An essential part of a Tamil brahmin wedding feast, Puli Inji is one of my favourite parts of the fest. Sweet, Sour and also slightly spicy, I love this dish, and always want more, though the servers would only put a small tsp in each banana leaf.
The other day, with a whole bunch of ginger at home, I was wondering what to make which will use the ginger up and then decided to make some puli inji. I make a slight change to the traditional recipe. In the traditional recipe, the chilli and ginger are chopped into tiny pieces, while I blended it up so the end result was more chutney-like than a gravy-like which is how it is usually made. This recipe can be stored for a couple of weeks when refrigerated.
Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Sauce
- 1 cup ginger, peeled, chopped and ground into a rough paste
- 1 cup green chillies, peeled, chopped into a paste
- 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tbsps of grated jaggery (more or less depending on the spice intensity of the chilli plus your spice tolerance)
- Salt to taste
To be ground into a powder
- 1 tbsp Urad dal (split black gram)
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
For the seasoning
- 1-2 tbsps Gingelly oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- Soak the tamarind in hot water and keep aside for 30-45 mins. When it cools, smash it well and extract all the juice. Throw the pulp and reserve the tamarind water. You can also use store-bought tamarind paste and use a couple of tsps for this recipe.
- In a dry pan, dry-roast the urad dal, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves till they become brown and crisp. Keep aside to cool completely and then grind this into a fine powder.
- In another pan, add the oil and when it warms up, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Now add the asafoetida and stir for a couple of seconds. Next, add the ginger and let it brown. Now add the chilli and let that cook for a couple of minutes.
- When the ginger and the chilli are brown, add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, salt and let it come to a rolling boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, add the jaggery and the ground powder and let it come to the consistency that you want and switch off the flame.
- The mixture will thicken as it cools, so do switch off the flame before it reaches the final consistency you want.
Yummy Puli Inji is ready. This is great as a side to any south Indian dish as well as a chutney for bread. You can also use this as a dip.
If you want a more textured dish, chop the ginger and chillies and then make it as per the recipe.