Lime Pickle (Mombasa Style)

There are many types of lime pickles readily available in grocery stores, but there is always that special feeling of achievement when pickle is home-made.

This particular type of pickle is local to Mombasa, Kenya available in all grocery stores, from hawkers and from home chefs, yet it is made in many households due to the abundance of thin skinned yellow limes.

The best part of this pickle is that it contains no oil and can be stored in the refrigerator. This particular recipe was made popular within our family by my mum and one of my aunt’s in Kenya.   

For best results use only thin skinned yellow limes and if these are not available and you use green limes, or thick skinned lemons then expect a different result.


  • 12 thin skinned yellow limes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbs red chillie flakes
  • 10 whole garlic cloves (optional)
  • 4 inch thinly sliced fresh ginger (optional)
  • 10 green chillies sliced into two (optional)


  1. Soak the limes in warm water for 2hrs (optional). Discard the water and dry the limes with kitchen paper.
  2. Thinly slice 4 limes into rings and place in a zip-lock plastic bag or place in a bowl.
  3. Squeeze the remaining 8 limes over the slices in the bag or bowl.
  4. Add salt, chillie powder and turmeric, mix once and microwave for 2 mins in the bag – do not seal the bag, (if using a bowl partially cover during cooking in the microwave) cool for 10 mins, mix and microwave for another 2 mins, cool for 10 mins and microwave for 4 mins.
  5. Cool and press the lime skin between thumb and forefinger, it should give if it has softened and breaks off easily, if skin is still tough microwave for a further 2 mins.lime slices in micro
  6. Empty the bag into a wide mouthed glass jar, add the garlic cloves, sliced fresh ginger and green chillies if using, cover with plastic and keep in direct sunshine or on the kitchen window sill for 5 days. Turn over and mix ingredients daily and keep uncovered for a few hours (so mixture doesn’t get mouldy).
  7. Lime rings will become softer and form a thick sauce in the bottle, it is now ready to be stored in the refrigerator. (if its too large a portion for your home, then save half of it in the freezer)
  8. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.

We usually make it in bulk and then store in the freezer in jars or plastic bags. The pickle will thicken over time, just add 2 tbs boiling water and mix well.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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