This is a lovely spicy citrus pickle to serve as a side dish with an Indian meal, whether part of an extensive Indian menu when entertaining friends or a midweek family meal. It is especially good with tandoori style cooked meats and kebabs. So many of the lime pickles in the shops are very oily but this version is much less so.
This recipe was taken from a manufacturer’s booklet lent by a pickle making friend: Crosse & Blackwell/Sarsons Vinegar Perfect Pickles by Suzanne Janusz. The limes in the original recipe are halved and finely sliced but they could be left as quarters or thickly sliced if you prefer. Make in several small jars, so it can be opened freshly as needed. The full quantity of chilli makes a hot pickle but by using less the heat can be adjusted to taste. The seeds contain a lot of the heat, so removing these and just using the green part will make a difference. Served with poppadums alongside a dish of sweet mango pickle this would make a very simple starter or appetiser.
45ml/3tbsp vegetable oil
15ml/1tbsp coriander seeds
15ml/1tbsp black mustard seeds
2.5ml/½tsp cumin seeds
2 fresh green chillis, finely sliced (reduce/increase according to taste)
1 large onion, finely sliced
15ml/1tbsp salt (original amount, but may be too much – see below. NB try 1tsp next time)
60ml/4tbsp tomato puree
300ml/½pint distilled pickling malt vinegar
8 limes, halved & finely sliced
1. Prepare all the ingredients before starting to make the pickle as they need to be added in quick succession.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized saucepan. Put in the spices and fry them over a medium heat until they start to pop. Do not overcook as they burn very quickly.
3. Put in the chillis and onion, stir and cook for a minute.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and gently simmer for about 30minutes, stirring occasionally until the lime pickle thickens.
5. While the pickle is cooking wash and sterilise the jars. I usually do this by filling them with boiling water and putting the lids in a separate small bowl of boiling water. I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl without touching the inside and screw it on as soon as the jar is full.
5. Pot the chutney into the prepared jars sealing while still hot. Cool and label. Store for a few days before using to let the flavours develop.
6 March 2010 – Note: The first batch of pickle was a half quantity and I was happy with it. However the second batch I made was rather too salty so I have halved the salt content of the original recipe. (I wonder if I might have misread the recipe the first time I made it, using 1tsp rather than 1tbsp.) I rectified the problem by making a second half batch without salt, mixing it with the one that was too salty and re-potting.