This is my Grandmother’s recipe for making the best lime pickle, ever. I still have memories of her, in her late 70’s, her radiant face, her ear rings sparkling, so happy to see all her children and grandchildren around her. When she cooked something, it was always in an industrial scale, and the taste would be so perfect. One particular memory I have is of her sitting on the floor in my Aunt’s kitchen, cutting up hundreds of these limes with a ‘EeLge maNE'( Traditional vegetable cutter) to make her signature ‘uppinakayi’. She had 8 children and their families to make for, so it was a lot. It was very difficult to emulate her recipes, because she eyeballed all her ingredients. Her cooking terminology would be something like- ‘ Goli gaathradu'( Marble sized) or ‘ondu hidi'( A fistful) or
‘naalak kaalu'( a few), so only someone who worked with her in the kitchen actually knew what she meant.
Many of her authentic recipes have been lost, because no one wrote them down. My Mother and her sisters have learnt a lot from my Grandma, but have their individual styles of cooking.
This is a recipe my Mother still remembers and gave me a few years ago. It has been a huge success with my hubby, friends and family. Lime is still in season, so if you are craving a bit of this sour, salty, spicy goodness, here goes….
1. Lemons/ Limes- 16
2. Mango Ginger root- 1/4 lb, peeled and cut into small pieces
3. Whole green chilies- 10, washed and dried well
4. Fresh Ginger- 1/4 lb, peeled and cut in circles
5. 1 Bitter Gourd- cleaned and cut into pieces
6. Young cluster beans- about 25, washed and dried, whole( These have to be very young, they do not taste good otherwise)
5. Salt- 1 1/2 Cup
To be made into a fine powder ( After the Lemon mixture has softened, ie about 2 weeks)-
1. Dry Red Chilies- 20 ( preferably Byadgi)
2. Dry turmeric root- 2 inch piece( broken into smaller pieces)
3. Fenugreek seeds- 1 Tbsp
4. Asafetida-1/8 tsp
Roast the red chilies in the microwave for a minute, or on the stove, till they give a nice aroma. Allow to cool. Roast the fenugreek seeds, asafetida and turmeric, till the fenugreek starts turning dark brown. Allow to cool. Grind everything to a fine powder.
2. Mustard seeds
Select limes that are healthy and have a thin skin, or healthy lemons with no soft spots. Wash them well, wipe and let them dry completely. Squeeze out the juice from 6 limes/8 lemons and keep aside. Cut the remaining limes/ lemons into quarters, or small wedges and put them in an airtight, glass or porcelain container. Add the green chilies, Ginger and mango ginger, bitter gourd and cluster beans. Add the salt and mix well with a clean wooden ladle. Add the reserved lime/Lemon juice. Cover well, and store in a dry, cool place.
Stir the pickle mixture every morning, for about a fortnight. After 2 weeks, make the pickle powder fresh, and add to the pickle. Mix well, and store for about a fortnight more. Stir the mixture every few days with a clean wood ladle.
Before serving , make a tempering of the ingredients given above and mix with the pickle. The pickle has a greater shelf life if it is refrigerated, especially in cold climates.