Lemon Pickle - 2, A Quick Microwave Method
Neembu ka Tel (Tael) Walla Achaar - 2
This pickle is similar to the ones sold in jars in UK supermarkets, but without the mustard oil flavour and without so much salt. As there is little sun for the most time in the UK, a microwave oven was used to replace the 'keep in the sun for x days' seen in more traditional pickle recipes. It is ready to eat in four weeks. Makes 1 jam jar full.
8 fresh limes or lemons
1/2 cup oil; sunflower/rape seed/mustard or a 50/50 mix of any 2 oils, rape seed oil and non virgin olive oil is the best from a health point of view. If using olive oil, do not use ‘virgin’ oil, it is too strong. Lime:oil ratio should be 75:25
11/2 tbsp. coarsely ground/crushed mustard seeds (yellow or black).
11/2 tbsp crushed methi or fenugreek seeds. They can be bought ready crushed.
1/2 tbsp. freshly ground coarse black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric powder
5 green/red fresh chillies, deseeded and sliced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
2 tbsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. chilli powder (optional)
Juice of one or two limes
Plastic or stainless steel spatula to stir
Note from Mamta: Mustard oil should always be heated to smoking point first and allowed to cool completely, before adding it to the pickle.
Wash and dry limes.
Remove top and tail from each lime and cut each into 8 pieces along their axes
Place limes in a plastic/microwave casserole dish with the lid on, and microwave at full power for 6-8 minutes. If using more limes, cook them in batches of 8 at a time.
Heat the oil in a pan to just before smoking point. Add mustard and methi seeds. Mix.
Add black pepper, turmeric powder, salt, ginger, green chillies and chilli powder. Stir until small bubbles appear.
Add the limes/lemons. Continue to fry until it is bubbling a little, this takes about 10 minutes.
Take off the heat and allow to cool a little.
Meanwhile, sterilize the jars and lids in an oven set a little above 125°C, for 10-15 minutes. When the pickle has slightly cooled, take the jars out of the oven, and let them stand for five minutes, then transfer the pickle to the jars.
Ensure that the pickle does not come quite to the top of the jar, as the contents swell a little on keeping. Also, and this is important, make sure that there is enough oil to cover the contents of the jar completely and a cm. above. Add extra sterilized/pre-heated oil if needed. This will keep the mould from developing.
Close the jar lid tightly while still hot and invert it on a tray. This will create a vacuum in the jar as it cools and prevent mould formation.
Once cool, turn the jar over every couple of days to mix the contents. It is ready in 4 weeks, but tastes quite good even straight away.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.
This pickle can be made with oranges and lemons, when I calls it “St Clemen's pickle”. This takes less time to mature and is good enough to eat in about ten days. It’s colour is a very vibrant orange. The lime matures more slowly. If making this pickle, add extra lime juice, say 1-2 limes worth.