With the current pandemic and work from home situation, I have a little extra time on hand. This weekend, I made this super delicious lemon lime chutney! My grandmother used to make a variety of pickles and chutneys every summer. One of those was the Nimbu ki chutney or Lemon Lime Chutney. She used to chop up lemons into small pieces, add the sugar and spices, cover the mouth of the jar with a muslin cloth and leave it out in the sun for weeks to get ready. Well Summer sun in India is so hot that the chutney is ready in a couple of weeks, although the longer it stays the tastier it becomes. But over here in North America especially the Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of rainy days and the sun is not that strong, especially now that it is fall here. Nowadays outside feels more like a refrigerator than a warm kitchen 😜
For this lemon lime chutney, I used my Biji’s (that’s what I used to call my grandmother) recipe, but only sped it up by actually cooking the whole thing on the stove. This sweet, spicy and of course tangy chutney is actually totally fat free and sinfully good. You can eat this with rice, daal roti or even spread it on a toast , in a sandwich or maybe eat it by the spoonful (just sometimes). It tastes great with some crackers and spreadable cheese like boursin 😋
For this Lemon Lime Chutney, I used a combination of limes ( my favourite) and lemons , steamed them in the steamer for 15 -20 minutes, pulverized them in the blender, and then cooked them with dry roasted spices and sugar to get a nice spreadable consistency. At this point the chutney is ready to be eaten, but the flavours intensify over time and it only gets better. This chutney has a long shelf life even without refrigeration, just make sure to use a dry spoon every time to get the chutney out.
9 Lemons /Limes
Sugar 1 1/2 cup
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp dry ground ginger
Salt and red chilli powder/flakes to taste
Spices dry roasted and ground coarsely
1 tbsp ajwain
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp kalonji / nigella / onion seeds
1 tsp black peppercorn
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp rai/ small mustard seeds
Soak the lemons and limes in water overnight or for about 4 hours.
Steam the lemons and limes for 15-20 minutes in a steamer or alternately you can boil them. Boiling might affect the intensity of the flavour though.
Dry Roast the spices till they are fragrant and grind them. Keep them aside.
Once the lemons and limes are softer, take them off the steam and let them cool down for a little while. Once cold enough to handle chop them coarsely and blend them in the blender, juice and all. If you want chunky chutney, you skip blending.
Pour the blended lemons and limes in a heavy base pan, along with the spices, asafoetida, ground ginger, sugar, salt and chilli powder. Mix well.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about half an hour or so, stirring occasionally. The chutney will darken in colour as it cooks.
Once most of the liquid has evaporated and chutney has thickened to a spreadable consistency, take it off the heat. It will continue to thicken as it sits.
Once cooled pour it in sterilized jars and leave it on the counter.
It is ready to be savoured, though the spices infuse, and flavours intensify after sitting for a few days.
If you leave in a sunny and hot place, you can put it out in sun for a week or so every day (remember to bring it back in just in case it rains).