Lemon Pickle or lemon preserves are perhaps one of the most popular condiments in Indian cuisine. It’s popularly known as ‘Nimbu ka Achaar’ in the north. There are endless variations of this pickle. This is my father-in-law’s super-hit family recipe, that he inherited from his grandmother! It goes great with lentils, curries, biryani, rice pilaf, stuffed flatbreads, naan. Recently, I served it with my cheese platter, along with crackers and creamy brie- it was such a hit and so many of my friends asked me for this recipe. It is now a staple on my cheese plate appetizer!
Typically, lemon pickle is made in summer by brining lemons in their own juice, salt and a blend of spices, and sugar in some variations. The pickle is then matured in sunlight and this process takes a few weeks. This is my version- except this one got ready in 30 minutes!
This pickle tastes even more delicious as it ages. I make it and refrigerate it for a few weeks before taking it out. It stays good in the refrigerator for a few months at least! In this video, I have made this pickle in my Instant Pot, but it can be made on the stove-top, or in a regular pressure cooker too. Check out “how-to” instructions in the Notes section.
Sweet 'n' Spicy Lemon Pickle in Instant PotPrint Recipe
Wash and dry 6 lemons. Turn on the Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup water in the inner pot and place a trivet. Place lemons in a bowl and place on top of the trivet. Close the lid. Set the vent to Sealing position. Hit Manual (High Pressure) for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, roast the spice blend for grinding. Place panch puran (5 spice blend) on a microwave safe plate and heat in microwave for 3 minutes in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Cool for 5 minutes and grind to a fine powder in a spice blender.
Wait for natural pressure release from the Instant Pot. Open lid and remove the lemons. Cut in halves and remove seeds. Turn on the Instant Pot on sauté mode and let it heat up, about 30 seconds. Add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to splutter, add lemons, salt, sugar and all spices. Stir well.
Continue to sauté for 4-5 minutes till the liquid reaches a jam like consistency. Turn off the Instant Pot. For best results, let the pickle rest in the refrigerator for 4-5 days before eating.
Stove Top: Follow the instructions and cook in a deep sauce pan, on medium heat, for 25-30 minutes, covered, till the lemons cook through and reach a jammy consistency. Keep stirring every 4-5 minutes.
If you don't have Panch Poran spice blend, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek) . If you like your pickle more spicy and/or sweet, you can always add more during the sauté process.