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Elumichampazham Urugai (Lime Pickle – South Indian Style): Three Ways!
A typical South Indian style of pickling tart limes in sesame oil, red chilli powder, salt and spices.
Servings Prep Time
1large jar 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
1large jar 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 20minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Method 1 (My mother’s method):
  2. In this method, my mother used to pickle a whole lot of limes in salt when they were inexpensive and easily available. She would then leave them to cook/ soften in the heat of the summer sun. Of course, if you live in a place where it is pretty hot like here, you don’t have to wait till summer to do this. Please don’t make this pickle using this method unless you are sure of about 4 or 5 very hot sunny days at a stretch!
  3. This is how lime pickles are made my mother’s way. First, wash the limes and dry them well with a towel. Then either cut the limes into quarters, or if you prefer smaller pieces, cut each lime into eights.
  4. Put some of the pieces into a large sterilized and dry glass pickle jar. Now sprinkle some of the salt over it. Put some more lime pieces in to the jar, then some more salt and continue till all the lemon pieces and the salt have been used up.
  5. Close the jar, making sure the lid is airtight and shake the bottle to agitate the lemon pieces and the salt. Place this glass jar in the sun. Shake the jar a couple of times during the day to ensure that all the pieces and the salt get redistributed in the bottle. Repeat this every day for about 5 days.
  6. At the end of 5 days, the lemon pieces would have oozed out juice, dissolving the salt and also changed colour to become very soft. This brined lemon pickle will keep for over a year, provided you do not open the jar.
  7. Method 2 (My mother-in-law’s method):
  8. Wash and towel-dry the limes well. Heat about 3 tbsps of the sesame seed oil in a wok. Add the limes (whole, without cutting them) to the wok and stir fry them over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. This helps to soften the outer skin. Using a slotted spatula, drain the limes and remove them from the wok onto a plate and let them cool.
  9. Now cut the limes into quarters or eights, depending on size. The limes might be a little slippery because of the oil coating, so be careful. Using a sharp, serrated knife helps. Save the juice that collects while cutting the limes.
  10. Method 3:
  11. Wash the limes. Put enough water to immerse the limes completely in a pan and bring it to boil. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and the limes to the boiling water. Turn down the heat to medium and let the limes boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Take the pan off the heat, cover it and let the limes cool to room temperature. Cut each into quarters or eights. Save the juice that collects while cutting the limes.
  13. From here on, whichever method you used to prepare your limes, the method for preparing the pickle remains the same. Heat the sesame seed oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds, and once they splutter, add the curry leaves and asafetida powder. Stir a couple of times, making sure the asafetida powder doesn’t burn. Turn down the heat and add the chilli powder and then the limes with all the juice (from one of the methods outlined above). Stir carefully to mix everything together for a couple of minutes and then add the fenugreek powder. Mix well, again, and turn off the heat. Let the pickle cool to room temperature. Bottle in a dry sterilized jar and refrigerate. This pickle contains enough oil to keep at room temperature, but it is always safer to refrigerate it.