Pickles are nice addons to our daily meal. We usually have it not only with curd rice but also with idiyappam, idly and other recipes. So, it is prepared at home and very rarely we used to buy preserved pickles from stores.
My paati and chithi are experts in making pickle and with their guidance, I prepared this citron pickle(Narthangai oorugai). Generally, it is prepared in ceramic or porcelain jar to increase the shelf life. But to photograph the steps, I prepared it using a wide bowl. It tastes good when it is blend with salt and red chilli powder, usually 1 or 2 days after preparing the pickle. I clicked the final picture on the 15th day after preparing the pickle.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Idle Time: 4-5 days
Makes: 3 cups (approximately)
Narthangai / Citron - 5 nos., small orange sized
Crystal Salt / Sea Salt - 1/4 cup, heaped
Dry red chillies - 13-15 nos.
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/8 teaspoon
Gingelly Oil - 100ml
Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
1) Wash and wipe the narthangai. Make sure there is no water content in the skin.
2) Cut into wedges. While cutting, remove the seeds completely.
3) Choose a bowl which has a tight lid to it. Generally ceramic or porcelain bowl is preferred. Add narthangai wedges to the bowl.
4) Add sea / rock / crystal salt. Mix well. Generally it is tossed well to mix all the ingredients.
5) Cover and set aside undisturbed for 3-4 days. Each day toss the bowl well two times with proper intervals. This allows the salt to mix well with the narthangai.
6) After 3-4 days, narthangai wedges become soft and you can see the juice coming out from the narthangai. If it's not soft even on 4th day, you can again keep it for a day.
7) When the narthangai wedges becomes soft, dry roast fenugreek seeds and dry red chillies. Make sure not to burn the fenugreek. At the end, add asafoetida and allow it to cool to room temperature.
8) Once cooled, make a powder of it and add to the narthangai.
9) Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Turn the flame off and allow it to cool to room temperature.
10) Once cooled, pour this oil to the narthangai. Mix well.
11) Pickle is ready. Store it in a sterilized bottle.
12) After preparing the pickle, gradually the juice oozes out from the narthangai. This is normal and as day pass by the pickle turns soft and tasty. The below pictures depicts the final state of the pickle with more flesh and juice.
1) Adjust the salt, spice and oil quantity as per your preference. The measurement given here is the standard one which we follow at our home.
2) It can be stored and refrigerated up to 2-3 months. However it can last even longer depending on how you handle the pickle and the storage jars. Also the shelf life depends on the quality of the other ingredients as well.