March 13, 2011

Ginger in Sweet Tamarind Sauce — Inji Puli

It’s almost impossible to imagine Asian cuisine without the fiery and aromatic flavor of ginger. It enhances the taste of sweet as well as savory dishes, not to mention, the added benefits we get from its anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. I have been sipping cups of ginger tea for the past two days to relive my inflamed throat and severe headaches—a bad case of the flu. Such are the medicinal and healing properties of ginger. When used in cooking, ginger gives a distinctive flavor to dishes and inji puli is a great example.

Inji puli, also known as puli inji is certain parts of Kerala, is a signature flavor of the spice coast. This dish falls somewhere between a chutney, a curry and a relish. The combined flavors of ginger, tamarind and jaggery works brilliantly in this classic for a truly finger-licking experience. It is another essential item in the elaborate meal of the Onam festival, onasadhya.
 
The recipe is very simple to pull together. The sauce is prepared by frying the ginger in a bit of fat to awaken the flavor and infuse it with the lovely tang of tamarind and sweet taste of jaggery. The heat from the ginger and different forms of chilies—fresh, dried and powdered—adds zest to the sweet-tart sauce.

I remember enjoying this thodu curry, as we call it in Malayalam, a lot with biryani in my maternal grandparents house in Kochi. So, I usually serve this as a condiment with biryani instead of the date tamarind chutney, as the texture, color and taste is almost similar. The dish being intensely flavored, it pairs well with rice and other curried dishes and balances any flavors not already present in the meal. It is also believed to aid digestion.

On a final note, feel free to adjust the proportion of ingredients to suit your taste buds.

Ginger in Sweet Tamarind Sauce — Inji Puli

Ingredients

3 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 small green chilies, sliced
3 heaped teaspoons tamarind paste or tamarind pulp the size of 2 small lemons
1 ½ cup water
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon jaggery, smashed
1 ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
pinch asafetida
pinch ground fenugreek
salt, to taste
3 tablespoon oil (preferably coconut for an authentic taste)
2 stalk curry leaves
2 dry red chilies
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
 
Directions

Soak the lemon sized tamarind pulp, if using, in 1 ½ cups warm water and strain though a sieve after 15 minutes. Else, dilute the tamarind paste in the water. Set aside.

In an earthen pot (monchatti), fry ginger and green chilies in 2 tablespoon oil over a gentle heat until the ginger is brown, about 4 minutes. Tip in turmeric powder, chili powder, asafetida, fenugreek powder and toss well for few seconds. Stir in the tamarind water and jaggery. Cook everything together, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is thick, pulpy and reduced by half. Add salt and adjust flavors, as needed.

In a small saucepan, splutter mustard seeds in 1 tablespoon oil. Then add curry leaves and dry red chilies and toss until crisp, about 30 seconds. Pour this over the sauce in the pan and mix well. Turn off heat, scrape into a steralized jar and leave to settle for an hour. Ideally, make this dish ahead of time so the flavors can develop. It tastes even more delicious after a day or two, trust me!
P.S. I’m enamored by the awards some of you have so thoughtfully passed over to me. Thanks a ton for your support people—you are adorable!

60 comments:

  1. The Inji puli looks so perfect.Loved the pics as usual.Never thought of paring this with Biriyani.Will try that combo soon.

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  2. Looks like a 3 dimensional view Nash, very tempting clicks.

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  3. Yet another relish from you... The photos are fabulous... Wish I could grab that spoon through my monitor and taste the wonderful inji puli... Very well presented, as usual :-)

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  4. Slurp, mouthwatering here, awesome clicks....

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  5. lokkks soooooooo yummy !beautiful presentation !

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  6. Lovely creation - pickle, First of all..I like the jar', so ethnic...as a kid' I have seen such beautiful pickle jars at my grandma's place. Now a days' everyone(my mom) have switched to ready made pickles, back home! This is a good thing to bring back the classics:)

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  7. delicious can have this combination yummy sauce with savouries and rice

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  8. Slurp, mouthwatering here, awesome clicks....

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  9. this looks really good..love these king of tangy chutneys with my meal..

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  10. Super inji puli....mouthwatering pics too...

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  11. Tempting pics and recipe.... Would live this with a hot cup of curd rice...

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  12. Super sauce. awesome clicks. makes me crave for more.

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  13. My god,mouthwatering inji puli,lovely clicks!

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  14. Very classic clicks and love ur recipe of injipuli

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  15. looks wonderful! and love ur "bharani" :)

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  16. Nice classic jadi with colorful and spicy pickle

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  17. mouthwatering n tempting recipe..
    Tasty appetite

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  18. TOo tOO tempting!!! Im drooling looking at these awesome clicks!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  19. Inji puli looks really yummy....The clicks make my mouth water...

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  20. wow, way too tempting, i can finish that whole bharani full of inji puli just like taht, ketto :) my fav fav ..oo am drooling here now :)

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  21. wow tempting clicks !! Inji puli looks yummy !!!

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  22. Wow makes me drool..my favorite,tempting click

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  23. Oh me, this is my anytime favorite, slurpy!

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  24. my favourite too..... cant think of a sadya without this.... We make inji curry more often- that is we substitute sugar for jaggery.. love both the versions... and ur clicks... Fantastic is not the word!!!!!!

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  25. beautiful...looks so adipoli !!!

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  26. very tempting, so beautiful clicks too

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  27. I looooovvee this dish from Kerala. Wish I had some

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  28. Wow so coloful and flavorful sauce..loved that cute container.

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  29. My first instinct looking at your post was to reach out at my monitor for that spoon :))
    Too Good!! The last pic is brilliant..

    US Masala

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  30. Wow! What a nice blog you have, glad that I'm following your blog now. I love sour and spicy dish. I can imagine to add this sauce into curry dishes, just yum yum yum!

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  31. Those are some seriously beautiful photos! That looks delicious!

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  32. I hope you have recovered from the flu,ginger tea most certainly helps soothe a sore throat:) The ginger chutney sounds and looks better than I would have ever imagined. Loved the crisp presentation. I am afraid the trip to Kerela is in April,and it is more of a family get together,so I guess we would be indoors most time-I know what a shame.....but we should make the most of late evenings and step out and do some sight seeing,can't wait to get there,thanks for your suggestion though :)

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  33. Great pics and recipes on your blog...I am hungry though I just had breakfast

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  34. Thank y'all, once again, for your kind messages! I'm glad to hear I would tempt you with this classic Kerala dish.

    Yin, Stephanie and Indu: A warm welcome to my space. I'm so glad you stopped by!

    Kavita, my throat feels much better but I have a seriously blocked nose, throbbing headache and I sound horrible, eek! I'm afraid that the flu will run its course. Hey I'm sure you and your family will have a lovely time in Kerala, enjoy! Plz don't hesitate to let me know if you need any assistance with the trip k..:)

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  35. Was salam Nashira Usef...

    Its so nice to get you here and your imli chatni is really tasty I knew it well... As I roam on your blog and find it very interesting... I am in deep love with cooking... try new dishes and traditional one too... As I feel I got some very tasty and delicious from your blog ... I am in Islamabad ... And from where you are from Kerala?
    Thanks for your sweet and loving comments on my posts.. it encourages me more...
    Hope to see you often, I am going to follow you to know what is the next tasty dish :)...
    You are in Qatar right now?
    http://craftaworld.blogspot.com/
    Love
    Farah

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  36. Tempting recipe and beautiful clicks...glad to follow u dear...
    Kurinjikathambam
    Event : HRH-Puffed Rice

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  37. Perfect and yummy! Your presentation makes it more tempting....

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  38. Perfect presntation Nash. I fell in love with the blue lid jar. You rock gal.

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  39. yum yum!....too good and tempting clicks....hey looks like u have 2 jars...mail me one!
    Smitha
    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

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  40. i hope you're fed and fattened on the growing no of comments!!
    see wht i told you initially....now do up that about plateful tab.
    i love inji puli but i want to have beef olarthiyathu with it! a hopeless non veg i'm.
    how do you club photos like it's done in yours?

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  41. Thanks so much, Farah! You are too sweet! I'm from Thrissur district in Kerala and I'm living in Qatar with my family. You know, I love Pakistani food and I hope to see more of your/your daughter's recipes in your blog, not to mention, your beautiful art work! See you around. Khuda hafiz.

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  42. Kurnji, thanks much for visiting and following my posts. It's a pleasure to have you here :)

    Treat and Trick and Zareena: Thanks much for the lovely comments!

    Smitha, how about I fly to the US with the jar ;) lol

    No fat plz Thoma, I wanna stay slim and fit :p Jokes apart, I know I've been sitting on the about page for a while now. Will have to do something about it soon. As for the pictures here, I displayed them side-by-side and I guess the white background helped make it look neat. Check out my collection tab, I did that picture on PowerPoint by grouping different pics and saving the file in jpeg format- nothing complicated. Hope that helps :)

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  43. This looks and sounds wonderful. I plan to make this soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  44. Lovely Clicks ..... the chatni looks so gr8.

    Cheers,
    Satrupa
    http://satrupa-foodforthought.blogspot.com

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  45. Awesome.. I jst saw this now.. puli inji made me nostalgic.. reminds me of home and the sadhya... fabulous pictures too..
    ammaandbaby.blogspot.com/

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  46. inji puli looks so tempting.......and an award waiting for u in my blog pls come and collect it....

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  47. "Inju Puli" ..never tried that before..have to. Am in awe of the jar. Hope you recovered from the flu. And hey congrats for the half century...the comments I mean ;)

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  48. Slurp!!! Pic speaks the taste dear..Thx for stopping by kothiyavunu and for kind words..Cheers!

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  49. This sauce looks so much better than what i make ...i am sure the addition of ginger adds an extra tasty touch!

    I loveeee the bright white background in your pictures. How do you do it if you don't mind me asking....??

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  50. you got me salivating girl!!! YUMMY- What i would do for this with a plate of creamy thachu mum mum ;)

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  51. Mary, thank you! Sounds delicious that you're gonna make it..:)

    Satrupa, Santanu, Kothiyavunnu: Many thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    Rachu, thank you sweetie.

    Faji, you are so sweet. Thanks a ton for sharing your award with me- really appreciated!

    Judy, thank you so much dear!

    Cakewhiz: Thanks so much for visiting. I use a white foam board for a seamless white background, try it you'll love it!

    Many thanks for your lovely comments, Priya!

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  52. Yum! Oh my goodness, your pictures are amazing. Thank you so much for making my life richer just by sharing your recipes and posting these photos!

    I haven't been "internet-ing" much lately, but I hope to visit your blog more often.

    Also, I awarded you a Stylish Blogger award, but I see now that you've already been awarded it multiple times over! I guess it's unanimous then- you are a Stylish Blogger!

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  53. Heyyy Sue, thanks so much for being so nice to me. Really appreciated! Hugs!

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  54. Nice inji puli...looks like Sindhi sweet pickle.

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  55. Yummilicious pickle...truely tongue tickling

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  56. Hi Nash - this is absolutely delicious sounding!

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  57. really beautiful recipe , truly love it

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi