Puli Inji – A Tongue Tickling Ginger Relish

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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  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

Puli Inji

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1.5 to 2 C


Ginger - 8 In Piece (200gm)
Jaggery Grated - 4 Tbsp
Tamarind - Lemon Sized ball
Salt - 1/2 Tsp (To Taste)
Green Chilli - 2 to 3 (To Taste)
Turmeric - A Pinch
Asafoteida - A Pinch
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
Dry Red Chili - 2
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 4 Tbsp (Preferably Coconut)


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 .

Soak tamarind in 1 C warm water and set aside .

Dissolve the Jaggery in 1/2 C water strain and set aside .

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 .

Place the cooled slices in blender or food processor and process till coarsely chopped .

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 .

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

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