons, slit green chillies into a dry, clean jar. Glass or plastic jar. Add hot rock salt into the jar, mix well & keep it aside closed for 8-15 days. Yup, that wasn't a mistake. You read it right. Add hot rock salt to lemons & green chillies in the jar.
- Lemons & green chillies get little soft with time, take up salt & you get a delicious, tangy, spicy, salty pickle to enjoy. Lemons give out water & it’s tang gets mixed in well with the spice of green chillies to give you a delicious pickle.
- This pickle taste delicious with white rice or brown rice congee (pyej in Konkani) or with curd rice.
- Or you can make a spicy pickle out of these pickled lemons & green chillies.
Once the lemons are well pickled, lemons are little soft (after 8-15 days) & aren't hard any more, their tang & spice from green chillies would be well combined to give you a delicious pickle. That's when you can grind a spicy pickle to make a spicy lemon pickle.
8-15 days because some lemons get soft real quick, faster than other varieties of lemons. How ripe your lemons were while pickling also, plays a role.
Preparing spicy lemon pickle using pickled lemons & green chillies after 8-15 days of pickling:
- Fry mustard seeds in a dry wok on medium heat. When few mustards just start to pop put off the flame. If they don’t pop, fry them for 3-4 minutes or until their colour changes.
- Fry dried red chillies in a dry wok until you start to get an aroma of fried red chillies. Should take 3-4 minutes on medium heat. We just want dried red chillies to get hot so that they crisp up.
- Dry roast both mustard seeds & dried red chillies. To fasten frying, you can use only 1 teaspoon of oil max or else while powdering, the powders will get sticky.
- In a tempering pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil, add in fenugreek seeds. When they start to shimmer or start popping (sometimes fenugreek seeds don’t pop, in that case don’t wait or you’ll over fry them), add in turmeric powder, crystal asafoetida & remove it off heat.
- Let all the above fried items cool down.
- Grind dried red chillies into a fine powder in a dry mixer. When they’re almost powdered, add in mustard & grind them into a fine powder. When they’re almost done, add in rest of the fried ingredients & grind them until you get a fine powder.
- Let the powder cool for 25-30 minutes. They would be hot from the powdering.
- Then add them into the bottle containing lemons and mix well. Water given out by lemons help in giving you a nice pickle.
- They are ready to be served. They taste best after a week. That’s when they would be well combined to taste delicious.
- If you’ve taken utmost care while making this pickle, seen to it that no external water, water droplets have got into this pickle while making it, then you can store this pickle for years to come.
- With time, lemons get soft & dissolve in the pickle.
P.S: If you aren’t too keen on the plain lemon-green chilli pickle & just want spicy lemon pickle, then you can skip using green chillies in the 1st part.
Storing this pickle:
- If you are preparing very little pickle & don't plan on storing it for long, then you can use table salt instead of rock salt.
- If you’ve taken utmost care while making this pickle, seen to it that no external water, water droplets have got into this pickle, then you can store this pickle for years to come. With time, just raw mango pieces in this pickle will get soft.
- You can use a clean, dry, plastic or glass jars/boxes to store this pickle. Seal it air tight & store it in a dry place or in the fridge if you've made a small batch.
- Transfer small batches of the pickle into plastic/glass bottles to be served.
- Every time the jars are opened, a dry spoon should be used to transfer the pickle & the pickle jar has to be sealed shut with the same care as mentioned above.
Serve this lemon pickle on the side with dalithoy & steaming hot rice.
Serve this lemon pickle with curd rice, brown rice or white rice congee/gruel.
Other pickles you could try are:
Raw Mango Pickle (Ambuli Nonche, Karmbi Nonche)
Bilimbi Pickle (Bimbla nonche)
Raw Jackfruit Pickle (Kadgi Nonché)
Hog Plum Pickle (Ambade Hindi)
Shredded Raw Mango Pickle Recipe (Hindi/Kochla Nonche)
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