Index By:


Sweet Lemon Pickle With Cumin

(Meetha Sabat Nimboo Achar)

From Julie Sahni, Classic Indian Cooking

Makes: About a quart


  • 9 lemons (about 1.5 lbs.)
  • 4 tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tbs. black pepper
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 2 tbs. sultanas (optional)
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns (optional)
  • 5-6 dry red chili pods (optional)


  1. Wash lemons in running cold water and wipe completely dry. (If there is moisture on the surface of the lemon, the pickle will spoil.)
  2. Quarter 6 lemons from top to within 1/2 inch of bottom. Extract juice from the other 3 lemons in a small bowl.
  3. Mix salt, cumin, and black pepper in a small dish, and stuff the 6 cut lemons with it, making sure not to separate the wedges so much that the lemons break open. Press lemons slightly, to reshape them, and place in a glass jar so that they fit snugly without crushing each other. Pour the lemon juice over them. Cover jar with a piece of cheesecloth, and hold cover tight with a rubber band or string. Let the lemons marinate in the salt and spices for 7 days. (For best results, place jar in the sun during the day.)
  4. On eighth day, pour all the juices from the jar into a saucepan, squeezing and pressing the lemons slightly. Add the sugar to the juices, and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Stir often to prevent sticking and burning. When the sugar has fully dissolved, add the lemons, and gently boil for 10 minutes, until the lemons are cooked and tender. Turn off heat, and if desired add the sultanas, black peppercorn, and chilis. Transfer the pickle to sterilized jars. When thoroughly cooled, cover jars with their lids. Let the pickle rest for at least 3 weeks before serving. (For full flavoring, pickle should rest for 10 weeks.)


  • I've kept this for over a year in the refrigerator. I'd say that the flavor suffers a bit after 8-9 months, but not enought to throw it out.

Keywords: Indian, Pickles, Lemon.