10 January 2013,02:18 by
Ponmathi Srilekha.S

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This powerful relish is flavoured with spices and punchy preserved lemons. It reached India by way of Spain, introduced by Jewish refugees, who were forced to leave that country in the 15th century.
Serves :

Preparation Method :

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the onions and stir, then cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and pale gold in colour.
  • Add the peeled garlic cloves and the crushed coriander seeds. Cover and cook for 5 - 8 minutes until the garlic is soft.
  • Add a pinch of salt, lots of pepper, and the sugar. Stir, then cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Soak the saffron in about 45 ml / 3 tablespoons warm water for 5 minutes, and then add it to the onions, with the soaking water.
  • Add the cinnamon stick, dried chillies, if using, and bay leaves. Stir in 30 ml / 2 tablespoons of the sherry vinegar and the orange juice.
  • Cook over low heat, uncovered, until the onions are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in the preserved lemon and cook gently for further 5 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, sugar, and/or vinegar to taste.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. The relish tastes best if it is left to stand for 24 hours.


  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 large red onions, sliced
  • 3 heads of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed but not finely ground
  • 3 teaspoons light muscovado sugar, plus a little extra
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 3 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 5 small whole dried red chillies 
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Juice of ½ small orange
  • 4 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper

1 comment for “Red Onion, Garlic, and Lemon Relish”

  • Elena Cooper
    Posted 02 May 2020 at 19:31:38

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