July 12, 2012

Inji Curry | Puli Inji | Onam Sadya Recipes

Inji Curry or Puli Inji is a Kerala Sadya special, particularly made and served for Onam Sadya. Amma. I have a weird relationship with ginger (inji in Malayalam). It's weird I can't really explain it. Let me try though, stay with me ok?

So here's the thing. If I sniff a piece raw ginger, I feel nauseous. It's ironic because ginger is what people sniff when they feel nauseous. I can never eat a ginger candy. I hate biting into ginger pieces that are added to upma (I always grate and add it) and such. BUT. I love the flavour of it as long as it's not dominating the dish - like ginger chicken, or adding it to coconut chutney, or even fresh lime juice with ginger. There's an exception though (I told you this is weird) - Inji Curry. Inji curry is a condiment that's an essential part of an Onam sadya and the star ingredient is obviously. ginger. AND, I love it.

Inji Curry | Puli Inji | Onam Sadya Recipes

Amma makes inji curry and stores it in the refrigerator for weeks. She never restricts dishes to festivals, and makes them as she pleases, when she wants. The inji curry in the pictures here are made by her to send back with me during my last trip to Kottayam.

It's super easy to make Inji Curry so I hope the lack of step by step pictures doesn't deter you. Will try to update if and when I make this myself. Here's a list of Onam Sadya Recipes, just for you. Pulissery and Cabbage Thoran go really well with this Inji Curry.

Inji Curry / Puli Inji Recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes ~ 2 cups of Inji Curry

Ingredients:
1 cup of peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup of thick tamarind juice (soak and squeeze juice of a lemon-ball sized ball of tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water)
1 tsp of red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
2 of green chillies
1/4 tsp of kaayam / asafoetida
2-3 tbsp of grated or powdered jaggery (adjust to taste)
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
A few curry leaves

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the ginger until dark golden brown. It should be just short of burning but do not burn it, that would ruin the flavour completely. Before removing the fried ginger, throw in the green chillies, fry for a few seconds, and drain along with the ginger. Set aside to cool.

2. Once the ginger cools down, grind well and aside.

3. From the oil used to fry ginger, remove all except 3 tbsp oil. Heat it and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the fenugreek seeds. They will brown quickly so as soon as they do, throw in the curry leaves. Fry for a bit.

4. Next, add the ground ginger, asafoetida, red chilly powder, jaggery, tamarind, and salt. Mix well and simmer for about 10-12 mins until the oil starts to separate. If you've added too much water, this may take longer.

5. Remove from fire, cool, and store in a dry bottle in the refrigerator. We usually keep it for around a month, so you can too, provided you always remember to use a dry spoon to take some.

Inji Curry | Puli Inji | Onam Sadya Recipes

Notes:

- you can follow the same recipe for maa inji (mango ginger) too. It tastes equally, if not more, delicious
- you can adjust the sweetness level according to your personal taste. This quantity results in a perfect balance that suits us
- the spice level with these quantities tend to be on the slightly higher side so lower it if you have lesser tolerance
- the picture was taken of refrigerated Inji Curry. When you make it fresh, it will be a bit 'looser' than this
- even if you hate ginger, give this one a shot. Trust me on this :)

I know it's a bit early to post an onam recipe but I was going through some of the pictures and when I saw this, I was reminded of amma bottling it up for me and me keeping it for weeks and weeks, eating a little at a time, fearing it will be over soon. Made me smile, so felt I should share it with you immediately!

PS: This year I will be in Kottayam for Onam. Wheeee! :D