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Lime Pickle
Singapore / India

1 week  
If you have something like a plain rice porridge that needs a bit of zing, this tart spicy pickle is very much up to the job. It has a little chili bite, but the main influences lime juice and spices. This exact recipe came from Singapore, but nearly identical pickles are made this way in Karella, India.



Key Limes (1)
Boiling Water
Sea Salt, real (2)
-- Spicing
Ginger root
Corriander seeds
Chili Powder (3)
Fennel seeds
Cumin seeds
Curry Leaves (4)  
Oil, Gingelly (5)
Mustard seeds (6)
Prep   -   (6 days - 10 min work)
  1. Put LIMES in a heatproof bowl. Boil enough water to completely cover the limes. Turn off the heat and pour water over the limes (or pour the limes into the water). Let soak 20 minutes.
  2. Drain Limes and cut into quarters (I halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise int quarters). Tumble them with Salt until the salt is well worked in.
  3. Pack Limes into a glass jar and place on a counter where the jar will get at least 2 hours direct sunlight per day. Turn occasionaly for 6 days.
Finish   -   (1 hr - 15 min work)
  1. Slice GARLIC and GINGER medium. Grind Coriander. Mix all Spicing items.
  2. Heat OIL with Mustard Seeds until seeds are popping well, then turn down the heat, pour in the Spicing Mix and fry stirring for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the Limes and any liquid that has gathered in the jar. Cover and simmer on very low heat 45 minutes to an hour, tumbling now and then.
  4. Put up in a jar and store in a cool place out of sunlight - it'll keep for a couple months at least - much longer in the fridge.
  1. Key Limes:   These are the tiny limes they use for Key Lime Pie in Florida - 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches diameter. This is the lime most of the world knows as a "lime", the huge Persian / Tahiti lime we are accustomed to in North America is unknown in most regions. Indian recipes that say, "a lump of tamarind the size of a lime" have caused much confusion.
  2. Sea Salt:   Real unrefined sea salt is the kind to use in all natural pickles - some of the trace elements are very important. Supermarket and much "Health Food" sea salt started out from the sea but is refined into an "unnatural" state. If sea salt doesn't seem just a little damp, it's refined. I buy my pickling salt from Korean markets. Koreans are very big on natural pickles and you can be sure it's not only the right stuff, but cheap! For details see our Salt page.
  3. Chili Powder:   This will regulate how hot the finished product is. I use Rashamptti but others may be selected to your taste. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Curry Leaves   These fresh leaves are necessary for the true flavor of southern India, and are now reasonably available in Indian markets, at least here in California. Dried ones aren't of much use. If you don't have them you will have to leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. Use caution with how many you use, because some people don't like the resinous taste. For details see our Curry Leaves page.
  5. Gingelly Oil   This is oil from unroasted sesame seeds. Do Not substitute Chinese style sesame oil made from roasted sesame seeds. It may simply be labeled "Sesame Oil". Laxmi is the brand I have on hand, and the jar looks very Indian, but the oil was made in USA. If you can't find any, use use Pure Olive Oil (not virgin), Rice Bran Oil or some other light oil that will go over 395°F/202°C (the popping point for black mustard seeds).
  6. Mustard Seed   Black mustard seed is used in India and Southeast Asia. Available from markets serving an Indian community.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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