The spicier counterpart to Moroccan preserved lemons, this pickle can be made in just a day and used immediately, unlike some traditional recipes that call for a 30-day-or-longer curing period.
Nonetheless, it will deepen in flavor as it ages. Use it on rice, as a table accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, or even mixed with cream cheese on a bagel or in a sandwich.
The recipe calls for asafetida, an oniony spice that is available at Indian markets, where the curry leaves and dried sanaam chili peppers also can be found.
Make Ahead: The lemons need to marinate for 1 or 2 days. The pickle can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Servings: 2.5 cups
- 4 medium (about 1 pound) lemons
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seed
- 4 to 5 dried chili peppers, preferably an Indian variety such as sanaam (see headnote)
- 1/2 teaspoon asafetida (see headnote)
- 6 to 7 curry leaves (see headnote)
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Wash and dry the lemons. Cut each one in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 16 equal pieces. Place in a medium bowl and add the salt and vinegar. Cover; marinate at room temperature for 1 or 2 days, stirring occasionally.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds; once they start to crackle, add the dried chili peppers, asafetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds, stirring to combine, then add the marinated lemon pieces and their marinating liquid along with the chili powder, garlic powder, turmeric and ginger. Mix well and bring to a boil; cook for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the lemon pieces start to become tender.
Cool completely in the saucepan, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
Adapted from K.N. Vinod, chef-restaurateur of Indique, Indique Heights and Bombay Bistro.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.