Recipe: Indian Lemon Pickle

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Recipes & more Lemons

You can prepare this lemon pickle in about an hour using just 10 ingredients. After pickling, these sweet and sour lemons with a hint of exotic flavour will keep for up to a year. Recipe by Shiruna, My Elephant Kitchen.


  • Pot
  • Muslin or straining cloth
  • Sterilised, well-dried jars (to do this, fill jars with boiling water and allow to stand for 10 minutes; or you can wash the jars with soap and water and then dry them in the microwave for 10 minutes)


  • 1 kg lemons
  • 350 g cane sugar
  • 20 ml water
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 6 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp mustard seed oil or sunflower oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp asafoetida (also known as asant or hing)
  • 3 small, dried chillies (optional)


  1. Wash the lemons and dry them well. Slice off the ends. Cut the lemons into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat the water in a pot and stir in the sugar. Reduce the heat to low or medium and keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. If it won't dissolve, add 1 tsp water and keep stirring.
  3. Add the paprika, ground coriander, roasted cumin powder, turmeric powder and salt to the pot and mix well.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the lemon pieces to the pot. Stir well, ensuring that each piece is well coated. Boil for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a separate pan, heat the oil. Add the asafoetida and dried chillies to the pan and roast on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add this mixture to the pot with the lemons.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely. Pack it into the sterilised jars. Cover with a straining cloth.
  7. If you can, store the jars in a cool place with lots of sunlight. Over the next four days, open each jar, take off the cloth and give the lemon pickle a good stir. Then cover it again with the cloth.
  8. After 4 days, you can close the jars with their lids and store them in a cool, dry place.
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