I Is For…… Inji Puli

So, I suddenly remembered that I had left the Alphabet Cooking Challenge midway. I decided to pick up where we had left off, and that was at H. A dish for the next letter of the alphabet, I, was promptly thought of and made.

I made Inji Puli for I, that quintessential pickle that is found in most Tam-Brahm households. The dish gets its name from the two major ingredients used in it: Inji (Tamil for Ginger) and Puli (Tamil for Tamarind). I don’t know if all South Indian states have their own version of Inji Puli, but I do know that Tamil Nadu and Kerala have their own distinct styles of preparing it. I decided to go the Tam-Brahm way. I had a stock of fresh ginger lying at home, and put it to good use. πŸ™‚



Here is how we have always made Inji Puli in our house since generations, which is exactly how I made it now.

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 of a jam jar):

200 grams of fresh ginger, cleaned thoroughly, peeled, chopped finely

4 green chillies, slit length-wise

A few fresh curry leaves

4-5 tablespoons of oil (Typically, gingelly oil is used here, but I didn’t have any, so I used Rice Bran instead)

Salt, to taste

Red chilli powder, to taste

Powdered jaggery, to taste

A ball of tamarind, the size of a medium-sized lemon

2 teaspoons of mustard

2 pinches of asafoetida


  1. Soak the tamarind in a little warm water for 10-15 minutes. Then, extract a thick paste out of it, adding more water as and when required, squeezing out all the juice that it has to offer. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida.
  3. Add the chopped ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes, till the ginger gets a little bit tender.
  4. Now, add the tamarind extract. Let it cook on a high flame till the raw smell goes away, stirring intermittently. This should take about 10 minutes.
  5. At this stage, add the salt, red chilli powder and jaggery to taste, slit green chillies, and curry leaves. Mix well.
  6. Turn the flame to medium. Let everything cook together till the mixture thickens to your desired consistency. Stir intermittently.
  7. Let it cool, and fill it up in a clean, air-tight jam jar. Refrigerated, it keeps for about a week’s time.

For those who have never had Inji Puli, try it with curd rice – that is THE ultimate combination! I like eating it with just about anything – rotis and subzi and dosas included. Amma mixes it up with plain, cooked rice, adds some more gingelly oil to it, and slurps it up. πŸ™‚

If you do decide to make Inji Puli my way, do let me know how it turned out. I’d love to know!

Meanwhile, I hope I’ll continue this cooking challenge further! πŸ™‚


11 thoughts on “I Is For…… Inji Puli

  1. So happy to see this TGND! I logged in after ages and I can’t tell you how happy I am about this πŸ™‚ I miss inji puLi, will make this, this weekend. Can’t wait to have it with curd rice (drool) πŸ™‚


  2. Oh I make this all the time! Slightly different recipe. I use more chillies than you’ve mentioned and I fry them till they’ve softened and lost some of the spice. Then I add the same ingredients. Try substituting sambar podi for regular chilly powder – it kicks up the flavor! I think it tastes best with crispy ghee dosai πŸ™‚ that’s how the husband and I love it πŸ™‚


    1. @Perspectivesandprejudices

      Oh, we make the version with more green chillies too – we call it puli milagai. πŸ™‚ This is just Inji and Puli. πŸ˜€

      Sambar powder – I should try that some time. Thank you for the suggestion!


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