Bilimbi pickle (Bimbla nonche)

Bimbla nonche

There may be many people like me who like pickles very much. During my childhood, pickle was an essential item of the meal, no meal was complete without it. It was a must with congee(pej) of boiled rice which is usually served between breakfast and lunch at around 11AM in Konkani homes. People use many vegetables to prepare pickles e.g. mangos, lemons, bimbal, bitter gourd, bamboo shoots, cauliflower, green chillies, gooseberries etc. At my home, everybody is pickle lover, so we have at least 2-3 kinds of them all the time. There are some which have very less short shelf life like this one.

Bimbal tree

Bilimbi (bimbal in Konkani) tree is commonly seen in backyards of many houses here. Bimbal is sour in taste. Children like to eat them raw with little salt. They are used in many recipes as souring agents. These are available throughout the year. The tree bears hundreds of fruits. Since bimbal fruits grow abundantly, this pickle is prepared whenever a large quantity is required for any function on a short notice. Once prepared, this pickle should be used within 4 – 5 days. Only the light green firm bimbals are used for this pickle. As they grow, they become soft and yellowish in color and not used.

1 cup bimbal pieces
2 tea spn salt
4 tea spn chilli powder
1-2 tea spn mustard seeds
1/2 tea spn fenugreek seeds
1/2 tea spn asafoetida powder
2 tea spn oil

Take the light green bimbals. Cut them into 1 cm. thick round pieces. Mix the required quantity of salt with these pieces and keep it aside for about 2-3hrs allowing the bimbals to soak the salt.
Take the oil in a small pan and heat it on a low flame. Add mustard, fenugreek and asafoetida. When mustards starts popping, cool them to room temperature and grind to powder. Add this powder to the bimbal pieces along with chilli powder. It is better to store the pickle in refrigerator as it gets spoiled early outside.

33 thoughts on “Bilimbi pickle (Bimbla nonche)”

  1. I love bimbal with salt. I remember stealing these from my neighbors house in Bangalore, as a kid. It was worth being caught and yelled at! I also remember eating a dry bimbal nonche that went great with curd rice. Mouthwatering!!! Have you made bimbal nonche here in the US?

    Shilpa: No Preeti, I haven’t seen it in US so far. This was prepared by aayi in India with the fresh bimbals from our backyard. I have read about bimbal at Cynthia’s blog a couple of days ago, so now I know they are available outside India also.

    1. I made this pickle with Starfruit. Very nice. I was looking for a banana halwa recipe and found you. Today I will try it and see how it will turn out. My roommate in Kuwait used to make prawn pickle and she was from Kerala. When I read this recipe my mouth watered. I have put you on my home screen so I can find your recipes quickly.

  2. Oh wow, absolutely love bimbal in any form, be it in pickle, just with salt or in ross…Some nice memories associated with it :)..

  3. I have seen this pickle enjoyed by many but I find it a little too sour. In Kerala I’ve seen lots of people enjoying this raw with slat and chilli powder.

  4. I love bimbla pickles.
    Just a small hint which i learn from my grandma when making bimbla pickles.
    Just add some sugar and salt to the bimbla and put it in the sun for two days. Then add spices as you mentioned.
    The pickles will last longer.

  5. Shilpa,
    Frozen Bimbul is available in Filipino stores. On thawing they get very soggy, can be used in curries and sarupkari. Not meant for pickles though.

  6. hey shilpa
    u rembered me about mangalore when we used to visit Moodbidri my aunts place…. wowww
    there were so many bimbulis(as called in mangalore) in their yard…. we all kids together collect and eat it with salt.. yummyyyy
    when i saw this above pic my mouth started watering.
    thank u very much shilpa..

  7. Is this something that when u cut looks star shaped?? Sometimes you use it in fish curries to make it a little sour??

  8. Remember eating this at my aunt’s place in Goa. I asked her for the recipe recently and yours is dead on! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Oh, those bimbuls look so enticing and mouth-watering!!!

    One of my favourite pickes, growing up, was bimbul lonche, eaten with plain Dali Thoy !!

    And bimbla gojju is another lovely recipe !!

    How I miss this here !! Have not seen any of the Indian stores here…

    Thanks, aayi for this beautiful recipe!!

  10. Since Cynthia has mentioned bilimbi on her blog, I am pretty sure, I might find it in a Guyanese or Carribean grocery store..

    Will definitely look for it this weekend…

  11. Bilimbi grow in Hawaii… We have a tree that produces 4-5 fruit crops a year
    I have seen them frozen in Mainland US… don’t know how good they would be for the pickles…

  12. Hi
    I would like to ask you how do I grow a Bimbal fruit tree, i would like to try, but I don’t know if it is grown from a seed or not, and how would I get the seeds, could you please help me, please send answer to my email.
    thank you


  13. I have a tree which fruits four or five times a year very prolifically, but I have never really known what to do with them, thanks for the reccipe. Tried to cany them once and that turned out ok. The tree will grow easily from seed. I could send seeds to Bon if I had his address.

  14. Thanks Shilpa, This reminds me My childhood where my grandmother used to prepare this pickle for us to have with congee. Also instead of bimbal you can use carambal.

    You hvave the receipe for keerla launche?


  15. When we visit my husband’s town in Karnataka, we always take back with us home made bimbla lonche. My sister-in-law who makes it for us puts a ton of salt to preserve the bimbal. The lonche actually stays nice and cruncy for upto 2 YEARS in the refrigerator in the US ! Thanks for the recipe I’ll try to make it with some other veg here in the US. What wud be the next best veg to replace Bimbal for the konkani lonche ?

  16. The pictures are wonderful. I remember my grandfathers house in ankola. Does any body know the biological/english name of this fruit ?

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