1. Wash the lemons. Steam them for 7-8 minutes then remove them from the steamer and let them cool. Wipe them dry.

2. Cut off the top and bottom tips then cut them into quarters. Mix the lemon pieces, salt and 2 teaspoons of turmeric until well combined ensuring that all sides of the lemons are covered.  Store in an airtight, sterile jar for 2 days.

3. Set the lemon pieces in a colander and rinse off the salt. Dry the lemon pieces on paper towels. When dry, slice off both the top and bottom tips of the lemons then quarter and deseed them, retaining as much of the juice as possible.

4. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and roast the fenugreek seeds. When the aroma rises after a few minutes, remove the pan from the stove and let the seeds cool. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder and set aside.

5. Slice the ginger across the grain to break up the long fibers before grinding. In a blender or food processor, grind the ginger and garlic to form a paste.

6. In the same skillet, heat the sesame oil. When hot fry the mustard seeds until they begin to pop. Add the ground ginger and garlic and let them fry for a minute or two. Add the sliced green chiles followed by the curry leaves. Let this fry for 2 more minutes. Add the red chile powder, turmeric and asafetida. Stir to mix well and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.

7. Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until some of the water evaporates and a thick sauce forms.

8. Stir in the ground fenugreek. Mix well. Remove the skillet from the stove and let the masala cool.

9. Stir the vinegar into the masala.

10. Place the sliced lemons in a mixing bowl. Pour the cooled masala over the lemons then mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of salt adjusting as needed.

11. Transfer the pickle to a sterilized glass jar. 


- The traditional recipe uses twice the amount of red chile powder as I use here. Feel free to increase the amount if you feel adventurous.

- To keep the pickle for an extended period of time, a few tablespoons of sesame oil, which is used as a preservative, are poured over the top of the pickle once it has been transferred to the glass jar.

- In theory the pickle should rest for a week or so before tasting so the flavors can develop. I find I cannot wait and serve it right away.

- If you do not want your pickle to be authentically hot, use only 1 tablespoon of red chile powder.


1 lb small lemons
6 Tbs salt
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
10 cloves garlic
1 piece ginger, 2 inches
2 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 green chiles, cut lengthwise
1 sprig curry leaves
1-2 Tbs red chile powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp salt

Lemon Pickle  [INDIAN recipe]

This Lemon Pickle recipe makes a zesty addition to your table. The bright yellow of the lemons and the red-orange from the spices make any meal festive. I love the impression this Lemon Pickle recipe makes with the lemons just cut in half. My guests are always impressed!