4 lemon-based regional Indian recipes that will add a dose of Vitamin C to your meal

I am a big fan of Indian food, not that much of Indian specie though. But the other day I came across this article about Vitamin C and I love it. The original article is on www.vogue.in.

Lemon seamlessly blends into Indian cuisine. So much so that even if we didn’t start our day with a lemon-hot water shot, there is enough lemon juice being squeezed into our dishes in each meal. Now more than ever, you need to boost your immunity and a dash of extra lemon juice in your diet can go a long way. Lemon lifts up the dishes, refreshes a recipe and adds a major sour flavour that is all-natural, and tough to bring out with other agents like an apple cider vinegar. Vogue spoke to clinical and sports nutritionist Raksha G Lulla, director of Locavore Consulting to share four hyper regional Indian ways to use lemon and reasons why they will benefit you.

1. Recipe: Bengali Lebu Cha

“A rather great proverb says that you can make lemonade if you have too many lemons thrown your way. I’d just improvise by making cha. Kolkata has a history of the Chinese settling in for a brief period of time. Maybe it was during this time that they introduced Bengalis to a variant of tea, which was brewed with leaves and had with a splash of lime juice once you have poured your cup. Indians went ahead and took the ‘cha’ a step ahead with a dash of salt! Nutrient wise, the limbu-namak combination has a lot to offer—the ions of sodium and hydrogen are simple receptors of the salty and sour taste respectively—which gets a quick reception by the brain, so you’ll get energised faster. Besides, there are a tonne of antioxidants in this beverage—so much that even an athlete can use this drink for recovery and free radical neutralisation.”


  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lemon slice
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp tea leaves


  1. 1Bring one cup of water to a boil and turn off the flame, add the tea leaves and let it brew until it becomes a beautiful caramel colour.
  2. 2Do not let it become brown in colour as that will make the tea bitter.
  3. 3In a cup squeeze the lemon, add the sugar and salt and then add the strained tea liquid.
  4. 4Mix well. Finish by adding a lemon slice. Adjust salt and sugar as per taste.

2. Recipe: Sindhi Tidali Dal

“The amalgamation of three types of dals, onions and tomatoes, a sizzly tadka and delicate nutrients from coriander at the end is finally followed by the game changer: lime juice. Lime, when added at the end, brightens the flavours. But if added earlier on, the citric acid can prevent the dals from tenderising and leaving it raw from inside, and it would also lose its Vitamin C. The vitamin also helps break down the amino acids (proteins) and iron of the three dals and coriander into a form that is easier for the body to use rapidly.”


  • 50gm channa dal
  • 50gm green moong dal
  • 50gm urad dal
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash of lemon juice

For tempering:

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 10-12 pieces garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder


  1. 1Wash all the dals together and soak in water for 30 minutes.
  2. 2Pressure cook with four cups of water, tomatoes, onion, chillies, ginger salt and turmeric.
  3. 3Give it one whistle. Once the pressure comes down, open carefully and allow it to simmer for 7-8 minutes till the dals become tender.
  4. 4In a pan, heat ghee and add all the ingredients for tempering. once they crackle, add it to dal.
  5. 5Finish with coriander and lime juice and serve hot.

3. Recipe: Himachali Lemon Chicken

“As marination, the acid of the lime helps make pathways into the meat so all the spices can seep into the meat. This is required for adequate taste and nutrient profile. Lime juice also neutralises any bacteria that may be residing in the meat. Acidity from lime increases salivation, which helps salivary enzymes to start working on the meats, helping digest them easily.”


  • 300gm chicken leg
  • 60gm ginger, cut in juliennes
  • 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • Fresh coriander, for garnish
  • 80gm whisked yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lime


  1. 1Make slits in the chicken. In a kadhai heat the ghee, add ginger juliennes and sauté till lightly brown.
  2. 2Add the slit green chilli and garlic, cook till the garlic is cooked but not brown.
  3. 3Add crushed black pepper followed by the chicken and salt. Cook the chicken on a high flame to roast it nicely.
  4. 4When the chicken is almost done, add the whisked yoghurt and cook.
  5. 5Make sure the yoghurt does not split. Once the chicken is fully cooked add the lemon juice, adjust seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander.

4. Recipe: Kerala Naranga Lemon Pickle

“Pickles were always known for their gut benefits, and making it with lime and sesame oil makes them further charged. Vitamin B6 and C, magnesium from lime along with tyrosine from sesame oil are all great for boosting the feel good hormone, serotonin. It’s no wonder that this pickle makes its way on the Onam sadya leaf, as prasada to the God.”


  • 6-7 lemons
  • 1 tsp + 50ml sesame oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2-3 pinches asafoetida
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. 1In a pan, sauté lemons with one tbsp sesame oil. Stir for three minutes and keep aside.
  2. 2Once cool, chop in one inch pieces.
  3. 3Add turmeric, salt and massage well.
  4. 4In a separate pan, heat 50ml of sesame oil. Crackle mustard seeds, then add ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Fry on low and keep stirring. Finally add red chilli powder and asafoetida. After a minute, take it off the flame.
  5. 5Add this tempering to the lemon pieces and move them all into a glass jar. Add a few spoons of oil on top and sugar.
  6. 6Allow it to pickle for two days at room temperature before consumption. Store in a sterilised glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Also read:

5 mood-boosting recipes that you need to try if you’re feeling low during the lockdown

Kale, chocolate, cheese and other immune-boosting foods to stock your fridge with in the lockdown

4 vegetarian Indian soup recipes that will keep you warm during rainy, damp days

Source: https://www.vogue.in/how-to/content/4-lemon-based-regional-indian-recipes-that-will-add-a-dose-of-vitamin-c-to-your-meal

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