No Oil Sweet n Sour Lime Pickle (Nimbu ka Achar)
½ kilo limes (ensure they are thin skinned, shiny and plump)
2½ tbsp salt
250 grams sugar (this is the amount if you like it more on the sour side. Increase the amount if you like your pickle more sweet)
5 black cardamoms (seeds only)
1 tbsp dry ginger powder
1½ tsp – 2 tsp chili powder (depending on how hot the chili powder is)
Scrub and wash the limes and soak them for 8 hours (overnight) in water. Wipe them well with a kitchen towel and slice them into roundels (as shown in the pic) and remove the pips.
Transfer the sliced lime in a non- reactive container and sprinkle with salt. Let them marinate in salt for approximately 3 hours; the limes will release water.
Remove the slices and use the water form making the syrup. (I could procure ¼ cup water from the limes). Transfer the water in a thick bottomed non-reactive pot and add the sugar. Cook the two together on a low flame, stirring in between, till the sugar has dissolved.
While the syrup is getting dissolved, pound the cloves and cardamom seeds to a coarse powder and add the rest of the dry ingredients to it. Add the dry ingredients to the syrup and cook for half a minute. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.
As soon as the syrup cools down, add the lemon slices and stir well. Let the pickle sit for half an hour in the container.
Transfer the pickle to a glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth (doubled) and keep the jar in the morning sun (if you are living in a cold place, keep it in the sun when it is at its strongest) for 3-4 hours. Repeat this exercise for 10 days. The pickle is now ready to eat.
Note: Pick the lemons that are soft, juicy and without blemishes.
Note: I let the pickle age for at least a fortnight before I start using it. By then the lemon juice becomes syrupy and less sharp.