Puli Inji/Inji Puli

Spicy sweet and tangy puli inji is one of the most prominent ‘pickles’ that feature in a traditional Kerala sadya (feast). Ginger, green chilies, and tamarind being the main stars of this dish, like the other Kerala sadya dishes, there is no place for onion or garlic in a traditional puli inji (unlike many instagram reels show).

Tamarind – a handful (depends on whether the tamarind is old or new and how sour and juicy it is)
Ginger – 1/2 cup finely chopped
Green Chilies – 8-10 finely chopped
Asafetida – 1/2 inch piece (if whole) or 1/2 tsp powder
Fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Jaggery – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For tempering:
Coconut oil – 1 + 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Whole dry red chili – 1

Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice to, preferably, a mud/stone pot.
Add jaggery to this tamarind juice and start boiling.
At the same time, heat a pan and add one tablesppon oil. If you are using asafetida chunks, roast this in oil along with fenugreek seeds, powder and add to the tamarind juice.
If you are using asafetida powder, roast this in oil and add to the tamarind juice. Roast fenugreek separately, powder coarsely and add to the tamarind juice.

In the same pan and remaining oil, add finely chopped ginger and green chilies. Saute until the raw smell goes. Add this to the boiling tamarind water.
Add turmeric powder and salt. Keep this in medium heat until the tamarind water thickens and reduces in quantity.
Heat a pan and add one tablespoon oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and whole dry red chili. Add this to the thickened tamarind concoction.
Taste and adjust salt and jaggery if required.

Puli inji is ready to be served. This can be refrigerated in an airtight glass container and stored for up to a month.

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