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An Amazing Indian Lime Pickle Recipe That Blows Store Bought Away

Lime Pickle recipe

This spicy Indian lime pickle is the best!

This lime pickle is a real show-piece!

I am so happy to have been taught this lime pickle recipe. I love lime pickle and have since I was first introduced to Indian food. It goes fantastically well with homemade naan bread, pappadams, samosas and as a side to many curries. Lime pickle is served at almost every Indian restaurant and would be greatly missed if it weren’t!

There was a time when I always had a supermarket brand name jar of lime pickle in the fridge. These days I make my own and believe me the taste is so much better. This recipe was taught to me by the chef of our local tandoori. He too used to serve those name brand pickles but now swears by this recipe.

 

This lime pickle recipe makes quite a lot but the pickle lasts indefinitely in a sterilised jar in a cool dark place such as a cupboard to the fridge.

INGREDIENTS for lime pickle

1kg (2 lbs) limes – stab holes in each lime and then cut into eight pieces
125g (1/3 cup) salt
40 cloves of garlic
50g 1/2 cup red chilli powder

for the tempering

150ml (3/4 cup vegetable oil
30 grams (1/3 cup) white cumin seeds
3 Tablespoons black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

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Method

Place the limes in a bowl and add the salt, whole garlic cloves and red chilli powder. Mix well coating the limes and pressing down on them as you do. Retain the juices and place the mixture into a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes until they are quite soft.

Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and cover with a towel. Leave in the sun or a warm place for two days. Mix every eight hours to keep the limes coated with all the other ingredients.

At the end of day two, warm the vegetable oil over high heat. When the oil is smoking slightly, throw in the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and the asafoetida. The mustard seeds will begin to pop. When they do, pour the oil mixtures of the limes and stir well.

Pour in the reserved lime juices too.

Lime pickle takes some time to make but it’ll be worth it!

Cover again with the towel and allow to sit in the sun or a warm place for another two days.

At the end of two days scoop the lime pickle into a food processor and process to a chunky or smooth paste. Place this in a sterilised air tight container and let sit in a cool place for at least two weeks before serving.

Be sure to stop back by and let me know if you like this lime pickle. I promise you this lime pickle recipe is far better than anything you can purchase in a jar.




37 Responses to “An Amazing Indian Lime Pickle Recipe That Blows Store Bought Away”

  1. Leone Evrenos says:

    I am just making the first stage of the pickle, the limes are in the steamer. Looking forward to eating it along with my home made Indian food, particularly with my Mangalorean Prawn curry which has Kashmiri chillies in it. My mouth is watering! I will get back to you when we have tried the pickle.

    Leone U.K.

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Thanks for that Leone! I hope you like the Indian pickle. I sure do. Be sure to stop back and let me know how it goes!

  2. Leone Evrenos says:

    Absolutely delicious! my son eats it with just about everything. Would definitely make more!! I would also like a sweet and sour version, can you suggest how much sugar to add to the full recipe? and could brown sugar be used instead of white?

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Hi Leone

      Thank you! I’m really glad you and your son like the recipe. I am currently experimenting with a sweet and sour version. I haven’t tasted it yet but if all turns out as planned, I will post the recipe. I used jaggery (a pure Indian sugar) for my recipe. You could use soft brown sugar but I would stay away from dark sugar as it would be over-powering.

      I will send you an email when I post the recipe.

      Dan

  3. Jessie’s Crazy Kitchen has just sent me here, and I’m not disappointed. I’m going to have a Curry Guy Weekend when I get back from Manchester. Sublime stuff

  4. sarah lucas says:

    I’m going to give this a try, quick question, do you leave the limes in a bowl, and then steam, or just pop them into the steamer , in which case don’t you lose lots of juices?

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Hi Sally

      I think I need to revise this recipe a little.

      You want to squeeze as much of the juices out of the limes as possible with the salt. Keep the juices and then steam. If you want, you could steam them in a normal steamer or keep the limes in the same bowl with the juice and steam them in a larger pot with a lid. If you do this, be sure to put a cloth under the bowl so it doesn’t shatter.

      When the limes are quite soft – 15 minutes – follow the rest of the recip. Good luck with it and be sure to let me know how it goes. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from this recipe.

      • Zoe says:

        Hi Dan,
        I’m keen to try this recipe and just wanted to clarify about the steaming! Once you’ve squeezed the juices out of the limes, do you then put the limes & garlic cloves into the steamer? I just have a metal steamer that sits over hot water in a saucepan. Once the 15 minutes are up do you add the juices back to the lime & garlic mixture to sit in the sun or wait until the end of day 2?
        Many thanks,
        Zoƫ

        • Dan Toombs says:

          That’s right Zoe. Please print this recipe out as I have to remove it in the next day or so. It’s in my ebook and I can’t have a version online. Good luck with this one. I love it.

  5. margaret says:

    In your list of ingredients there is no sugar, yet in your comments you say you used jaggery, how much sugar do you use in this recipe and when do you add it? as I’m really eager to make this pickle, thank you.

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Hi Margaret

      This recipe doesn’t have any sugar in it. There is a sweet version that I would like to make but haven’t done so yet. I will probably do it in the Summer.

      Hope this helps and good luck.
      Dan

  6. guy says:

    Tasted a spoonful as I bottled it. Flavour fresh and excellent but a bit salty at the moment. Certainly tastes like like pickle and not lime chutney which is usually in the commercial bottles.

    I miss the caramelized flavour a bit but I suppose you cannot have it both ways either fresh or stewed, not both without a blowtorch which I might try!

  7. Ralph Wilkin says:

    Opened my first batch this weekend. Great flavour. The limes really come through making it fresher that then bought stuff. The only real problem is that it doesn’t make enough. I’ll be doubling up on the next batch.

    Brought half a jar in to work today to try to convert the masses.

    • Dan Toombs says:

      I hope you converted them. I know what you mean about the amount. I go through it quite quickly but not everyone does. I decided to keep it small but I do make a lot more for myself. :) Thanks for trying.

  8. Giles says:

    Hi Dan, im excited about trying this recipe!! Could I change the chilli powder to fresh chillis and if so how many would I need? Also how long can I keep this pickle before it goes off?

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Hi Giles

      I made a batch about eight months ago. It seems to get better with age. I think eight months is about as long as I would keep it though.

      You can use fresh chillies. I would use a lot but that’s just because I really like spicy food. Start adding the chilli slowly, taste and decide which is best for you. Add too much and it could be ruined. Don’t add enough and you could always add more heat later. Enjoy.

  9. Peter says:

    Hi Dan
    Looking forward to trying the lime pickle. I spend a lot of time in Greece where we are averaging 34 degrees at the moment so would you still leave it in the sun or put it in the shade for the 2 days? Also do you have a recipe for aubegine pickle I have a lot of them.
    Thanks

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Thanks Peter

      I do have a recipe for aubergine pickle but not typed yet. I’ll work on that in the next few weeks.

  10. Diana says:

    Hi Dan

    I have just bought A whole box of limes for the princely sum of one pound and your recipe was the first one I clicked on to so I am very excited about trying out the lime pickle!
    Just one question, some of the limes are quite yellow. Is that good or bad?

    • Dan Toombs says:

      I don’t think that should be a problem Diana but to be honest, I’ve never tried. Cut into one and see how it tastes. If it tastes like a lime I think you’ll be alright. :-)

  11. Seamus says:

    Hi Dan

    I’m really intrigued by this recipe. I just have one question.

    It seems that most of the salt and chilli powder will be washed off when the juice is separated from the limes. What little remains will surely be washed off during the steaming. Is this an issue? Is it worth holding some salt and chilli back to add to the limes for their first two days of sitting?

    Thanks.

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Hi Seamus

      Let me know if it’s not very clear. Thanks for your comment. The salt helps get the excess juice out of the limes before steaming. If you steamed the limes with the juices, you would lose a lot of flavour. You need to retain the juices and then add them again after the first day in the sun. The limes are usually quite salty and spicy but you can always add more to taste. I hope this helps. Dan

  12. Barbara says:

    I would like to try your recipe. How much does this make? What size jar(s) should I use?

  13. Suzy bradley says:

    Hiya, Well I made this pickle a month or so ago, and I have to say that it is amazing, shared it around friends, and they all agree and now want the recipe to make more
    So
    Many thanks

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Thank you for trying the recipe. I’m really glad you liked it. I’m making a batch now. Almost ready.

      Dan

  14. Peter Thornton says:

    This lime pickle is superb. Simply the best I have made. As you say it takes a little time to make but is worth the effort.
    Thanks for the recipe
    Pete

  15. Aimee Czifra says:

    Do you think if would work with grapefruit I have a tree in the garden and didn’t want to make a lifetime supply of marmalade!

    • Dan Toombs says:

      To be honest I don’t think it would work. That said, please give it a go! It might just taste fantastic.

  16. teri gunderson says:

    Life has changed with this recipe. I live in Oaxaca, Mexico and though I love all of the food here, I do miss Indian food. I am a good cook and make many things, but my indian meals were so dull without pickle. I would beg people to bring it to me but finally I decided enough is enough. I tried a few recipes, it takes a while to test them. Then I tried your recipe. My first batch was very good. But lately the batches are even better. When the limes are cheap and the sun is strong I am now making a batch a week. A favorite snack is leftover rice, yogurt and pickle. Thanks so much

    • Dan Toombs says:

      Thank you very much Teri.

      I’m really glad you like the recipe. It’s one of my favourite pickle recipes.

      Dan

  17. Flossie says:

    You mention this recipe and method was taught to you by the chef of a local restaurant….how about crediting the source properly….by name?

  18. Caroline says:

    Last year I made the recipe for the first time and didn’t get it quite right: I didn’t understand that you push down on the limes to extract all the juice. I thought I was giving the mixture a pretty good squeeze when mixing with the salt and chili but there weren’t many juices to retain so I was wondering where I went wrong. EVEN SO the product was amazing. This year, thanks to the people who have left comments asking for clarification, I have produced a product which both looks like the photo above AND that taste amazing in the way that it is intended to taste. So I want to extend my thanks to you for this recipe and to them for taking the initiative to ask you a question BEFORE they stuffed up. I should have done the same.

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