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. 🙂
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
- 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.
- Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida.
- Add the chopped ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes, till the ginger gets a little bit tender.
- 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.
- At this stage, add the salt, red chilli powder and jaggery to taste, slit green chillies, and curry leaves. Mix well.
- Turn the flame to medium. Let everything cook together till the mixture thickens to your desired consistency. Stir intermittently.
- 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. 🙂
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! 🙂