I Am a Self Confessed Lime Pickle Addict: A Recipe for Nimbu Ka Achaar, Plus Moong Dal

in Foodies Bee Hive13 days ago (edited)

In Northern India, I became seriously addicted to a breakfast of aloo paratha (a kind of flatbread stuffed with spiced potatoes, fried in oil on a griddle over coals), lime pickle and fresh curds. I hate dairy, unless it's exactly like that - fresh as it comes. With the lime pickle? Heaven. I couldn't get enough of it. Every restaurant, it seemed, had it's different lime pickle - big chunks, small chunks, hot, mild, different spices. I'd always been a fan but this was next level.

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I have an abundance of limes in my garden. They tend to fall of the tree before they go green, but they are juicy and taste of lime. I'd be mad not to try this Nimbu ka Achaar, wouldn't I? fact is, you can make it with lemons or limes. The first batch I made was after a huge wind, and I'd collected both lemons and limes, and we weren't even sure which was which. The pickle was not ruined because of lemons, I assure you. If you don't have limes, and lemons are cheap or free, by all means, make lemon pickle. It'll work, I assure you.

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Step 1: Prepare your Limes

The first step is to soften the limes - hard citrus is not really nice at all. Recipes will tell you to cut them in quarters, but it's entirely up to you. In fact, I chopped them into fairly small pieces, as you can see in the bowl below.

Now, you CAN steam the limes first, meaning this pickle will be ready in days, not a month. Here's a recipe if you want to be quick about it. However, I wanted mine to be fermented, and in my understanding, anything heated isn't going to be fermented.

Now, as for measurements - most recipes will say a kilogram of limes, but I hate weighing anything. I read one guy's recipe that said for him, it was eighteen limes - so that's my measurement forever now. It's really not necessary to be precise, or worry about the size of your limes. Sure, if they are gigantic, try 14. Whatever, man. Chill your pickle.

Squish those limes with about 1/3 cup of salt - the juice will come out, heaps of it. If you've got cuts on your hands, use gloves. Ever heard the expression rubbing salt into the wound? Yeah - ouch.

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Step 2 - Leave to Ferment

Here's my second batch in a jar, lid on, weighted down, ready to leave for a month. Maybe it will take only three weeks - if you do check, make sure that you use a spoon that's sterile. I gently turned the jar every now and then so that the juice kept swishing over the lemons. The salt should stop any major bacteria forming. Some recipes call for some apple cider vinegar which would aid the fermenting and help this too, but I omitted that and it made no difference. I didn't think I needed any acidity apart from the lemon juice. Correct me if you think it's essential!

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Step 3 - Spice it up baby

Some people add garlic in the fermenting stage, but I don't like a lot of garlic in my pickle, and Jamie can't eat it. I also find any preserves with olive oil and garlic a little risky. If not handled correctly, it can cause the growth of clostridium botulinum bacteria, which produces poisons that do not affect the taste or smell - too risky for me!

There are quite a few spice combinations you can use, and I suggest doing what I did and googling. What do other people use? However, I found a Achar Masala (pickle spice) at the Indian grocers which had exactly the same ingredients that were in nearly every recipe I read online. You could also make it yourself. Here's one recipe. My one concern was making it too hot - so I'm glad the mix I bought wasn't very hot at all.

Some recipes call for frying the spices in oil first, but I didn't bother - and it made no difference I could see. I added about 4 tbsps of my mix, but I suggest you add in small batches and taste it as you go.

Step 4 - Adding the Oil - and something optional

Heat about 1/3 of a cup of oil in a pan, and add about 2 tbsps of mustard seeds and a tsp of cummin seeds. Let them pop, then pour the oil over.

My optional was adding black onion seeds or kaloonji. I just love the taste of them in everything, so I added a generous shake. Once everything was fully mixed, I spooned it into sterilised jars, making about 4 jars full. Two days later, I've nearly finished a jar, and regret giving a jar to my son. I plan to make twice more before Christmas.

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Enjoy with - everything.

Honest to goodness this makes the plainest of meals kick ass. One of our favourite dinners is brown rice, in which you stir in sauteed greens and onions (silverbeet, garlic tops, garlic chives, broccoli leaves, kale - whatever you have) and eat with lime pickle. Simple, but amazing.

However, today's recipe was moong dahl. Hubby always says moong dahl again as if it's the worst thing I could make, and he knows he'll be eating it for lunch AND dinner. But every time he has it, he loves it and goes back for seconds.

This one I topped with a 'salad' of home grown cabbage, coriander, pepitas and lots of lime juice. Absolutely divine.

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Moong Dal

1 cup green mung beans, cooked in water til soft
1 litre water (add more as needed)
2 tbsp. turmeric powder, cummin powder, cummin seeds, garam masala
1 pinch asafoetida OR 1 onion or equivalent in garlic tops, spring onions or other allium
3 big slices of fresh root ginger
Coconut oil or ghee
Salt and pepper or vegetable stock to taste
Fresh coriander (optional)
Cinnamon stick (optional)
Silverbeet or spinach (optional)
Fennel tops, carrot, celery - optional. Use what you have.

Heat a liberal amount of coconut oil and add the onions and saute til soft. Add the spices and fry for a minute or two to release the flavour, then add the water, cooked mung beans and vegetables, root ginger and cinnamon stick. Simmer til very soft and creamy, stirring occasionally. You could add ghee or coconut cream towards the end for an extra creamy soup.

Top with a garnish - anything you like. I really like a crunchy salad that makes for a more complete meal, like the one I describe above. Squeeze extra lemon or lime onto the soup and you can even add kalonji and calendula flowers, like I did below.

Serve with lime pickle. And more lime pickle. And more lime pickle.

Do you have a lime pickle recipe to share? I'd love to hear it!

With Love,

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actually that doesnt look that difficult at all, it looks doable and yummy! and damn those limes...so many in your garden?

i need to get back in a hot country again hahaha

Ha it's not even that hot where we are. Only in summer. Yeah, it's totally do-able - and you can do it with lemons! Probably 8-10 lemons as they are twice the size of limes!


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Hmm, that lime pickle recipe looks pretty damned good! Although, I was thinking of a different recipe altogether, still for lime pickle though. It goes like this...

  • Get someone else to make the like pickles as above.
  • Get said person, let's say someone in VIC, to package them up and post them.
  • Receive pickles in the post.
  • Open pickles and enjoy.

It's a slight variation of yours, but just as tasty.

😇

Ha, I'd do that, but I'm not allowed in the post office....

Yeah, I think it won't be long and it'll be the same here. Things aren't looking good but time will will I guess.

Fingers crossed. Maybe they'll eliminate fast via contact tracing. Gutted re SA road trip. We chose there over WA. You guys must be gutted.

Yeah, it's all shit. I guess the good thing is that people have turned out in droves for testing and contact tracingnisnin full swing. Let's see how it goes. Maybe they control it quickly. A shame for your plans, but maybe it clears up quickly huh?

Oh because it's all about me. Haha it's fine, going away is a luxury. We don't NEED to. Plenty of landrovers to fix.

Yeah, that doesn't negate the fact your plans have been thwarted again. I'm sure you guys will live life the best you can no matter what happens though. Yep, loads of landies. Good title for a post there. :)

That's great! I'll give it a go next time I have some spare limes and lemons, they grow around here quite well.

I do love lime pickle, quite expensive in the UK.

Have a !BEER to go with it.

Oh man.. beer and pickle?? Perfect.

Thankyou!!! Guaranteed deliciousness....

Oh this looks so good, what I won't give to have some for my dinner right now. I will definitely try this out, still curious about the one you have to steam. So glad you shared this recipe xxxxxx

Oh do it - you'll have it faster!!!!!! But make the other one too then you can compare and tell me!

Absolutely love it!! We used to make pickles a lot in Cambodia, but we were also able to buy Indian spices by the kilo for cheap. I miss mustard oil, black cardamom, and many other things we used to cook with.

Looks like delicious!!!!

Curated for #naturalmedicine by @justinparke.

You need to share recipes more often. This is awesome, the format, the photography, and the pickle looks delicious. Give me a roti and a cup of tea and I'm all set.

You knocked it out of the park @riverflows!!

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The moong dal is beautiful and I must try making the pickle. I do like it when I have it from a restaurant.

The toppings are such a great addition. I am hungry again!

Loved how you were able to make your own, and had several adaptations that just added to enjoying it. :))