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How To Make Padma Lakshmi's Yummy Lemon Pickle

By Rediff Get Ahead
July 05, 2022 18:39 IST
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This hot South Indian pickle reminds Padma Lakshmi of her grandmother.

IMAGE: Padma Lakshmi shows off her pickle jar that has lemon pickle that has been marinating for six months.
Photographs and video: Kind courtesy Padma Lakshmi/Instagram

Supermodel, author and chef Padma Lakshmi learnt how to make lemon pickle from her grandmother Jima (external link).

Her simple recipe requires some planning ahead as the lemons are marinated in sea salt for six months!

Lemon Pickle or Oorga goes well with Thayir Sadam or Yogurt Rice. Please click the link to check out the recipe for Zelda Pande's Gourmet Thayir Sadam.

IMAGE: The pickle can be used as a relish for meats and sandwiches.

Lemon Pickle

Servings: 2 cups


  • 6 lemons
  • 6 tbsp coarse sea salt or coarse Himalayan pink salt or kosher salt
  • 2-3 tbsp neutral oil like a light olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 5 badi elaichi or big black cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp saunf or fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 3 heaping tsp cayenne powder or 6-7 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp hing or asafoetida
  • 4-5 slices chopped ginger, optional
  • 5-6 green chillies, optional


  • Cut the lemons into chunks and place them in a large glass, airtight jar and cover with sea salt.
    Store the jar in a dark pantry cupboard for 6 months.
    You can add chopped ginger and green chillies after 4 months.
  • Roast whe whole spices in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant.
    When the spices are cool enough to handle, add them to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle along with the powdered spices.
    Pound/grind everything to a coarse powder.
  • Set the same pan used to roast the spices over medium heat and add the oil.
    Add the spices to the hot oil, stirring for about 10-12 minutes.
    When the colour of the spices change to a darker brown or red, turn off the heat.
    In a large bowl, add the lemon and salt mixture to the spices and stir well.
    Store the pickle in an airtight glass jar, where it will last for up to a year. 

WATCH: Padma Lakshmi shows you how to make her grandmother's special Lemon Pickle.

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