Global Veg » A Culinary Journal

Key Lime Pickle



One of the first times I realized how truly global the world was becoming was when I had classmate (who was not Indian) in graduate school say that he loved lime pickles with yogurt rice.  This is a truly traditional Southern Indian combination- not something you can pick up eating in a Indian restaurant. What made it even more surprising was when he went on to say that he actually loves it so much that he learned how to make it at home and even had an opinion on the best kind of limes to use.


This recipe for lime pickles is one my mother has made for years.  It has a lot of really good for you ingredients like turmeric and fenugreek. It’s also not as spicy as what you have likely seen in Indian restaurants. With citrus abundant in winter, this is a great time to make these pickles. I think key limes are great since their skins are thinner and easier to cook. However, you can use any lime that you can find .

These pickles are really fast and easy to make.  Stored in the refrigerator, they can last for months. Since they are used in small quantities,  I like bottling them in tiny Weck jars. This way, you don’t have to expose the entire batch when opening the bottle to take some.

While commonly used as a side to some sort rice dish (especially the traditional yogurt rice), these pickles are very versatile and can add just the right kick to almost anything- smear it on some bread or crackers, swirl it in some soup- the possibilities are endless.


Pickled Key Limes


  1. 1 pound of key limes
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  4. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground asafoetida
  6. 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  7. 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  9. 4 teaspoons salt
  10. 2 tablespoons sesame oil


  1. Boil the whole limes in water for about 20-30 minutes (the peel should be soft and easily pierceable).
  2. Drain and cool (just on the counter).
  3. Cut each lime into 4 pieces. Do not waste any of the juice or pulp that might come out when cutting. I cut the limes on a small stainless steel plate.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.
  5. Heat 4 tablespoons sesame oil in a wok/skillet/dutch oven.
  6. Add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds.
  7. Add 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder.
  8. Once the mustard seeds start popping, add the limes with their juice.
  9. Give a quick stir.
  10. Add the remaining ingredients.
  11. Cook over low for another 20 minutes.
  12. Bottle and store.

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