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Elumicham Pazham (Lemon/Nimbu) Thokku

Elumicham_Pazham_Lemon_Nimbu_Thokku_1 Thokku, a type of pickle popular in Tamil Nadu can be prepared with raw mango, mangai inji (curcuma amada), gooseberry, curry/coriander leaves, lemon etc., It suits well with curd rice and is easy to prepare.

Here is Elumicham Pazham (Lemon/Nimbu) Thokku. My family members enjoyed this thokku.

Lemon is known as Elumicham Pazham in Tamil and as Nimbu in Hindi.


  • Lemon – 12 noElumicham_Pazham_Lemon_Nimbu_Thokku_2
  • Red chilli powder – 3 heaped table spoon (adjust as per sourness of lemon)
  • Mustard – 1 table spoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tea spoon
  • Fenugreek seed – ½ tea spoon
  • Asafetida (tiny pieces) – ¼ tea spoon
  • Crystal salt – 2 table spoon (adjust as per sourness of lemon)
  • Sesame oil – ½ half cup
  • Sugar – 2 tea spoon (optional)

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  • Wash, wipe and cut lemon into small pieces; remove all seeds; add salt, turmeric and toss well.

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  • Cover and keep it for 2 to 3 days, till the lemon pieces are soft; toss this lemon pieces daily twice (here are day 1 and day 3 photographs).

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  • Dry roast fenugreek, asafetida and grind it coarsely.

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  • Grind the marinated lemon pieces partially.

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  • Heat a heavy bottom pan, add half of oil and do the seasoning with mustard; add ground lemon pieces, mix well and fry for few seconds.

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  • Add red chilli powder, fenugreek-asafetida powder; stir and cook in moderate flame by adding the remaining oil little by little.

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  • Add sugar, mix well and cook till the mix becomes thick and leaves the sides; remove and allow it to cool.

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  • Now Elumicham Pazham (Lemon/Nimbu) Thokku is ready. Store it in air-tight container.



  • It takes almost a day for the taste of Thokku to stabilize.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • pavithra June 19, 2010, 8:12 pm

    Nice step pictures for the pickle.. thats really mouthwatering and heavenly with curd rice…

  • Priya June 19, 2010, 8:52 pm

    Wowww thokku looks tempting and mouthwatering..

  • Chetana June 20, 2010, 6:19 am

    Kamala….tis thokku is absolutely tasty…loved ur version…i never made it wit fenugreek seeds…always used fenugreek powder n even mustard.
    Bookmarking ur recipe, will try next time when the pickle season arrives.
    And cud not ignore tat lemon tree…is it in ur backyard??? m too crazy abt gardening …wud luv to hv one in my backyard as well… :-)

  • Kamala June 20, 2010, 12:02 pm

    @ Chetana,
    This lemon tree is in my village garden. I do take some photographs from there.

  • Gayathri July 27, 2010, 2:56 am

    Photo is really mouthwatering…heard many names of thokku but never lemon thokku… Trying for sure.. Thanks for the rec.

  • Jaya July 29, 2010, 2:22 am

    Could you please tell me if I can make the thokku with lemons available in the US. They do have thick peel (unlike the ones we get in India). Here limes have thin peel. Can I try the same thokku with lime? Pls respond. Thanks!

  • Kamala July 30, 2010, 8:51 am

    @ Jaya
    Thokku can be prepared with thick or thin peel. Quantity of thokku will reduce if it is of thin peel.

  • Jaya July 30, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Thanks for the response Mrs.Kamala!

  • Ragavi June 21, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Hi Kamala
    Yummy thokku!!
    Could you please tell me what type of utensil you used for storing the lemons? In the photo it looks like ceramic. Could you also tell me the effective way of preserving the thokku.

  • Kamala June 22, 2011, 5:43 pm

    @ Ragavi,
    As pickle/thokku are acidic, I store it in ceramic/glass utensils instead of metallic utensils.
    As I don’t use any preservatives, I keep it in airtight container for few days. Sometimes I keep it in refrigerator. I generally prepare in less quantity so that in finishes off within ten days.
    Preservatives are added in the pickle/thokku sold in the market.

  • Sid December 28, 2012, 10:59 am

    What was the weight of the lemons you used in the recipe?
    I agree with Jaya the lemons in USA are larger, thicker and less acidic. The weight would help us properly proportion the recipe to what is available in USA. Thanks in advance!

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