Puli Inji – A Tongue Tickling Ginger Relish

Puli Inji - Sweet and sour Ginger pickle
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Puli Inji is  the sweet  and  tangy   ginger relish   from Kerala .  No vegetarian  feast –  sadya  – is  complete   without it .  According  to one  story  serving  this is equivalent  to  serving 108  different  dishes .   Well , I am   a  fan  of Puli Inji and  it  is the  one  dish  that  I must have for  Onam  or  Vishu . Sweet , tangy and spicy  – a  dash of  this  is  all you need  to  awaken your  taste buds .

Puli Inji - Sweet and sour Ginger picklePuli Inji literally means  tamarind  ginger  or  sour  ginger.   Tamarind  and  ginger  are  the  two predominant  flavors in this  dish. A  little  jaggery is used  to  bind  these  two  strong   flavors  together.  In many parts  of  Kerala  this   dish is  called  InjiPuli  or  simply Inji Curry.

There is  no  reason to  wait for  Onam or  Vishu to make  this.    When  not  making it as a special occasion  dish, the  recipes  might  call for  coriander powder  onions or  coconut.   What I have  today is  how  it  is  made for  sadya.  This  version  is  a harmonious blend  of  sweet  tang  and  spice , and  is  suited  for  longer  storage.

The  basic  recipe  is  very simple, and  that  is  how  we  make  it. Finely chopped  ginger cooked  in tamarind ,  and jaggery   with a  few  seasoning  added on.  Chopping  ginger  was  the  hard part.  Ginger  juices  tend  to act  like  chili pepper, burning the  skin.  If  you are  sensitive  to it  or  multitasking ,  wear  gloves   while  doing  this.

Puli Inji - Sweet and sour Ginger pickle

This is how to prepare  the  ginger.  Take a medium  size  bowl  and   fill  with water halfway  through . Peel the  ginger  and   cut into big  chunks  and  immerse  in the water.  This  helps to take  the  edge of  the  ginger  and helps  save your  hands  from the  burn.   Thinly slice the  ginger   and  keep immersed  in the  water .  It is  normal  for  the water  to turn cloudy.

Heat a  few  tablespoons of  oil in a pan or  Kadai .  Drain  and  pat  dry the   ginger  slices .  Fry  these in batches  till  browned on both  sides .

Drain the  fried slices  on a  paper towel  and  let it cool .  Once  cooled  transfer  to a  blender  jar  and  process till  coarsely chopped –  about  breadcrumb consistency .

Puli Inji - Sweet and sour Ginger pickle

While  the  ginger is  being  fried  soak the  tamarind  in warm  water  and  set a side . In  another  bowl  dissolve  the grated  jaggery in  warm  water.  Now it is just  a matter of putting it all together.

Bring the pan back to  heat , adding  more  oil if  necessary.  Crackle  the  mustard  seeds  and  add  the  chopped  green  and  red  chilies ,   and  curry leaves . Once  these are  fried  add a pinch of  asafoetida  and  turmeric .  Mix  and  add the   chopped  ginger .  Stir fry for a   few  minutes .  Strain the  tamarind  juices  and add  to it . Bring  to boil , add  salt  and   let  it  thicken a little .  Add  a  a  couple  of  tablespoons of  jaggery water,   taste  and   adjust for  sugar  and  salt .   Bring  the mix back to boil   and simmer to desired  thickness. Take off  the  heat.  Cool  and  store in an  airtight  container.

Puli inji stays  fresh  unopened   for  a  few  days. Once opened  make  sure  and  there is a layer of oil on top.  The oil is   your  insurance against spoilage.  Thicker  versions of puli Inji   with more  tamarind  and  jaggery   lasts  longer.

Refrigerate for longer   storage.

 

Puli Inji
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Puli Inji literally translates  to tangy ginger.  This is a  relish/pickle   made  with  ginger and tamarind.  Chilies  and  a  few  spices  are  added  to the  mix  for  extra flavor.   Jaggery  is  used  as  the  sweetener  to     take  the  edge  of  the  spices.  Sweet, tangy and  spicy this is a  dish that  hits  all the  right  notes . 

Course: Chutney, Preserves, Relish
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 8 Inch Fresh Ginger 200gm
  • 4 Tbsp Jaggery Grated
  • Tamarind Lemon Sized Piece
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt To Taste
  • 2- 3 Green Chili To Taste
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric
  • 1 Pinch Asafoteida
  • 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
  • 2 Dry Red Chili
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Pinch Fenugreek Seeds
  • 4 Tsp Oil Preferably Coconut / sesame
Instructions
  1. Peel the Ginger and Cut into 1" chunks . Immerse in a bowl of water. Take the pieces one by one, thinly slice and return to the water .
  2. Soak tamarind in 1 C warm water and set aside .
  3. Dissolve the Jaggery in 1/2 C water strain and set aside .
  4. Heat 4 Tbsp oil a pan . Remove the ginger slices from water and pat dry using a kitchen towel. Fry the slices in batches until evenly browned on both sides . Drain excess oil on paper towels. Set aside .
  5. Place the cooled slices in blender or food processor and process till coarsely chopped .
  6. Bring the pan back to heat and add the mustard seeds . Once it crackles and the chopped green chilies, dry red chilies and a pinch of asafoetida. Fry for 2 minutes . Add the chopped ginger and fry for a minute .
  7. Squeeze the tamarind to remove the pulp and strain the juices over ginger. Add salt and bring to boil . Boil for a few minutes till it thickens . Taste and add enough jaggery water to round off the taste . Simmer till Puli Inji has thickened.

Puli Inji - Sweet and sour Ginger pickle


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