Instant Sweet & Spicy lemon pickles/ Nimbehannu uppinakai/ Nimbu ka Achar

Hello dear reader, I am from a place where pickles are meant to be salty/spicy, never can be sweetJ Variety of pickles that we make are with mangoes (tender/matured), hog plum, bimbli, amla/gooseberry, lemons & the list goes on…

It is a regular yearly routine in our homes earlier to make these pickles during the season, it used to be at lease 5-6 big ceramic jars of pickles in any given year! During the season of lemons, people used to preserve them by making huli uppinakai (that is what we used to call lemon pickles) which was 2 ingredients (salt & lemons) pickles. Click here for the recipe of lemon pickles which I have shared earlier. People used to prefer to store it without any spice, which was humble yet very rich in terms of values. It was used as a home remedy for minor gut health problems, used as appetizer when no appetite during viral fever. One can add any homemade/ store brought pickles masala instantly to make it mouth-watering spicy pickles.

My today’s post is the recipe of sweet & spicy lemon pickles which goes great with curd rice or South Indian meals. It can be consumed instantly, but tastes great as it ages, say at least a month or 2. This pickles needs to be refrigerated.

By the way, I used thick skinned large Assam lemons from my garden to make this pickles. You can use any variety, preferably thin skinned ones!

Instant Sweet & Spicy lemon pickles

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes


Lemons – 6-8 (medium), I used 3 large lemons

Salt – 2 tbsp

Sugar – ¼ cups or little less

Chilli powder – 6 tsp

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Garlic- 20 cloves (optional), tastes good if added

Oil – 3-4 tsp


  • Wash lemons clean and pat dry with a clean dry kitchen towel.
  • Cut lemons into desired sized pieces (8 pieces if using small, round lemons. More pieces if using big lemons). Remove as many seeds as possible. The lemons I used are seedless.
  • Now we need to cook the lemon pieces. It can be done with or without pressure cooker.
  • Double boiler method to cook:
    • You can use double boiler method using 2 vessels or it can be cooked using a pressure cooker too. If using pressure, add all the lemon pieces in a small vessel which can fit in your pressure cooker.
    • Take 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker. Place the vessel with lemon pieces.
    • Pressure cook for 2 whistles or until soft.
  • Cooking without pressure cooker: Lemons can be cooked in a vessel directly adding little water, if you can finish the pickles within 1- 2 months.
    • Take a thick bottomed vessel.
    • Add all the lemon pieces, salt and sprinkle little water (about 2 tbsp). Cook it until lemons turn tender and done.
  • Add sugar, mix well.
  • Set cooked lemons aside until it cools down.
  • While lemon cools down, peel the garlics and keep it ready .
  • Heat a pan with oil in the ingredients list (coconut/mustard oil is fine). Add peeled cloves of garlic. Fry till you get nice aroma (need not brown them completely). Switch off the heat.
  • Add turmeric powder & chilli powder to this hot tadka. Give a quick mix.
  • Add the seasoning to the pickles and mix well.
  • Store the pickles in an airtight glass or ceramic jar when pickle cools down to the room temperature.
Nimbehannu uppinakai


  • These pickles will get spoiled quickly if kept outside as not prepared traditionally. Water content isn’t avoided. So store in refrigerator after use.
  • Make these pickles in small batches.
  • Traditionally this is made by keeping under the sun after the process.
  • Pickles will have the hint of bitterness initially and it will be reduced after 10-15 days.
Nimbu ka Achar