Naarthangayi Saadam is a classic Iyengar style preparation of Citron Rice – an under spoken rice dish unlike its commonly known cousin Lemon Rice/ Chitranna.
Naarthangayi also known as HeraLe kayi in kannada can be intimidating to cook due to its bold bitter and sour notes. This recipe is a good start to break away from that feeling.
Naarthangayi Ohare / Ogare is how Mysore Iyengars like to call the Naarthangayi Saadam. ‘Ohare” could stand for any kind of mixed rice dish including the quintessential Puliyogare. What is mixed with the rice varies from one rice dish to the other.
Naarthangayi and Naarthangayi Ohare are pretty much synonymous in my mind, to the extent that I begin to salivate at the very thought of the Citron Rice preparation.
Naarthangayi Saadam is a classic Iyengar style dish prepared using Citron similar to Lemon Rice. I feel, what makes it taste special is the use of freshly roasted and ground spice mix that enhances flavors double fold and dried coconut or Kobri in place of freshly grated coconut.
The recipe that I share here is derived from the edible archives stored in my head. A whiff of the Citron never ceases to stir memories of eating this dish during my growing up years in my grand dad’s house.
Points to remember
Iyengar cuisine does not use garlic and onion strictly, onion-garlic duo will never feature in this dish.
A blunder one can do is use Basmati rice to cook in this recipe. Basmati Rice is a strict no-no. Use any short grain raw rice as the primary choice.
Naarthangayi / HeraLekayi belongs to the citrus family and is supposedly one of the oldest citrus fruits, parent of the more popular lemons and limes and a native of India. Large in size, averaging a handful, this bumpy unattractive lemon with a characteristic thick rind and refreshing aroma is loaded with nutrients and health benefits.
Mostly available during the winter months, we see them all through the year nowadays in Bangalore markets.
Narthangayi has amazing medicinal properties. It is known as Pitta-hara per Ayurveda meaning it balances Pitta dosha and is purifying for the liver. Because it is rich in Vitamin C, it also enhances immunity.
Pick the juicy fruits that are beginning to ripen and look more yellow, as we need more of the juice for this recipe.
Unripe ones will be dark green in color with an uneven exterior.
The peels can be used for making Gojju similar to Haagalkayi Gojju
While you can access Dabbakaya, Herale Hannu Paanaka is also a must try
You might also love to explore other Iyengar style recipes
- 3/4 cup Raw Rice
- 1 ripe Narthangai / Citron
- 1/2 cup grated cobri/desiccated coconut
- salt to taste
- few drops of ghee
- 1/4 cup urad dal
- 5 Byadgi red chillies
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- big pinch hing/asafetida
- 3 tbsp peanut oil
- 15 Cashews broken into pieces
- 1 tsp urad dal
- hing/asafetida, big pinch
- 2 stalks Curry leaves
Cook rice 1 hour before making this recipe. Let the rice cool down on a big plate or a wide mixing bowl so that the grains can be fluffly and seperate.
Try to avoid cooking the rice to be mushy.
for the spice mix
Heat a skillet/kadai on medium flame. Add the few drops of ghee followed by black pepper and Byadagi red chillies. Pan roast until the peppercorns begin to crackle. Remove onto a plate. To the same skillet, add urad dal and roast until golden brown. Switch off the stove and add hing. After the roasted ingredients have cooled, grind in a spice grinder to a powder.
Heat peanut oil in skillet/kadai on medium flame. When the oil is hot or shimmering, add broken cashew peices and saute until golden brown. Remove onto a plate. To the same oil, add urad dal and curry leaves. When the urad dal turns golden brown and the curry leaves are crisp, turn off the heat and add hing/asafetida.
Add cooked rice to the pan/kadai. Sprinkle salt to taste. Sprinkle 2-3 tbsp of the ground spice mix and desiccated coconut or grated Kobri.
Now squeeze in the Citrons/Narthangai juice evenly over the rice.
Add the fried cashews. Give it a good stir. Let it sit for sometime to soak in the spices. Serve warm.
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