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Lemon Pickle/Vella Naranga Achar (Kerala Style)


Kerala style lemon pickle, made with garden fresh birds eye chilly locally known as "kandari mulaku". Garlic and ginger adds a healthy touch to the pickle.

Gingelly oil is used in this pickle and is restricted to just a tablespoon. Piri piri chilli or bird's eye chillies are extremely pungent and very very very hot!! This one is a true traditional South Kerala pickle, popular among the Syrian Christian Community. My Kerala lemon pickle which I have posted earlier, is made with red chilly powder....the recipe is almost the same....except we are using fresh green chilies here.

I view cooking as a bit differently, for me the preparation of good food is a way of showing love and making old recipes a way of honoring our ancestors and loved ones....and that is why I love vintage family recipes, especially my grandmother's Rustic apple tart, pineapple peel wine, shrimp rice etc.

Talking about family recipes, this one is from my mother-in-law....and yes most families down South make this.....but each family has their special touch....and  for this one I let her do the cooking....even manged to take a picture of her cooking!

I have asked amma countless times whether I can take a picture of hers but she is very shy....maybe I can coax her some other time :)

Actually MIL says there is no exact recipe for this one....some lemons, chilly, ginger, and little oil, salt, vinegar...that is what she tells if some one asks her the recipe...I guess all mothers are like that.

Recipe Source: My Mom-in-law
Author: Nisa Homey
Lemons: 10-12 medium sized.
Bird's eye chilli (Kandari mulaku): A handful, slit.
Garlic: 3 to 4 cloves, (or even more if you like garlic)
Ginger: 4, 1 inch pieces
Curry leaves: 2 to 3 sprigs.
Vinegar: 3/4 cup.
Gingelly oil: 1 tbsp.
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt: 2 to 3 tsp or as needed

Bird's eye chilli or piri piri chilli, locally known as kandhari mulaku. Wash, pat dry and slit them.

Wash, scrub the lemons and pop them into a steamer.

Close, the lid and steam for about 5-7 min and then switch of the fire and is best not to allow the lemons to crack, although a small crack like this would not mind at all.....if the lemons crack open the juices will escape and go waste. Allow it to cool down.

Peel and slit the garlics into half, slice the ginger (slice them into small), and remove the stem from the chillies and slit them half way.

Cut the lemon into quarters or even smaller  if you like. Add salt to it and mix well and keep aside.

Heat a pan, add in gingelly oil, when it is hot, add in 1 tsp mustard seeds, allow it splutter, then add 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds and lastly half a tsp of asafoitida or hing.

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric powder, and curry leaves....lightly saute it.

Do not allow the garlic to change color...switch off the fire.

Put this into the lemon and mix well.

Then again the the same kadai or pan...heat 3/4 cup of vinegar and add 1 tsp sugar....once it starts to boil and sugar has melted...allow it cool down and then mix with lemon.

And yes, my wonderful mom-in-law made this pickle for you!!

When it comes to room temperature. Bottle in a sun dried glass bottle.

This is yummy with hot white rice or kanji (rice porridge)
This should keep good for up to 2 weeks in room temp and in fridge for months.

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  1. Oooo yummy pickle akka. U no yesterday 1ly i made gooseberry pickle. So now I should go get lemon and try this. Thnks 4 ur MIL for sharing tis recipe nd thks 2 u too akka. Awesome clicks too.

  2. My mouth waters terribly....this is so appetizing!

  3. nisa..a big thank u to mur mom in law....this is real mouth watering.....yes..i shud try

  4. Do you have a bottle of this droolworthy pickle, please send it to me, mouthwatering here..

  5. looks droolworthy..i am loving it.

  6. Drool worthy,adipoli favorite

  7. love lemon pickle. this recipe sounds great and easy and quick to make. never thought of steaming lemons first though - will give this recipe a go! thank you!

  8. One of my favorite condiments is preserved lemons, but this cold easily replace it. What an absolutely wonderful pickle! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  9. Sanaya Raj SinghJuly 23, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    This is a FANTASTIC recipe! Tried it, LOVED it ... And making some more! :)

    1. Thank you for coming back with the feedback!!


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