Nimmakaya Kharam

Nimmakaya Kharam with Idli
Nimmakaya Kharam with Idli

I was reviewing the recipes I posted in the year gone by. I was so amused to see my Andhra origins coming through loud and clear with the number of pachadi and uragaya recipes I have posted. So I thought why break the tradition and am continuing this year with the same theme.

Nimmakaya Khaaram is a simple but HOT side dish that goes fantastically well with hot rice and ghee or mudda-pappu Annam, or then with idli or garelu (medu vada or ulundu vada). I had quite forgotten about it till I had it at my nephew’s place in Chennai, when I visited him in December.  Thank you, Jyoti and Rani, for this marvellous heirloom recipe.


  1. Minapa Pappu/Udad Dal/Black Gram – 1 tsp
  2. Avalu/Rai/Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  3. Menthulu/Methi Dana/Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  4. Red Chillies – 10 to 12
  5. Oil – 1 tsp
  6. Lemon Juice – 3-4 tbsp
  7. Salt to Taste


  1. Heat the oil in a ladle.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, udad dal, and methi seeds.
  3. Over medium heat, fry till the udad dal starts to turn golden brown brown.
  4. Add the split red chillies and fry for about 1 minute.
  5. Let the mix cool.
  6. Grind to fine powder.
  7. Remove the powder into a bowl.
  8. Add the lemon juice and salt.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Serve with hot rice and ghee, idlis, or medu vada.


  • You can store the powder in an air-tight jar and use as much as needed with the appropriate amount of lemon juice.
  • The red chillies should be really spicy for you to appreciate this dish. 🙂

Nimmakaya Uragaya – 1 (Andhra Lemon Pickle with Oil)

Nimmakaya Uragaya | Andhra Style Lemon Pickle in Oil
Nimmakaya Uragaya | Andhra Style Lemon Pickle in Oil

Nimmakaya Urugaya (or simply Nimmakaya) can be fund in most South Indian homes and certainly in many South Indian weddings. The pleasure of having Nimmakaya with Perugu Annam (curd rice/thair sadam) is indescribable.

This pickle is one of the few foods that you can “taste” when you are ill and when your sense of taste is dulled.

As children, when we were ill, my mother and grandmother would wash off all the spice/masala from the pickled lemon pieces and give us the piece to suck or with pappu annam or perugu annam. On other days, I would save the “cleaned” piece for the last while having lunch/dinner, only to have my brother steal it! 🙂

You can find lemons all through the year in India. However, the best time to make lemon pickle is in winter when you get the juicy fruit in abundance.

This is a nilava urugaya, which means that you can preserve and use it for up to 2 years or more.

Do also try my recipe for Avakaya, DosavakayaUsiri Avakai and Usirikaya Nilava Pachadi.

How to Make Nimmakaya Uragaya | Andhra Style Lemon Pickle in Oil


  1. Lemons – 25
  2. Salt – 1/2 Cup
  3. Turmeric – 2 tsp
  4. Chilli Powder – 2/3 Cup
  5. Sesame Oil – 1/2 Cup
  6. Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  7. Fenugreek Seeds – 1/2 tbsp
  8. Asafoetida Powder/Hing – 1/2 tsp


  1. Wipe the lemons dry with a soft, dry cloth.
  2. If possible, dry them in the sun for about 1 hour.
  3. In an absolutely dry wok/kadai, mix salt and tumeric powder.
  4. Cut the lemons into quarters or smaller pieces.
  5. Add the lemon pieces to the salt and turmeric pieces.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Store in a dry, clean, air-tight ceramic or glass jar for 3 days.
  8. After 3 days, in a wok/kadai, heat the sesame oil.
  9. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. Add asafoetida powder.
  12. Let the oil cool completely to room temperature.
  13. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they just start to change color.
  14. Let the fenugreek seeds cool completely and powder them.
  15. When the oil is completely cool, add fenugreek powder, chilli powder, and the lemon-turmeric-salt mix to the oil.
  16. Mix well.
  17. Store in a dry, clean, air-tight ceramic or glass jar for 3 weeks.
  18. Enjoy!