Sun-Dried Food Products Series ~ II: Dhoop Nimbu

The last month in Hyderabad was very hot, with temperatures almost touching 45°C in the daytime. Though these temperatures made me uneasy and frustrated, my Nani(grandmother) made good use of those days by preparing something I had missed a lot. She made a little quantity of Dhoop Nimbu upon my request and here I am sharing her recipe with you all. She recalled that her husband, my late Nana(grandfather) was an ardent fancier of this acidic sun preserved wonder. He used to prepare it regularly and relished it always along with some Mash ki Dal and Warqi Roti at breakfasts when he was alive. The process of preparation is simple, but requires some special conditions. Strong sunshine for almost a week, thoroughly clean and dry utensils are essential for the process.

Dhoop Nimbu ~ Sun Preserved Lemons


Mota Namak/Coarse Salt – 4 tbsp
Lemons – 6

Choose 6 blemish free ripe and yellow thin skinned lemons and wash them thoroughly. Wipe them completely dry with a clean cloth. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke 4 of the 6 lemons making superficial slits on all over them and keep aside in a dry bowl. Juice the remaining two lemons and keep aside in a bowl. Now add 1 tablespoon of mota namak in a clean and dry glass jar with a tight lid. Add a gashed lemon to the jar and add an another tablespoon of mota namak to it. Likewise keep adding the mota namak and the gashed lemons until both the ingredients are used up. Lastly pour in the reserved juice of the two lemons. Close the lid of the jar and shake the bottle thoroughly. Place this jar in an area that receives almost 6 hours of strong sunshine. Keep rotating the bottle hourly or after every 3 hours everyday when you keep it in the sun. Bring the jar indoors when it is dark and place it back in the sun the next day. Keep repeating it for until 5-6 days. By then you will notice that the lemons will start changing color into light brown and will begin to get softer. Also they will release juices and shrink in size. At the end of the 5th or 6th day,  transfer the jar of sun preserved lemons in the refrigerator to store and use when required. The prepared Dhoop Nimbu is ready for consumption.

To use: Using a dry slotted spoon, take a preserved lemon from the jar. Cut it into required number of pieces and serve them on the side along with meals. These preserved lemons are very acidic and quite delicious. The juices that are released along with the mota namak is not suitable are consumptions as it is very briny in taste. However when all the sun preserved lemons have been used up, the remaining briny juices can be used up to make a new batch of dhoop nimbu.
You can also cut all sun preserved lemons and make a pickle out of them following the same process for lemon pickle given here.

Dhoop Nimbu Pictorial

Characters in Play: (Indian) Thin-Skinned Lemons and Mota Namak

Day 1 in Sun

Day 2 in Sun

Day 3 in Sun

Day 4 in Sun

Day 5 in Sun


Other Amazing sun dried Indian food products from this series are:
1. Sukhi Dahi Mirch – Sun dried Yogurt Chillies
2. Dal ki Badiyan – Sun Dried Lentil Nuggets


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14 Responses to “Sun-Dried Food Products Series ~ II: Dhoop Nimbu”

  1. Awesome pics taken..our nanis…are really so good at such recipes…make the best of ur india trip…

  2. wowwwwwww… What a classic recipe !?.. looks perfect dear.. nice clicks too.. 🙂

  3. WOW!!! Looks mouthwatering. Nice clicks too.

  4. My grandma used to make out this sun dried lemons, makes me nostalgic..

  5. Those are soooooooo tempting and looking great !!!

  6. I love the dhoop nimbu…just wanted to know is “mota namak” available here in the USA!

    Summrana, if you are not able to find mota namak/coarse salt in the markets, you can also use regular salt that we use in daily cooking according to taste.

  7. this looks so yummy Mona, I am missing my Nani now

  8. almas hashmi Says:

    My God my Grandmother used to make such pickle in Khairpur Mirs Sind long long time ago ,I finally got that nice recipe from you.I will sure make them.

  9. my mom makes mangoes preserved in brine liek this.. we too just mash it into whatever curry we have, but especially with fish curry.

  10. What a wonderful recipe and one that can be used in so many different cuisines and dishes. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  11. assk mona
    very happy to see dhoop nimbu recipe. i am planning to do the same in july inshlh when summer is good.
    also enjoyed ur mausambi ka juice recipe.
    hae fun in hyd and take care

  12. hi mona how are you………………. i am fine hope the same from you ….i am also in hyderabad now have come down its really great to seee everything auround as u know my husband native is hyd and we both were missing hyd… when i opend ur dhoop nimbu recipie u made our vacation………mona just wanted to know will it come out well if we use the same recipie with mango ..kairi(raw mango)

    Nishat, the recipe wont come out well if you use green mango (kairi) instead of lemons.

  13. This must be the best sun soaked pickle 😀

  14. Awesome. Another one of my favourites. And it’s so simple to make, isn’t it? My mom nearly always has a jar of ‘dhoop nimbu’ in her house.

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