My first attempt at pickling!

Distant shores make you do certain things…other than constantly craving for things that you love to eat, you are also careful to use your stash of curry powders, pickles and other home-made spice mixes that you can’t find anywhere but your mom’s kitchen!

So that’s how I ended my making my lime pickle. Most South Indian households always have jars of lime pickle ready for use throughout the year. It is a sort of must-have in your pantry. When my stash of pickles from India was empty and replenishment was some weeks away, I decided to make lime pickle. With summer in full swing, it was very easy to find juicy limes and lemons.

Yes, it took a while for me to distinguish between lemons and limes in this country. Limes are the smaller,greener ones, the kind you get in India and lemons are the bigger, juicier ones and mostly bright yellow. I used both in my pickle.

8-10 limes

5-6 lemons

3-4 tablespoons of chilli powder

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds

2 pinches of asafoetida

1 teaspoon of turmeric

Salt (sea salt or regular)

Wash and dry the limes and lemons. Make sure there is absolutely no moisture. All equipment used while making pickles should be dry. That is how you get pickles with a long shelf life.

Cut the limes into halves. Keep aside half the lemons and cut the rest into quarters. Cut about 2-3 of these at a time and drop it in a jar. As you drop one layer of limes, add one small handful or about 2 tablespoons of salt. Continue this until you finish with all the limes. Put the lid on the jar and store it in a dry place for about a week.

After a week, empty the contents into a dry bowl. The skin of the lime and the lemons should be tender.  Add the turmeric and chilli powder. Dry roast the mustard, fenugreek and asafoetida.Grind them well and add the powder to the bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the rest of the lemons which were kept aside. Mix well and adjust the salt and chilli powder as per your taste.  Put this in the jar again and enjoy yummy pickle after about 8-10 days!

Lentil Soup/Jeera-Milagu Rasam/ Kattina Saaru/

This is an ultimate comfort food especially if you have a sore throat. You can drink this straight or eat it along with rice. Best thing for clearing out nose congestions! The pepper and ginger give the rasam heat and flavour. The tempering of  jeera makes it so fragrant and completes the dish! I made this today for lunch along with some green gram chundal/palya. Yummy!

Ingredients : Serves 2-3

1 cup toor dal pressure cooked

2-3 green chillies, slit

2-3 curry leaves

1 lemon

1/2 tea spoon of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon of jeera/ cumin

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1 teaspoon ghee/ clarified butter or oil

2 cups of water.

A few sprigs of cilantro

Place the dal and 2 cups of water and green chillies in a vessel and bring it to boil.  Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the dal breaks down and mixes with water. To this add the pepper, ginger, curry leaves and cilantro. After it simmers for a couple of minutes, turn off the heat and add the juice from one lemon.

Heat the ghee/oil in a small pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. Wait till the jeera turns a golden brown color. Add this tempering to the rasam. Serve piping hot with rice or serve it as a soup.