There was a time , when I thought I could never make pickle.; later the very thought changed to , okie i could, but never would I achieve the same gratification with mine , compared to my grandma's and mom's. Every time N asked me for some home made pickle, i found myself to be in a "pickle". But that is such an old story , now that i have mastered the art of pickling :)
Remember the Boost, Complan glass jars with pickle on the centre of the dining table back home??
It was such a regular scene in most of the households and my home was no different. Ranging from Fish,meat, lemon, mango , nellikka, mixed vegetable , lololicka, .....there would be one on the dining table and one in the pantry waiting for its turn, thinking "mera number kab aayega?".... No meal would pass without a touch of ginger - garlic - curry leaf overloaded pickle and no liquor party would start without a pickle for "thottunakkan".......
I used to get repeated scoldings for taking all the gravy and oil and for not using spoon , but fingers to take it out. But now there is nobody to scold me :(... Every time i give a retrospective glance to those times, every single thing has a story to tell , and feel so good with an emotional overflow to it :)
All the blah, blah apart, today's is my kuttanadan grandma's recipe. I know there are a zillion ways to make even the simple Kerala lemon pickle. Its not my contention that this is the authentic one , but for me , this is "authentic" since i grew up eating this :)
Recipe for Lemon/ Lime pickle - Cheru naranga Achar
Cheru naranga / Yellow Lemon - 10 ( the grocery store here has lemon double the size of it back home, so i used only 5 lemons)
Salt - to taste + a pinch of sugar
Gingelly oil / Nallenna / Sesame oil - 2 table spoon + 2 table spoon
Mustard seeds - 1.5 tea spoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tea spoon
Garlic julienned - 10 cloves ( you can add more if you love the bite of it in your pickle)
Ginger julienned - a small piece
Green chilly - 2-3 sliced
Curry Leaves - a handful
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 2 table spoon ( use as per your spice level , 2 tbsp is really spicy)
Kaayam ( asafoetida) - 1/4 tea spoon
Vinegar - 2 tea spoon
Salt to taste
Clean , wash and pat dry the lemons .
Steam in an appachembu or steamer for 5-8 minutes.( see notes at the end of the post)
Let it cool and wipe it well with a kitchen towel and cut into 8 pieces.( if lemon is small make 4 pieces).
Take an air tight glass jar and add lemon and a table spoon of salt and a pinch of sugar and mix well.
Keep it for a couple of days minimum 3 days upto a week. Some times i keep for 2 weeks
On the day you are making the pickle , take it out and drain the water and salt. and this helps to reduce the sour taste.
Heat 2 table spoons of gingelly oil/ nallenna in a pan and add mustard seeds.
When they pop up add fenugreek seeds and fry for 30 seconds.
Add garlic, ginger, green chilly and curry leaves and saute for a couple of minutes and add turmeric powder.
Add chili powder , and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water and bring to boil.
Simmer for 5 minutes or till the water is reduced or it is thick.
Add asafoetida ( kaayam) and fenugreek powder (if using) and mix well.
Remove from fire and let it cool.
Add Lemon pieces , salt to taste and vinegar mix well.
My mom and grandma usually leave it in the pan for 4-6 hours , but you can omit this step if you want.
Transfer that to a glass jar and add 2 table spoon of gingelly oil.
make sure the glass jar has a tight lid :).
Serve with Kanji, Rice or even I like it with chapati ...
- If you want the lemons to be too soft , steam it for 10-15 minutes or keep it in the glas jar with salt and sugar for 7-8 days.
- To make it more spicy increase the amount of chili powder .