Mrs sura’s lemon + red chilli pickle recipe

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A tongue-tickler of a pickle: it’s fresh, bright, zesty and hot. The ajwain seeds add a distinct flavour, not dissimilar to thyme. I am partial to using this pickle to liven up sandwiches and simple subjis with its salty and sour heat. It takes a couple of days to make and then will keep for 2 months in the fridge.

  • Yield: 400 g (a medium jar)


  • 4 lemons (300 g net lemon flesh)
  • 100 g cayenne or slim red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain or carom seeds
  • 3½ teaspoons salt
How to Make It
  1. First you’ll need to peel your lemons. Take a small paring knife, cut off both ends of each lemon and sit it upright. Gently wedge the knife between the skin and the flesh of the lemon and cut down into the pith, following the lemon’s natural curve. Continue all the way around, then gently cut or peel away the pith until you’re left with the lemon flesh.
  2. Cut the flesh into quarters, then slice each quarter into 0.5 cm pieces (you can take out the seeds if you wish). Then chop the chillies very finely.
  3. Place the chillies and lemons in a non-reactive bowl (like glass or ceramic) and add the turmeric, ajwain and salt. Mix thoroughly with a clean spoon, then cover with a clean cloth.
  4. Keep the pickle out on the side, but out of direct sunlight, and stir twice a day for the next 2 days. The mixture will soften and collapse a bit. Transfer to a sterilized jar and press down with the back of a spoon.

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