Monday, January 21, 2013

Manisha's Lemon Pickle -- No oil and so good

Last week at Wegman's I chanced upon a bag of Meyer lemons. Now earlier I had no clue about these lemons and so they never caught my eye or fancy. However every other person I know in the blog world has posted something or the other about Meyer lemons in the recent past. So when I saw them at Wegman's I had to buy them even though they were going more expensive than my 5 for $1.00 lemons at Patel Brothers. But you know I told myself "these were no ordinary lemons and it is not every day that I get to see them", so I bought a bag of lemons.

Having no specific plan about them I used them as any other lemon. Which means I squeezed them on my black tea with honey, on BS's dal rice, on the Sunday mutton curry and even on the cucumber salad. They were full of juice, plump and overflowing. The skin was thin and smooth and the juice sweeter.

And then the weekend being very warm and sunny it struck me that I could use them in a bottle of Manisha's famous lemon pickle. Very excited at the prospect I shelved the plan for Monday. It was supposed to be sunny said my phone. Monday morning, being a holiday, I dunked 5 of the Meyer lemons and 2 of the regular lemons in water with the thought of making "an achaar". Since we love green chilli in our pickles I decided to add those too. LS was home with me and she stood beside me on a step stool helping me throughout.

Once the lemons were soaked, dried and cut in the manner Manisha had told us to, the clouds started gathering in the sky. The sun played a peek-a-boo and finally decided to call it day. It was only 11 in the morning. I panicked. How to sun my pickle ? I thought. The weather now showed "Snow" even on Wednesday. Being a novice pickle-er I did not want to take a risk.So, I thought I will go the stove-top way of pickle making which again Manisha had suggested in her post. "I will then sun the cooked pickle with whatever sun I get in the next few days", I told myself. Now she had warned that cooking on the stove top will not bring the same flavor that slow curing in 60 days of sun would. This would be like going to the tanning salon instead of the beaches of Hawaii.

Ah! whatever I told myself. I have Meyer lemons. I need a pickle. The sun I have no control on so I will take this route.

All of you do follow Manisha's Lemon pickle pictorial for the original taste. I have adjusted my measures because I saw the size of my lemon were smaller than hers and I used only 5 to her 6 large ones. I also increased the juice and reduced the salt since I was doing it on the stove and decide I did not need that much salt for curing.

After two hours of cooking on very low heat the chilli-lemon pickle tasted truly amazing. Did I tell you it does not have a drop of oil either ?

Here is how I did It

Wash 5 lemons and about 12 green chillies well and then dry them. They should be really, really dry.

Next cut the lemons the way Manisha has said. Slice of the edges to begin with. Since mine were smaller in size I first cut each lemon in half, then each half in two so that we have four quarters from a lemon. Each quarter wass then further divided in 3 or 4.

For the green chillies, I removed the stem and chopped in half.

Put the lemon pieces and green chillies in a glass jar. In my case I put them in a saucepan.

To it add the following
1/4th cup of sugar
1/8th cup of salt (Manisha suggests 1/2cup salt for 6 lemons. I had 5 but I could see mine were smaller in size and I was also doing it on the stove top so went with less to start)
2 heaped tbsp red chili powder(again Manisha uses 1/4th but I had green chilies so I put less)
1 tbsp Turmeric powder

Next make a spice powder by roasting the following
1 tsp Methi seeds
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4th tsp Hing
and then grinding to a powder.

Add this spice powder to the cut lemons.

Now juice two of the lemons and add this juice to cut lemons and green chilies.

In the original recipe you would have added all of this to the jar of lemons and then left it to sun. In my case I put the saucepan on low heat on the stove top. The lemons were cooked at very low heat for almost two hours. They released enough water and I cooked till the texture was something like the picture below. I then cooled and put it in a glass jar which I have left on the window ledge. At this point this lemon-chili pickle is edible and it really tasted awesome. Since I have not had the sunned version I cannot compare but it must surely be better.


  1. Wow! They are looking so lovely and are so very tempting!! :)

    Did you get a chance to check the website to manage editorial calendar easily for your blog and show your editorial calendar in your blog easily (optional)
    Thanks & Regards

  2. I make Manisha's pickle unfailingly every summer. Even when there is no sun I just keep it on the window sill and it still turns out delicious. Never cooked it though.

    1. how long i have to keep it in the sun?

  3. Pretty much in blogosphere everyone tried Manisha's no oil pickle. your cooking version is almost ready to use instantly! The last pict is very tempting!

  4. Yay! You made it, too! I do have to say that I am truly humbled that a simple family recipe is now appreciated in so many homes, and that so many home cooks have made it their own, by adding their own twist.

    I must admit that I have no experience with combining the two methods. I have either done one or the other. And, I would recommend the same to you. If this tastes good to you -- and by that, I take it that the pith is no longer bitter -- then, it is done! Enjoy it!

  5. Lipsmacking good pickle. yummyyy.

  6. Sandeepa, pickle looks fantastic.

    As for the winter sun a full 8 hours did not remove the moisture from my cooked vegetables for a pickle so 2 days would not have done any good for the lemons.

  7. Very tempting lemon pickles and a instant one too.

  8. I had heard about it from other US bloggers in their recipe, i was lucky to taste them when i was in my sis place last year and fell in love with it, such a pity we don't get them here, i will give the link of this pickle to my sis , as she always say she has too much of these in her garden, she only have one plant but there is so many in them.

  9. Sigh, delicious, my Mum makes a similar pickle!!

  10. Pickle without sarso ka tel is hard to imagine for me. I just lvoe the taste and aroma of sarso ka tel mixed with achar spices. But..I like change and that motivates me to try this recipe!


  11. Love the colors in the pickle! What did you eat it with?

  12. I just made this pickle and it's fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. It's hard to stop "sampling" it and save it for the dinner I am going to. Thanks again!

  13. hello...
    just made this pickle. looks good ..could not keep it on the stove top for 2 hours as it started sticking to pan. The lemons are cooked ok but not fully done...any suggestions??

    1. I would say keep it out in the sun for a few days

  14. For how many days did you leave it on the window ledge? How long can I keep the achar? Should I refrigerate it after a while?

  15. This recipe looks great! I have some lemons I wanted to pickle. Being a novice, I wanted to know how many days should I keep it in the (winter) sun? How long does the achar keep? Should I refrigerate it after a certain time? Your response would be of great help!

    1. Tisha, so far I have always made this pickle on stove top. The original recipe suggested 60 days of sunning.
      In summer I do refrigerate but I have been keeping it outside this winter and it is fine

  16. Hi Sandeepa! I will try this tomorrow. When you say "juice two of the lemons," does that mean taking the cut lemons and squeezing out all the juice into the pot? Or does it mean adding the juice of two MORE lemons to the five cut-up lemons? Also, should I leave in all the seeds? Thanks in advance!


Thanks for your Comments. I hope you will be nice and not Spam.