I love pickles and have been known to eat an entire cup of small amla pickles in one go while watching TV, when I was a kid. Well, not anymore, I've turned down the heat in my cooking and the food I eat, but I still love good pickles - my mother's tomato pickle was the best, then came mango pickles and amla pickles (both small and big gooseberries) and lemon pickles, in the same order. These days, I've been craving for lemon pickles. And I hate those store bought pickles - full of oil and chilli powder and preservatives and salt! Hate them! So, Obviously, when I found Indira's Lemon pickle, I was delighted and wanted to try it right away, but didnt have fresh limes as she suggested. I had some green limes and yellow lemons in the fridge and didn't have the patience to wait till the next grocery shopping. So, decided to try it with the yellow lemons anyway. Lemons aren't very sour, so I needed the lime juice for that tanginess. I washed the limes and lemons and put them on the kitchen counter for a day. Then, wiped them clean and tried this pickle exactly as she suggested except for the addition of a pinch of asafoetida. I wanted to make a small batch to test my pickle making skills, so I experimented with 4 lemons and used half the amount of ingredients mentioned in her recipe.
I cut the four lemons and put them in a clean glass jar. I extracted the juice from 4-6 limes (enough to get about 3/4rth cup of lemon jucie) and poured over these lemon wedges. I added 3-4 tsps of salt and mixed thoroughly with a clean, dry spatula and covered the bottle and put it in a undisturbed corner. Everyday, morning and evening, I shook the bottle up and down to make sure that all the lemon wedges soaked well in the juice. After 4-5 days, the lemons were looking ready for the masala.
I dry roasted about 1/2 tsp each of cummin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in the cast iron pan and powdered them when they cooled down to room temperature. I heated up about 6 tsp oil and added about 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and allowed them to splutter. I removed it from the stove top and added a dash of asafoetida. After the oil came down to room temperature, I added this oil and the powdered pickle masala powder and about 2 tsp of red chilli powder to the bottle of lemon wedges and stirred with the long spatula. I tasted a bit and it was different and tasty. I left the bottle unopened for another 5 days to allow the flavors to be absorbed by the lemon wedges.
And when I taste it now, it is yummmmmmmmm........ The thick skin of the yellow lemons have absorbed the flavors very nicely and is very soft and the taste is just delicious! And very Authentic! My Mom and Grandma would be proud of me! Thank you very much, Indira!