Lemon pickle (nimbe hannina uppinakayi) step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Lemon pickle or nimbe hannina uppinakayi is a delicious accompaniment that is a regular part of lunch and dinner in Karnataka. Every summer, we make pickles and preserve them to last the entire year. Pickles made in south India are very different from the ones made in north India. South Indian pickles are made with gingelly oil and the amount of oil used to make the pickle is also less. The most common pickles are lemon and mango pickle. These traditional pickles are made by a natural fermentation process and take anywhere between three to five weeks to mature. It is believed that pickles aid in the digestion of food. Some pickles are made instantly and do not involve the fermentation process.
Homemade lemon pickle is my absolute favourite. A piece of lemon pickle with a bowl of curd rice (mosarrana) is where my soul lives (and my daughter's too). Making pickle at home works really well when we have to serve it to kids as we can control the amount of spices we add and the oil we use.
It is said that making pickles is an art. Many of us don't try making them because it is considered difficult to make. This recipe is a keeper if you have never tried making pickles or if you have not succeeded. Take care of a few points I have mentioned below and you will master the art of pickling. The actual time involved in making the pickle is very little as it is mostly the fermentation time when nature works its magic.
Tips and tricks
Wash and clean the lemon thoroughly. Then pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Everything used to make the pickle must be clean and dry. This includes the cutting board, the knife to cut the lemon, the mixing spoon, and the jar in which you will make the pickle. It is really important to make sure there is no water anywhere.
Make sure the spoon you use to mix the pickle is clean and dry.
The best way to dry the pickling jar once you wash it well is to place it next to a window with direct sunlight. This way, the jar will be completely dry.
The time it takes for the pickle to mature can vary. It can take anywhere between three to five weeks. Be patient!
Iodine-free salt works best for pickles. I have used Himalayan pink salt in this recipe. You can also use sea salt.
Don't cut back on putting salt in the pickle. This salt is needed to remove the water from lemon and for its preservation.
Click here for instant tomato pickle recipe.
Click here for instant raw turmeric pickle recipe.
Step by step instructions
1. Wash and dry the lemon, then chop them
2. Layer lemon pieces and salt in a clean, dry jar
3. Add the remaining salt on the top
4. Add the lemon juice
5. Close the lid and let it sit for fermentation in a cool dark place
6. Once the salt is dissolved, add the spices (after 4 or 5 days)
7. Mix well and spoon it back into the jar
8. Lemon pickle is mature and ready to be used
9. Prepare tempering and mix it with the pickle
10. Lemon pickle is ready to be stored
- 15-20 lemons
- Juice of 2 lemons
- ½ cup salt (pink salt or sea salt)
- ¼ cup Kashmiri red chilli powder
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
- Wash lemons and pat dry well with clean kitchen towel
- Wash and dry the knife, cutting board, jar and spoon
- Chop the lemon into eight pieces. The cut lemon should be approximately 3 to 3½ cups
- In the jar, add a layer of lemon pieces and sprinkle 1 teaspoon with salt
- Add another layer of lemon pieces and sprinkle salt again
- Repeat until all the lemon pieces are layered
- Sprinkle all the remaining salt on the top
- Add the lemon juice over this
- Cover the jar with a lid. Let it sit in a dark and dry spot at room temperature for four to five days. Open the lid to air the jar every 24 hours. After closing the lid, give the jar a good shake
- At the end of 4th or 5th day, all the salt will be dissolved. At this stage, it is ready to be mixed with spices
- Dry roast fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. Cool it and grind into a fine powder
- Transfer the lemon along with all the liquid into a clean and dry bowl
- Add the ground powder and Kashmiri chilli powder. Mix well with a clean and dry spoon
- Transfer it back to the jar and close the lid
- Let it sit in dark and dry spot at room temperature for the next three to four weeks
- To check if the pickle is ready, take a piece of piece of pickle and press it with your fingers. The lemon should be soft and should break easily
- Once the pickle is ready, prepare the tempering. Heat oil and mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add the hing and turn off the flame
- Let the tempering cool and then add it to the pickle. Mix the tempering well with the pickle
- The pickle is ready to be served or stored