Lime pickle

Pair this tart, tangy and refreshing lime pickle with a simple meal of dhal and boiled rice. The recipe makes a 500g jar and will last for three months

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:40 mins
    plus standing time
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 38
  • fat 3g
  • saturates 0.2g
  • carbs 3g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 0.4g
  • protein 0.2g
  • salt 0.67g


  • 500g limes (about 7)
  • 8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 30g fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 125ml vegetable oil, plus 30-50ml extra, if needed
  • 30g root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 70g granulated sugar


  1. Put the limes in a saucepan and cover with water. Place a small heatproof plate on top of the fruit to keep them submerged and then bring to a boil over a medium heat and simmer for 20-30 mins until the limes are tender. Scoop out the limes, pat them dry with kitchen paper, and discard the cooking water.

  2. Once the limes are cool enough to handle, chop them (peel and pith included) into 3cm chunks and tip everything, including any juice, into a mixing bowl. Stir in the chopped garlic, chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and leave to one side for 1 hour.

  3. Heat a sturdy and dry frying pan over a medium-low heat, and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek, cumin and star anise, Stir and toast the spices for about 40 seconds until aromatic. Tip them into a mortar, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and pound to a powder with a pestle – you can also use an electric spice grinder for this, too.

  4. Add this ground spice mix to the limes, stir well, spoon everything into a sterilised jar and then seal. Leave the pickle in a warm place or on a sunny window ledge for 2-3 days so that flavours mature. Stir the limes once a day with a metal spoon to ensure they are evenly coated in the spice mix.

  5. Heat the oil in a wok or karahi over a medium-high heat and fry the ginger and green chillies for 2-3 mins, until the ginger starts to turn golden. Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer over a medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil for 2 mins.

  6. Turn the heat off and add the steeped limes and masala. Leave on one side to cool and then spoon the pickle back into the same jar. Using a metal spoon, push the limes down into the jar so that they are covered by the spicy oil – you might need to add a little extra oil. Seal the jar and leave the pickle for 3-4 days before tasting. It will keep for 3 months at room temperature.

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