Recipe: Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Chilli Sauce/Pickle

img_6105An 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.

img_6107Puli 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.

img_6106Yummy 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.




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