Puliinji – Ginger Pickle
Puliinji is a delicious Ginger pickle that is one of the many items featured in an Onam Sadhya. Puli is tamarind and inji is ginger and the pickle is a sweet, hot, and absolutely warming treat. So many that can’t typically handle spicy food have succumbed to the sweet, rounded, delightful flavors of this pickle and can’t get enough.
250 grams Ginger, cleaned, peeled, and thinly sliced
Around 12 Green Chilis, diced
1 or 1 1/2 cup of Tamarind liquid*
3 sprigs Curry leaves
1/2 tsp Fenugreek
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
35 grams Jaggery
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tbs Sesame oil AKA Gingelly or Til oil
Heat 1 tbs of oil in a pan and brown the ginger over a medium heat. Stir continuously. It will smell divine already. Imagine how amazing it will be as each ingredient is added. The ginger needs to be well browned and almost crispy. Once browned, cool and grind to a rough, crumbly texture.
Heat the remaining Sesame oil in a pan, and add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and chili in stages. Let this pop and crackle for a minute. Strain the tamarind water into the pan and add the salt, chili powder, asafoetida and bring to a boil. Add the crumbled ginger and simmer on a lower heat till the tamarind water reduces to a thick, viscous liquid. Shave the jaggery into this and stir and let it melt through the liquid.
Cool the puliinji and transfer to a clean, sterilized jar. This can be stored in the refrigerator and used for 5-7 days.
Note: To make the tamarind water, take a small, lime sized ball of tamarind and soak in about 1/2 cup of water. Pass this juice and pulp through a sieve to get a tamarind concentrate. Add the 1 to 1 1/2 cup of water to this juice and stir.