KHATTA MEETHA NIMBU KA ACHAR / नींबू का खट्टा-मीठा अचार (No-Oil Sweet n Sour Lime Pickle)

How about a tangy pickle for Christmas Food Gift?!

Typically the tangy flavours of lemon are associated with the cheerful and bright season of summer. However, what is interesting is that despite them being available throughout the year, lemon season begins in late fall & throughout the winter (I happened to read that somewhere). Perhaps that is nature’s way of providing us with a healthy dose of vit C to boost our immunity through the winters!

This is essentially a winter pickle. The three key spices –  black cardamoms, cloves and dry ginger powder –  are all ‘warm’ spices that are used mostly during the winters here; thereby lending the pickle warm tangy flavour. 
Bring in the summer shine with this lemon pickle. Pop them chopped in to your mayo or aioli for a tangy hit or add chopped or mashed into your chicken marinade for a lemony chicken. Enjoy them with a flat bread of your choice or with pour its juices into your favorite lentil soup. They would be great added to pasta sauce. 
I enjoy this pickle when it had aged for a few weeks. You will be amazed how just three key spices bring out so much flavor in this pickle. The beautifully spiced, sweet n tangy fleshy roundels of this pickle play a symphony on the taste buds. The pickle pairs beautifully with the Curd Rice
You will need
½ kilo limes (ensure they are thin skinned, shiny and plump)
2½ tbsp salt
250 grams sugar (this is the amount if you like it more on the sour side. Increase the amount if                                                      you like your pickle more sweet)
5 black cardamoms (seeds only)
5 cloves
1 tbsp dry ginger powder
1½ tsp – 2 tsp chili powder (depending on how hot the chili powder is)

Scrub and wash the limes and soak them for 8 hours (overnight) in water. Wipe them well with a kitchen towel and slice them into roundels (as shown in the pic) and remove the pips.

Transfer the sliced lime in a non- reactive container and sprinkle with salt. Let them marinate in salt for approximately 3 hours; the limes will release water. 
Remove the slices and use the water form making the syrup. (I could procure ¼ cup water from the limes). Transfer the water in a thick bottomed non-reactive pot and add the sugar. Cook the two together on a low flame, stirring in between, till the sugar has dissolved.
While the syrup is getting dissolved, pound the cloves and cardamom seeds to a coarse powder and add the rest of the dry ingredients to it. Add the dry ingredients to the syrup and cook for half a minute. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool. 
As soon as the syrup cools down, add the lemon slices and stir well. Let the pickle sit for half an hour in the container.  Transfer the pickle to a glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth (doubled) and keep the jar in the morning sun (if you are living in a cold place, keep it in the sun when it is at its strongest) for 3-4 hours. Repeat this exercise for 10 days. The pickle is now ready to eat J
Note: Pick the lemons that are soft, juicy and without blemishes.

Note: I let the pickle age for at least a fortnight before I start using it. By then the lemon juice becomes syrupy and less sharp.


52 thoughts on “KHATTA MEETHA NIMBU KA ACHAR / नींबू का खट्टा-मीठा अचार (No-Oil Sweet n Sour Lime Pickle)

  1. I was just talking to my mother about making lime pickle.. it’s one of my favorites. She told me to wait for the summer… that’s months away. 🙁 Wish I could grab some of yours off the screen. 🙂

  2. oooh I love the idea of pickles as gifts, I so often think about nut butters and all, but yeah, pickles would make a great gift. Love this.

  3. Reminds me of my mom’s achar…It’s such a stable accompaniment with a parantha in North Indian families

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