Spicy African Preserved Limes

"No other citrus compares to the flavour of limes! These are like preserved lemons, only well spiced! You can use as much hot pepper powder as you like. Serve as a sambal (side dish) with curry, use chopped as a roast chicken seasoning, or add to a Moroccan tagine for extra flavour. Chopped, they are also great in cous-cous. The recipe should yield a large canning jar of spiced limes. (Prep time is a problem here! Easy to make, but takes place over a week!)"
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:
168hrs 30mins
1-2 jars


  • 25 limes
  • 1 cup coarse salt (koshering salt, 250 ml)
  • 4 tablespoons mustard powder (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (15 ml, or a hot pepper powder such as cayenne, some recipes add up to 5 oz, use to to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed (15 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed (30 ml)
  • 3 ounces mustard seeds, yellow (90 g)
  • 2 12 cups sunflower oil (625 ml, any cooking oil you use, but not olive)


  • Wash the limes and dry them, then cut into wedges. In a glass bowl, mix them with the salt.
  • Cover with clingwrap and store in a cool place for a week, or until the lime wedges start discolouring.
  • Mix all the spices together, add to the limes, and toss well. Cover again, and let stand for another 2 - 3 days.
  • Sterilise a large canning jar by putting it in a cookie (or other tin) in a cold oven and heating the oven to about 300 deg F/ 150 deg C or more. Leave jar (or 2 - 3 smaller jars) at that heat for at least 10 minutes, or until you fill the jar. It has to be very hot, otherwise it will crack at the next step.
  • Heat the oil in a pot (be very careful not to burn yourself) until it is very hot and starts to smoke. Please watch the oil!
  • (Keep the lid of the pot handy -- if the worst happens and the oil catches fire, slam on the lid. This will kill the fire immediately).
  • When the oil gets to really hot, take the sterililised jar or jars out of the oven, and pack in the lime wedges. It's best to use tongs.
  • Pour the smoking hot oil over the limes, and seal with a lid.
  • Store at room temperature for at least a week before using.

Questions & Replies

Got a question? Share it with the community!


Have any thoughts about this recipe? Share it with the community!


I'm a widow, retired, and I love cooking. I live on the coast in South Africa and I love seafood. You're welcome to my recipes (all kinds, definitely not just seafood!) Just remember that no recipe is ever cast in stone -- adjust to your taste! The photo was taken at a rustic seaside restaurant on our West Coast, approx 1 year ago (2016).
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes