One Stop Eats

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Nimbu Achaar (Lemon Pickle)

Nimbu Achaar

Nimbu Achaar

Happy Mothers’ Day to all beautiful mothers! As we celebrate the beauty of motherhood, I’m amazed at how much mothers do. Growing up my Mom didn’t let us do much, while she took care of all the chores, all the cooking, cleaning, along with her job as a teacher! I don’t know how she did it tirelessly. Apart from all that, her patience with us three kids while we were forever upto something, was and still is incredible! God bless her heart. 🙂 I think we all turned out to be good kids :p because of her, her love and her concern, her care and support! You are the best, Mom!

I, like all daughters, think that my Mom makes the best food ever! There’s a certain warmth about her food, that deliciousness that can’t be found elsewhere and that secret ingredient that makes everything out of this world…. yes, the secret ingredient is love! One of the things she makes with amazing ease is pickles or achaars. The finger licking tangy-ness and yet sweetness of home made lemon pickle doesn’t compare to anything else. I absolutely love it and tried making it myself with daily inputs from Mom. She not only gave me her recipe but also secrets and tips that I want to share with everyone. I think a little motherly goodness goes a long way when it’s shared. Here you go:

Nimbu Achaar


  • 4 big lemons
  • 1/2 1/4 to 3/8 cup salt (See note below)
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 1″ pieces of cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon rock salt (optional)

Cut the lemons four ways

Make four cuts on the lemons, leaving the pieces joined at the bottom.

Sprinkle the pieces with 1/2 cup salt.

Put them in a clean and dry glass jar.

Do not put the lid on, but instead tie a cloth on the jar.

Keep it in the sun for a day.

Nimbu Achaar 2

On the next day, you’ll see a lot of lemon juice has oozed out. That’s good. Mix in rest of the ingredients to this.

Nimbu Achaar 3

Give it a stir and keep in the sun for 6 to 10 days. Every night bring it inside, if you are keeping this outside. Also, every night give it a stir to move things around.

Depending on how thick the skin of your lemons, it could take hardly any to a lot of sun to soften them. The lemon skins will darken, that’s good! Infact well done pickle will have almost dark brown lemon skins.

Keep in the shade for 3-4 days or until everything is well integrated.

Nimbu Achaar

Nimbu Achaar

Done. Enjoy with rotis, puris, or like me, as it is. 🙂

If while the pickling process is going on, you feel things are getting too dry, add more salt. Also remember to taste it everyday, and you can always add more sugar, salt or spices if you like.

Enjoy and do write us if you have questions or comments.

Happy Mothers’ Day you all! I know I’m late, but I have a good reason, I was too busy enjoying with my lovely Mom. 🙂

Note on 4/23/2010: After feedback from S, I found that the amount of salt is really variable depending on how juicy and big the lemons are. Last year when I made this I had to use 1/2 cup salt, but this year I was ok with 3/8 cup, whereas S found that 1/2 cup was wayyyy too much! So, I suggest starting with 1/4 cup and adding more if needed.


2 comments on “Nimbu Achaar (Lemon Pickle)

  1. Subadra
    January 30, 2010

    Hi Meenakshi,
    Thought I’d give this a try.
    Question: Do you leave the cloth on even when you leave it in the sun?

    • Meenakshi Matai
      January 30, 2010

      Hey Suba, Yes, do leave the cloth on when you leave it in the sun. Also, since it’s not as warm these days (in January) the lemons could take a good 3 weeks to pickle. If you want it go faster cut smaller pieces. Do write back telling us how it went. 🙂 Thank you!

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2009 by in Cuisine, Events, Indian, Pickle, Recipes, Vegetarian and tagged , , .


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