Vadugapuli naranga achar – Wild lemon pickle.

vadugapuli naranga achar

Scene 1

At school pocket money used to be just a few rupees..that the best deal you can get from your parents.  Typically it is spent on the wrapper free candy from the jars that lined the store near the school and then a quick dash to catch the school bus back home before it leaves. The trading happens once we are on the bus. There is a variety of candy sandd then there are pickled gooseberry, slices of juicy pineapple or the tiniest of packs of naranga achar. The achar always was the top bitcoin!!

Scene 2

Serving at any kalyana sadhya, following the payasams are the thottukooutams. The pickles, the condiments and the like filled the left-hand side top corner of the leaf. This is where my attention was always. the vadugapuli naranga achar if served with papadam, made my banana leaf meal complete.
Now you would have figured out, this recipe, I simply love it.

Vadugapuli naranga or karinaranga.

The giant wild lemon or vadugapuli naranga is a juicy lemon with a thick rind. It is not the extremely bitter variety. It is not citron either. It is called wild lemon or ponderosa lemon. To recognise it, look for a greenish to yellow lemon in the size of a grapefruit. The skin is not smooth,  it is bumpy. I don’t have a picture for you as I was a bit overexcited and cut straight into it to make sure that it is the right one.

Pickling the giant lemon.

Since it is juicy fruit,  the simple addition of salt to it will release a lot of the juice that can help in its preservation, very similar to the zero oil citron pickle. But there is a slight bitterness to it. So here is what we do.
The naranga – wash the lemon, paying extra attention to the bumps and lumps to avoid any dirt stuck in them. Then chop them up into small pieces, smaller than bite-size pieces. Set the pieces with just enough water to cover halfway up the pieces to a boil. This removes a lot of bitterness when boiled with salt.

The pickling agents- pickling agent here is well is the salt. It draws out the juice and the boiling helps the salt enter the rind. Thereby making it less bitter.
The chillies- The chilli powder added in flavours this spicy pickle. The spice versus the tart lemon creates an amazing achar effect.
The additional flavourants- Roasted curry leaves,  mustard seeds and the fenugreek seeds added at the fag end of the pickle making as a tempering brings in an additional layer of flavour to the pickle.

Nearly there, how long does the pickle stay?

This is an instant pickle variety. As the vadugapuli naranga is boiled, the pickle doesn’t stay for very long. However, it stays good for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Get set, prep ahead for this Vishu. It is on a weekday, so I am surely doing my shortcut sadhya. Let me know if any of the Kerala recipes you are looking for are not on the blog. I am sure I can get some done. Leave your thoughts in the comments, especially if you know what the vadugapuli is called accurately in English.
See you soon.

wild lemon pickle

Vadugapuli naranga achar

Kerala cuisine instant pickle made with wild lemon and spices.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Pickles
Cuisine Kerala
Servings 10


  • 1 medium vadugapuli naranga wild lemon
  • 1/2 cup drinking water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder


  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves


  • Wash, chop and dice the lemon into small pieces.
  • Add it into the saucepan with the water and bring it to boil.
  • Add salt and turmeric and simmer the lemon for about 10 minutes.
  • Now add the red chillie powder andmix well.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a small pan add the oil, the mustard seeds and fenugreek and bring it to heat.
  • As the mustard splutters remove from heat and add the curry leaves.
  • Now add this to the pickle and mix well.
  • When it cools, transfer into a clean dry bottle.
  • The pickle is ready to serve.
  • Use a clean dry spoon and store in the refigerator.
Keyword lemon
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5 3 votes

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Nayna Kanabar
2 years ago
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I am absolutely drooling at the sound of this lip smacking pickle. Nothing beats the taste of home made pickle with parathas or puris and cup of piping hot tea. I am going to try this method .

2 years ago
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top bitcoin 🙂 lol ! these memories of going easy on the pocket but tasty food will always give us hope ! the narthanga pickle looks fab, seema

Shobha Keshwani
2 years ago
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Looks really nice. I love such pickles with curd rice. The preparation method also is easy. I will try if I find this lemon.

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