Naarthangai Pachadi / Citron Pachadi

When I saw naarthangai at the local market last week, bought them on an impulse because where we live it is a rare sight to see. When I came home MIL told that we already have a big jar of naarthangai pickle. So I decided to make some other recipes using naarthangai – made pachadi and uppu naarthangai.

This naarthangai pachadi is a saiva pillai special which I learnt from my mom, but this is the first time I am trying it on my own. This sweet and sour pachadi tastes different from your regular pickle and tingles your tastebuds. This recipe is conventionally had as a side dish with idli, dosa and curd rice. I have tried them with rotis and they taste as good. This easily provides you with your daily dose of vitamin C, which in turn helps in better absorption of iron. No wonder moms and grandmothers always served a piece of citron/lemon pickle with lunch 🙂

This stays well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks in a sterile closed container. When needed, take the required quantity of pachadi in a separate bowl using a clean dry spoon. Reheat if you want. Outside the fridge it stays well for a week.

P.S. Use only gingelly oil, which is important for the flavour of the pachadi. It also acts as a preservative.

Naarthangai Pachadi / Citron Pachadi


1 naarthangai / citron big size

1 big lemon size ball of tamarind

2 small lemon size balls of jaggery

6-8 red chillies ( adjust according to taste )

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 pinches of hing

salt as required

2 tsp + 1/2 tsp gingelly oil

For tempering:

1 tbsp gingelly oil

1 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp urad dhal

1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)


  1. Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of  hot water and extract a thick juice.
  2. Roast the red chillies, fenugreek and hing separately in 1/2 tsp oil. Cool and make it into a powder.
  3. Wash and cut the naarthangai into small bite size pieces.
  4. In a pan add 2 tsp gingelly oil and saute the cut pieces. Add 2 cups of water or water till the pieces are immersed. Cook in a medium flame for about 10 minutes till the naarthangai pieces are soft.
  5. Now drain the excess water and keep the cooked naarthangai pieces aside. This step is very important because the water in naarthangai is cooked is very bitter and should be discarded.
  6. Now add the naarthangai pieces to the tamarind juice along with the chilly powder mix and the required amount of salt. Pour this into the pan and allow it to boil.
  7.  Now add the jaggery and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Finally do the tempering in generous amounts of gingelly oil. This acts as a preservative.
  9. Store in a dry, sterile container with a tight lid in the fridge. Enjoy with idli, dosa and curd rice.

December 12, 2011. Tags: , , , . Nellai Samaiyal, Pachadi, Sidedish.

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