Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lime and Chilli Pickle (South Indian style)

Any house in U.S will have peanut butter in the pantry. Unless there is someone with peanut allergy in the house. I can say the same about South Indian Homes with regard to pickle. If not anything, one can eat rice mixed with yogurt topped with pickle. It is that common and an essential pantry item.
For some reason, I never developed interest in pickles. But, my relatives (actually my husband's side of the family) are too much into pickles. Even when I am not fond of them, I have been making pickles for a few years now. This one is a recipe from my father-in-law. He can give you recipe for any South Indian food. Problem is he talks about one ingredient in number, the other in kilograms the other in some kind of measure which I don't have available here. I just asked him what the ingredients are and came up with the recipe. When you talk about 20 limes, people are not paying attention to how big they are. I have seen limes twice the size of limes we get in India. To make it easy, I converted everything into cups. You can increase the chillies if you like the pickle with more heat.
One year back - Mango Milk Shake

Limes - Quartered or cut into eighths if big and measured  8 cups
Limes - 4 - 6 for juicing
Salt - 1 1/2 cups (Go easy on it in the beginning - start with 1 cup)
Green chillies - stalks removed and measured 4 cups
Ginger - Peeled and diced small and then measured 2 cups
Fenugreek seeds / Methi - 1/4 cup
Asafoetida / Hing - size of a pea
Oil - 1 cup (I used mustard oil but you can use any flavorless oil)
Mustard seeds - 1 TBSP
Turmeric - 2 heaping tsp

Wash limes well and pat them dry. Cut them into 8th if big or quarter them if small. Place them in a clean, dry glass jar or a porcelain  dish which has a lid. Place a layer of limes, sprinkle salt, another layer of limes, salt and keep repeating this till all are used up.

Remove the stalks from green chillies. Wash and dry on a paper towel. Measure and after measuring, chop them  into thirds or halves. Add it to the lime and salt mixture. Squeeze the remaining limes reserved for juicing into the pot. Mix the chopped ginger and mix well. Cover with the lid and let it sit for 2 weeks. Every other day, stir with a clean and dry spatula.

At the end of 2 weeks, stir and taste a piece. If it has become soft and has absorbed the salt, it is ready to be seasoned. Some limes have thicker skin and they might take a little longer. You should be able to bite into the lime easily.
Roast the fenugreek/methi seeds till golden. Powder it along with asafoetida when cool. Add this powder to the lime, chilli mixture. Stir well. In a pan, take the oil. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, turn off the heat. After couple of minutes, add the turmeric into the hot oil. When the oil has cooled down a bit but still warm, add it to the lime and chilli mixture. Mix it all up. Cover and let it sit for a day or two at room temperature. Usually pickle stays fine at room temperature for a year if not contaminated by any moisture. I prefer to refrigerate mine since it doesn't get used up fast in my house.

Don't leave a stainless steel or metal spoon in the container. Salt will affect the metal. Do not store the pickle in any metal container either. Glass or ceramic or plastic containers are the best to store pickles.

Enjoy. Pin It


  1. I havent made pickles at home yet.. just end up picking up the sanjeev kapoor pickles fromt he store these days..
    i dint eat pickles at all till some years back.. now i cant eat without them..:)
    -Richa @ Hobby And More Blog
    Hobby And More on Facebook

  2. Most people from the previous generation speak that way, I think.....I never ask my mother for measurements. I just ask her for the ingredients and the rough ratio of each to the other.

  3. I can't imagine an Indian house without pickles/aachar either.
    The chili and lime ones sound very versatile and very flavorful and delicious.

  4. Fingerlicking pickle, mouthwatering here..

  5. Champa, when it comes to pickle Lovers, the whole India comes in the same catoegory, though diff. kinds are prepared in diff. states. In north every season have it's speciality, like right now it's time to make mango pickle for the whole your version of nimbu pickle.....last time I asked my mom about one punjabi aachar & she didn't mention one man ingredient, i mean when to add that & when I mentioned it she said that's obvious U have to put that....moms....but me too if not blogging don't measure it....

  6. True, we will not find a single Indian house without pickles. This pickle looks tongue tickler :)

  7. I am not a great fan of pickles.. This looks great..


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