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 and the one dish that I can not do without for Onam or Vishu is Puli Inji . Sweet , tangy and spicy – a dash of this is all you need to awaken your taste buds .
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.
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.
Soak the tamarind in warm water and set a side . In another bowl dissolve the grated jaggery in warm water .
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 .
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 to boil simmer to desired thickness and turn off the heat . Cool and store in an airtight container.
Stays fresh unopened opened on the counter top for a few days . Once opened make sure and there is a layer of oil remaining on top , refrigerate or use within a few of days . The thicker versions tend to last longer