Vella Naranga Achar or Lemon Pickle, Kerala’s Lemon Pickle
Vella Naranga Achar or Lemon Pickle
Vella Naranga Achar or White lemon pickle is a unique side dish traditionally served during Sadhyas in Kerala. It is prepared with steamed lemons mixed with sauteed ginger, garlic, chillies, fenugreek and flavoured with curry leaves. The lack of red chilli powder explains the reason for its white colour. The spicy flavour comes with the use of green chillies or Bird’s eye chilli (Kantari Mulaku). Lemon is steamed or boiled, this will make its skin soft and bring out the lemon flavour. Gingely oil or sesame oil is used and it combines well with the flavour of lemon to give a unique taste. Have a look at the list of ingredients used and the preparation of Vella Naranga Achar or Lemon Pickle.
Ingredients for making Vella Naranga Achar or Lemon Pickle
- 10-12 medium sized Lemons
- A handful of Bird’s eye chilli (Kantari Mulaku)
- 3-4 cloves of Garlic
- Four, 1-inch pieces of fresh Ginger
- 2-3 sprigs of Curry leaves
- ¾ cup of Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of Sugar (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon of Gingelly Oil
- 1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
- ¾ teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds
- ½ teaspoon of Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon of Asafoetida or Hing (Kayam)
- 1 teaspoon of Sugar
- 2-3 teaspoon of Salt, as per the taste
Preparation of Vella Naranga Achar or Lemon Pickle
- Wash the lemons in running water and keep it aside.
- Pop them into a steamer and close the lid.
- Steam the lemons for about 5-7 minutes in medium flame.
- Switch off the heat and open the lid, it is better not to allow the lemons to crack-open as it would make the lemon juices to escape. Allow it to cool down.
- Peel the garlic and slit each one to two pieces, clean the ginger and slice it to small pieces.
- Take the bird’s eye chillies and remove its stem, slit them into two equal halves.
- Use a sharp knife and chop each lemon into 4 equal pieces. Sprinkle the salt over the lemon pieces and keep it aside.
- Now, heat a pan and add the gingelly or sesame oil. When it is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter.
- Add the fenugreek seeds and the Asafoetida or Hing (Kayam).
- Saute it for few seconds and add the garlic, chilli, ginger pieces, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Saute it.
- Switch off the flame before the garlic pieces start to change its colour. Add this mixture to the lemon pieces and mix it well.
- Again, heat the Kadai and add ¾ cup of vinegar, add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Once the sugar is fully melted, take it off from the flame. Keep it aside for cooling.
- Now, add this to the lemon pieces and mix it well.
- Delicious Vella Naranga Achar or white lemon pickle is ready, serve it as a side dish.