Monday, July 30, 2007

Home Made Citron pickle/Narthangai Oorugai

I was totally thrilled in a word, when the JFI of the month was announced as Chillies, the unavoidable ingredient of the Indian Cuisine and the lovely hot vegetable my blog supports!.

Narthangai popularly known as Citron belonging to the Citrus family is commonly preserved as the pickle or the sour juice used to make the rice variety named Nathampazha sadham, in Tamil Cuisine.The half-ripened citrons are the best to make pickles and the ripened, Narthampazha sadham, ‘pazham’simply meaning ‘the fruit’.

Thus, a few days back, a couple of Citrons were seen trotting gaily into my house, unexpectedly, sent by my ma in law, direct from her garden!.Normally I had tried making the Citron Rice as noted earlier,but not used to making pickles with the same.Therefore it was lazily postponed till the mind got refreshed to proceed confidently with the easiest version of pickle-recipe after my lovely eldest sis in law.Her recipe was perfect, since I followed her sweet advices like…try to make a little quantity at first,do not use too much of oil while tempering as it might absorb all the extra quantity used, better use a ceramic jar or a wide mouthed glass bottle and wooden spoons, refrigerate when not in use as we are still not experts and the pickle might get spoilt soon and so on…..but the oorugai stays well in my jar even after a week on the stone topped console of the dining room.:).

So, let me share, her version of the recipe, which was well approved by her younger brother, naturally!!.. :).....;my entry to JFI-Chillies hosted by the blog celebrity, Nanditha of Saffron Trail, the great event being the brain child of yet another celebrity of the blogosphere, Indira of Mahanandi.

Yields- One small dessert bowl.


1. An Orange sized half ripe Citron / Narthangai.
2. Green chillies(optional)-each cut into 4s,by slitting once length wise and then again breadthwise.
3. A tbsp of Fresh red chilly powder.I used ‘Shakthi’ brand, the best available and excellent for pickles.
4. A tbsp of Gingelly/sesame seed oil /nalla ennai
5. ½ tsp of Mustards/kaduku
6. Salt-to taste.You may need at least 3 tsps.Again it is recommended that the amount chilly powder and salt has to be adjusted to suit your personal needs.
7. 3 pinches of hing/kayam.
8. A tsp of fenugreek seeds/venthaiyam/uluva


1. Slice the citron into 2 halves, just as the way an orange is sliced.The first half as to be cut into cubes and refrigerate the extracted juice from the second.

2. Add salt to the cut pieces in a ceramic jar.Toss well. Secure with an appropriate lid and keep the jar aside in a warm, cool place for 2-3 days, tossing the pieces at least twice a day.

3. By the third day the pieces would have turned softer along with its juice,oozed out of the pieces due to the added salt.Add the green chilly pieces and toss.Top this with the red chilly powder as a small heap.

4. Heat oil and splutter the mustard seeds.Add hing and immediately pour this over to the chilly powder heap.The heat of the oil will help to get rid of the raw flavour of the powder.Do not add the chilly powder along with the tempered ingredients on fire as this will burn the powder and it might lose its colour, taste and thickness.

5. Dry fry the fenugreek seeds in medium flame for a few seconds and powder.Add not more than 3 pinches of the powder as even little more would turn the pickle bitter. Add the Citron juice now and toss or mix the pickle well using a wooden or a plastic spoon.Check salt and store carefully closed in a warm and cool place.

- Making pickles in larger quantities does need lots of expertise.The quality and the shelf life of the pickle depends upon the quality of the Citron and the chilly powder used along with the storage conditions.Therefore it is necessary to use the best available ingredients and store the pickle appropriately, in a closed jar with a piece of white cloth tied loosely around the neck.There are a few more methods of preparation,as well.Salted citron pieces are also sun dried and preserved, activating with the chilly powder and the other ingredients along with a little warm water, to turn to pickle, whenever needed.Citrons are invariably supreme to lime in taste, aroma and medicinal values.You can very well substitute citrons by lime and follow the same method for making Lime Pickle....


  1. Comments are sometimes bitter and unwanted.Since I received one today,I was forced to delete the whole post(as it was unable to delete that particular comment).. and re-entered my recipe again..

  2. I had certainly gone thru and appreciated the wonderful comments sent by my dear friends..

    Prema Sundar
    Sukanya Ramkumar
    Dilip Bhai
    Dr Soumya

    Heartfelt thanks and hugs to you all:)..

  3. Bharathy,strange thing is I got a LOOONG rambling non-sensical comment too today from a anonymous!! I was surprised to see that and of course deleted.Somebody has lot of time on their hands!!
    Sorry you have to repost but glad to see the recipe intact.Take care!:)

  4. your ma-in-law grows so many wonderful things, bharathy. lovely recipe.

    don't let some losers deter you. i would keep the comment on, so that everyone can see what idiots they are.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. OOOh, too bad about the nasty comment. Glad to see this nice post back up though, MIL's are so cute huh! Yes, they give a lot of directions too!

    I think its so nice to have people to learn these things from!


  7. Take that off yr mind Bharathy! There are other nicer things to think about. Have a fun day, Dear!

  8. Even I got a similar message but found it in the scam. It was very long comment :)

  9. Lovely post Bharathy and the pickle is mouth watering. Viji

  10. Sorry to note that same spam in Asha's and Archana's..

    Thanx Bee and sugi for the great consoles..!!:)

    Hugs to you girls,Kanchana and Viji...

  11. Hi Bharathy...
    The same thing happ for me also yesterday.....But i was abe to delete it....So sad abt ur reposting... BTW.....Ur pickel is looking mouth watering....Love the colour....

  12. Bharathy,
    this is a lovely recipe...I usually associate Naarthangai (the salted one) with sickness as that's what i was fed with curd rice whenever i used to fall sick as a child, but this red fiery one is naarthangai in a lovely new avatar...will surely try it whenever my MIl in madras sources some nice citron fruits for me...
    sorry about the bad comment, must be some kind of spam, even i got a third rate one some time ago, just had to delete it!

  13. Hi Bharathy,
    thou I keep myself just away from pickles (except that of dates, which is sweet, of course!!!), I am sure my husband who is a great fan of these..will definitely drool over the sight of your preparation!!

  14. I am going to have this pickle with purees or chapatis. And with vegetable salad it would be just fantastic. What do you think!

  15. hi bharathy,,

    i just searched the recipe of citron pickle... i came across urs..yesterday i tried it came out nice.thanks
    vesta vijay


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