This is actually a Sun-dried lime pickle (नींबू चूर्ण) which is a great digestive aid. Being dry, it is easy to carry during travels and yet is equally healthy. There are simpler recipes, where the spices are heated, mixed and ready for consumption. Those recipes miss the whole essence of gut fauna and are only a treat for the tongue. Probiotics and functional foods are meant to strike a balance between health and taste without leaning too much on either side.
नींबू चूर्ण Lemon Chooran Recipe
- a tray to dry
- 5 gm Lemon
- 2.5 gm Sugar
- 800 gms Sea salt
- 150 gms Rock Salt
- 100 gm Cumin seeds Jeera
- 100 gm Carom seeds Ajwain
- 50 gm Dill seeds suva dana
- 25 gm Black Cardamom
- 50 gms Cloves, Lavang
- 100 gms Black pepper 100gms
- 10 gm Cinnamon 10gms
- 25-100 gms Liquorice Harad
- 200 gm Ginger
- 200 gm Tamarind
- 5 gm Asafetida (arabic gum) Hing 5gms (if gum, 25gms if the powder is used),
- Red Chili and other spices as per taste.
- Mix and powder all the spices with 250gm of salt.
- Cut the lemon into 8 pieces (2 cuts radially and one diametrically).
- Squeeze the lemon. Put the skin in the pickle jar and juice over the powdered spices.
- Make the paste from juice and spices. (Add the remainder of salt to make it thick) and pour over the lemon peels.
- Keep the container in the Sun for a week. Mix it every day so that the mold does not establish itself over the top layer.
- Lacto-fermentation would establish in a week. The lime skins will no longer be bitter but soft and tart.
- Add sugar, mix well and keep it in the Sun for another week. Sugar crystals drive out the moisture from the skin-flesh of the lime and Sun helps to dry it out.
- After a week, transfer the contents into a wide shallow tray or bed (non-metallic or stainless steel). Continue turning the mixture, to ensure that the spicy gel sticks around the lemon peel as they dry out.
- Once the syrup dries out completely and sugar starts to convert into a jelly on the surface, we pack it and store it.
- Rolling the lemon peels over sugar powder (bura) or coarse wheat flour will reduce the stickiness.
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During monsoons, we heat them in the oven with the convection fan on at low temperatures to dehydrate without killing the microbes. Taking a bite is the best way to gauge the moisture levels. It should feel moist but not wet (like a mithai/ sweetmeat) or brittle.
This sweet & sour spicy candy can be customized to incorporate any herbs based on the ailment. It is digestive and is best taken after the meal.