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Easy pickle made with lemons or lime, spices, oil and garlic. Lemon pickle is a popular condiment in Indian cuisine. It goes well with any Indian meal.

  • 200 g (4 large) lemons
  • ½ cup (from 4 lemons) lemon juice
  • 1¼ tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon roasted methi/fenugreek seeds, powdered
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons oil, add more if needed
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilli’s
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed, optional
  • ⅛ teaspoon asafetida / ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional:
  • If using fenugreek seeds, roast 1 teaspoon seeds on a low heat until they turn fragrant and deep golden in color. Cool this and powder finely. Measure ½ to 1 teaspoon powder for this pickle and set aside.

Rinse the lemons well under running water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Air dry them preferably overnight to ensure they are moisture free.
Ensure the chopping board, knife, bowls, spoons and pickle jar are clean and moist free. Do not use moist surfaces or cutlery while you make the pickle to avoid spoilage.
Chop 200 g lemons to desired sizes and deseed them gently with a small fork or a knife.
Extract the lemon juice from the rest of the lemons (another 200 g) and discard the seeds.
Spread the chopped lemon pieces on a clean tray and sun dry them for at least 5 hours. If you do not have sunlight, then put the tray in the oven and turn the oven on at 40ºC (104ºF), at the lowest possible settings in your oven for 1 hour, shake the tray after 30 minutes. Keep the oven door ajar (little open) throughout to avoid moisture building up inside.

Before you make the pickle, cool down all of the ingredients. This step is very important. They will become warm or slightly hot after keeping in the sun/ oven.
Add the lemon pieces to a clean glass or ceramic bowl or jar.
Pour the lemon juice, add 1 tablespoon salt and turmeric, and mix well.
Cover and rest it for 3 days at room temperature in a dry clean place. Avoid keeping this in a humid atmosphere like in the kitchen. Keep in the living room.
Stir the lemon pieces together with cayenne pepper, chili flakes and ½ to 1 teaspoon methi /fenugreek seeds powder.
Cover and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan until hot enough. Then add mustard, red chilies and crushed garlic.
Turn off when the garlic is fried to crisp and golden. Add asafetida/garlic powder and cool down the oil completely.
Pour half of the oil to the lemon pickle and give a good stir. Taste it and add more salt and cayenne pepper if needed.
Transfer this to a glass bottle. Pour the remaining oil over the pickle.
Press down the pickle so the oil floats on top. Ensure there is a layer of oil over the lemon pickle as this helps with a good shelf life.
Cover with a lid and refrigerate the lemon pickle.
It takes 10 to 20 days for the lemon pieces to be ready. When the pickle is ready, the lemon pieces will soften.
Always use dry spoons to serve the pickle. Wipe clean the sides of the jar with a clean cloth after every use.
Always remember to ensure that the lemon pickle is under the oil at all times. This helps in preserving the pickle for longer.

Recipe and photo: Elize de Kock

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