Lemon Pickle - 3, A Quick Microwave Method
Neembu ka Tel (Tael) Walla Achaar - 3
This recipe is based on the microwave method described in Lemon Pickle in Oil - 2 by Lapis Lazuli.
1/2 cup mustard oil. You can use other oils but this is the oil traditionally used in Indian pickles. It has the lowest saturated fat content of all the edible oils.
500 gm limes (neembu) or lemons
1 tsp. mustard or rai seeds* (do not wash seeds)
1 tsp. fennel seeds* or sonf/saunf
1 tsp. cumin seeds*
1/2 tbs. fenugreek seeds*
1 tsp. nigella seeds* or kalaunji/kalownji 1 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chilli powder, adjusted to taste
1 tsp black pepper
*These 5 make Pachpooran or Panchphoran
Wash and dry limes thoroughly. Drying is important, as any hint of water will make the pickle go moldy. I leave them in a sunny place for a day or on a towel overnight.
Slice into small wedges. Add and mix salt and leave them in a bowl overnight.
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 mustard oil to almost smoking point and add mustard, fennel, cumin, coriander and nigella seeds.
Once the seeds start to splutter/crackle, add turmeric, chilli powder and black pepper.
As soon as this mix bubbles, add limes, mix and turn heat off.
Transfer to sterile jars, close with an acid proof lid. If not sure about the lid you have, cover with a cling film first and then put the lid on.
Turn the jars up-side-down until cool to create a vaccuum. Then turn over every few days, so all the pieces get equal soaking in the collecting juice at the bottom. Lemons slowly change colour and becomes beige in colour, their skin softens and breaks easily when pressed between fingers. This pickle is ready to eat almost straight away, but tastes better after 3-4 weeks.
It can be served with all kind of foods, Indian and non-Indian, in sandwiches, added to vegetable bhajies (dry curry) of all kinds to add 'zing' to them.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.