Wednesday, January 2, 2013

nimbu-khajur-adrak ka achar | pickled limes with dates and ginger...

 Limes-dates and ginger preserved into a sweet sour and hot pickle. I know this combination makes you salivate immediately. It does so to many of us. This one is a favorite pickle of many of my friends too. A must have condiment in your pantry.

Most Indian homes have a jar of some pickle on the dining table, be it a hot and spicy kind or a sweet and sour pickle. I have seen some families where the pickle jar on the dining table is refilled almost everyday. We don't eat much pickles but somehow I took fancy to making them and gifting them to my friends and family every now and then. Sometimes someone would just describe a pickle to me and ask me to make it and I would be tempted enough to recreate those flavors. This pickle happened when the husband was remembering a pickle that my research guide used to make and gift us. Now that she is no more and her gifted bottle was over a couple of years ago, I decided to make the pickle myself. After all, this was one of those favorite lime pickles we used to love with our poori subzi or paratha meals.

Recently, someone in the family was not well and her taste buds were feeling numb after having a course of antibiotics, I gave her this pickle to eat with her light khichdi. She was so happy to have this that I decided to pack a small jar for her. Then I was reminded of a few pictures I had taken while making it last year. And here is the recipe with a few recent pictures of the pickle. A sweet and sour pickle with a little hint of heat, it is one of those pickles you would lick the spoon for.

Indian limes cut into 8 parts or smaller bits 1 kilo (seeds removed)
sticky fresh dates chopped into bite size pieces 500 gm
golden raisins 100 gm
ginger chopped into thick julienne 500 gm
red chilly powder 50-60 gm or as per taste
black pepper powder 1 tsp (you can add about 20-30 whole peppercorns if you like)
salt 300 gm
kala namak (pink salt) 50 gm
sugar 100 gm
asafoetia powder 1 tsp (use lesser if using the pure resin)

Chop the limes on a wooden chopping board and keep a draining tray beneath so the juices are not wasted. Collect the juice and let the asafoetida dissolve in it.

Meanwhile chop the dates too and mix everything in a wide container preferably glass but plastic would also work as this pickle would not require heating.

Keep the container covered on a kitchen shelf, no need to keep it in the sun everyday. Just make sure you give the pickle a good stir every week or so, using a clean spatula. Within a month the dates would soak the juices and the limes will be softer. Pectin will be released from the limes and the syrup will be thicker, looking like jelly.

Fill it into sterilised jars to last a long time. This pickle keeps well for 2 years or more, it will keep getting jelly like and flavors would become more like Indian digestive chooran goli or sonth chutney as the pickle ages.

Best served with fried snacks like kachoris, pakodas and pooris etc. since the pickle has undertones of a sonth chutney. Even khichdi meals would welcome this pickle if someone is feeling under the weather. This is a quick pick me up kinda pickle.

Try this on crackers served on a cheeseboard. You will be surprised to the instant popularity of this sweet sour and lightly hot pickle..almost like a spicy fruit preserve.

Now tell me how do you like this rubber seal jar. I have been using glass jars of Yera for a very long time but ordered these from Devnow online to try a better quality of pickle jars that are not available in markets normally. Although I am wary of the rubber seal not being sterilised properly. But these jars are good even without the rubber seal.

Talking of online shopping, I am more comfortable now than ever, there are so many options to choose from and so many deals you can avail. Try this site CupoNation for convenient online shopping. I know you would find something you like and something that you don't get in markets around your place.



  1. This sounds so do-able! I think I will try it sometime soon. Also I just bought kala namak on a whim and was wondering what to do with it...:)

  2. Wow.I am going to make it soon .all ingredients are available at home. just one little doubt that wouldn't sugar make limes rubbery and dry if put before the pickle has matured. I have experience of making a pickle in which limes never turned soft ,in fact they were rubbery and had hardened.
    I am a pickle fan and am glad to have found this recipe.

    1. Hi Kriti, the limes turn leathery when you add a lot of sugar to them. Sugar actually dehydrates them so much that they never get soft as it happens in pickling. If you cook the lime with sugar it's oaky (if you are making a jam like sweet preserve or marmalade).
      This recipes uses only 100 gm of sugar so it wont become leathery.

  3. Yum yum !
    Bring some for the picnic !

  4. Hi Sangeetaji , I have made this achaar yesterday...but I have a doubt , should I leave in normal plastic jar with lid on or use some other vessel with a cover . Right now it is in normal plastic jar with lid secured . Thank u .

    1. Glass will be ideal. Plastic I never used for pickles so can't say. Ceramics work well too.

  5. Hi mam , how have u been ? writing u this to inform u about the pickle I made in plastic jar . I had let it be in the same jar and now I am pleased to inform u the pickle has turned up very well ! it took more thn 2 months to be ready to eat and thanx once again for tasty recipe .

  6. Hi sangeetji, my father in law is craving for this pickle, but a month is too long for him to wait for me to prepare this for him. Can we do it faster by boiling the chuhara/lemon or both.
    Pl help me out.


    1. Hi Shikha, You can make this pickle by pressure cooking all the ingredients together as well. I have made a few pickles by pressure cooking lemons, but this one has not yet been tried. So I'll do a trial run of this recipe pressure cooked sometime and let you know how it comes out, or you can do the same and let me know if you liked it that way. Otherwise, I still have about 60-70 gm of this pickle left with me, I can send it to you if you are somewhere in India. Do mail me if you want :-)
      will be glad to send a small jar of this to you.

    2. Hi Sangeeta,

      Thank you so much for the reply. I live in Kolkata. But I would like to try and make the achar.
      I was gng to pressure cook it and the I realized that ther dis no liquid in the cooker. Also if I want it in the sweeter side, then how much sugar shld I put?

    3. Yes there will be apparently no liquid in the pressure cooker, but all the lemons are filed with juice, crushing them a little will help or adding 1/4 cup of water would help too. Add sugar to taste, you can add the amount mentioned in the recipe first , taste after the pickle is cooked, then add more of desired and let it simmer till sugar not cook too much after adding more sugar as it may get hard n clumped.

    4. Hi, I am doing a trial batch with 100 gm chuhara. Should 1 whistle be enough or 2? I was under the impression that water is not good for putting in pickles. What approx is the shelf life of this pickle?
      I am so glad to have found you. Someone who can answer my queries.
      Thank you so much

    5. Cooking the pickle for 5 minutes after the first whistle will be good since you are using dry dates. Water will get sterilised in the pressure cooker and the total moisture in the pickle will just be enough to make it jam don;t worry about the water being used, it is always used to make jams, jellies and marmalade. I hope my answers are useful for you.
      Please do let me know how the recipe turned out, I would be glad if you mail me a picture as well.

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  8. good about the recipe is that it is multipurose achar cum chooran cum chutney cum sauce alternate.
    about to reduce time it can be done in 7 days. Mix as suggested and fill it in good glass jar and next day take an pot with water
    keep the jar carefully in water with water level below the mixture level and the mouth of the jar loosely coveres heat the water slowly below boiling temp for around 45 mts and allow to cool. next day check and if reqd repeat the process after thourouly mixing the content in jar. allow one or two days to find fully mature product anil agrawal

  9. I made this pickle and confirm that it tastes so much like churan. I am been a habitual lurker on this blog and a huge fan. Kudos to you, lady! Keep up the amazing work and follow your passion.

  10. Hi Sangeeta ji, I wanted to ask you about the dates/khajoor used.. since you have mentioned, fresh and sticky.. are these the sweet seeded brown (indian) dates that you get in packets or the fresh/raw ones you get sometimes at fruit stalls? Basically, if you can tell me what kind of dates have you used?

  11. Hi Sangeetaji, I wanted to confirm with you on the kind of dates/khajoor used? since you mentioned, fresh and sticky, I wanted to check if these are the same brown seeded ones that you get in packets or the fresh/raw ones you sometimes get at fruit stalls?

    1. Yes the same dates Sudeshna, the dry ones are called as chuhara and those will make this pickle too dry.

  12. I tried this & it came out so well. I couldn't wait a month, so I 'enhanced' the lime pickle I had with the additional ingredients. It was ready in a day.
    Thank you so much for this recipe.


    1. oh nice. Thanks for letting me know about your quick lime and dates pickle.