Narthangai Pickle


Narthangai, also known as Citron or Bitter Orange, has lots of medicinal value, aids digestion and removes the bitterness in the tongue. It is used for making dry pickle, spicy pickle, Pachadi, Kuzhambu etc. Like lemon rice, we can make Narthangai Rice using its juice.

Narthangai Pickle

Recipe by S Kamala
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: PickleCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A pickle dish that is made with Citron (Narthangai) and fermented for weeks


  • Narthangai (Citron) – 5 nos

  • Crystal Salt (Kal Uppu) – 4 to 5 tablespoons

  • Red Chilli Powder – 4 to 5 teaspoons

  • Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam) – 1 teaspoon

  • Asafoetida Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

  • Gingelly Oil – 5 to 6 tablespoons

  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon


  • Wash the Narthangai and wipe it with a clean cloth or paper towel. Ensure no water content on the Narthangai.
  • Keep one Narthangai aside (we need it for taking out the juice at the end).
  • Cut the remaining 4 Narthangai into small pieces. Keep the Narthangai in a Broad plate and cut it so that the juice while cutting will stay in the plate. Remove the seeds. Put the cut pieces along with the juice into a ceramic jar. Add salt and shake the jar well. Cut the remaining Narthangai into two and squeeze out the juice on top of the cut pieces. Again shake it well. Close with lid and keep aside.
  • Everyday morning and evening shake the jar well and leave it. Repeat this for 3 to 4 days. If needed, you can use a wooden spoon and mix it well. At the end of 4th day, you may find the pieces soft (it will not be too soft, just right to eat) and skin colour changed. If it is not soft, then you can keep it for one more day.
  • When it is soft and eatable, add red chilli powder and turmeric powder and stir well.
  • Dry fry the fenugreek seeds and powder it.
  • In a kadai put the oil and when it is hot add mustard. When it pops up add asafoetida powder and switch off the stove. Pour this oil over the pickle. Add fenugreek powder and mix the pickle well. Transfer to a clean ceramic or glass jar.
  • Stay good for a month and if you refrigerate it, it will stay good more more days. Shelf life of any pickle depends upon how you handle it. Always use dry spoon. Take out small quantity and use it.


  • Normally, Narthanghai with thick skin does not have enough juice to get the pickle soaked well. Hence we are adding juice from the Narthanghai. If you use thin skinned juicy type citron, you can cut all the citrons and use it.


  1. Good stuff. will definately follow.

  2. Mam,
    After cutting the citron into pieces should we keep it in sunlight. I used a kalchatti and covered it with a thin piece of cloth and after 3 days fungus was formed. Should we always use a ceramic jar for better results?

    • You can use kalchatti also. However, it should be washed thoroughly and wiped clean without any water content. Also you have to add enough salt and juice so that the narthangai pieces will get soaked well. If you want to keep it for more days, you can keep it under sun with cloth tied up. Otherwise, it is fine to keep it inside. Reason for forming fungus may be due to water content in the vessel or on the Narthangai.

  3. chandrika sriram

    would you know the recipe for Narthangai Lehyam Its given when there is a loss of appetite ‘coz of a dull liver, upset stomach.It is made with narthangai juice, jaggery & some powdered jeera & some other ingredients too. is added. Mom used to make this & it used to be awesome. Its almost blackish – very very dark brown in colour. Really sorry i didnt take the recipe from her

  4. i prepared narthangai pickle-in boiling water put the narthangai -put of the stove (without cutting)covered for 10 minutes when skin colour changed removed it pat dried without water on it, then cut into small pieces, then in a kadai add oil, mustad Currey leaves then the cut pieces, chilly powder, fenugrek powder, salt and while packing some vinegar in a tight glass jar, shaking everyday 2 weeks passed it is soft and fine but bitter. how do i remove the bitterness.

    • Hi,

      There are different types of Narthangai, some with bitterness called “Kasappu Narthangai” and some with orange flavour called “Kolanchi Narthangai”. If you use the bitter variety, you cannot remove the bitterness completely.

      • Thank you for the response, i hope what i used might be kasappu narthankai, but though i cannot remove the bitterness completely, can i try some method?

  5. Wow… Am just mad on Narthangai dry pickle. Now got a interest to try this too … Its awesome to see. Looking so goood… Yummy Narthangai….

  6. Namrata Kini

    Hi Kamala,

    I was searching for Nartangai pickle and found your blog by chance.

    All the recipes are so tempting and Nartangai pickle is mouth watering. I remember my neighbour sun drying Nartangai during my childhood days.

    Thank you so much. Keep up the good job.

  7. Point No. 8 speaks about refrigeration. In my experience, I have seen pickle kept inside glass bottles, if refrigerated, turn moist inside [condensation] and, after a while, lose the aroma and start giving off an unacceptable smell … If further unused for more than 15 days, fungus will start forming. To avoid this, pickle should be stored in plastic containers only, [Also DO NOT place metal spoons inside the container] while being kept in Refrigerator. I have kept Vadu Mangais, Narthanga, lemon pickles, etc. in plastic containers and they last and last, till you finish them eventually. But you have to take special care to use only absolutely dry spoons. No wet hands or wet spoons for taking pickle out of the container too… !

  8. But keeping pickles in platic container is not advicable .plastics are highly carcinogenic the acids present in citrs fruits can react with plastic.

  9. great accurate thanks

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