Sadyas are traditionally served with an unique relish or chutney known as Puli Inji (sometimes spelled Injipuli) (feasts). Prior to modern times, large families would begin getting ready for the next day’s feast the night before. There was no need for women or children to be involved in the actual cooking of the feast, as men would be in charge of that task.
There is still a sense of closeness and excitement in the air at weddings in rural Kerala, especially among the bride’s family members. When it comes to sadya vibhavangal (dishes), there is no need to change the flavour or serving order. A plaintain leaf is used to serve the sadya. With rice at the top of the list when it comes to dish presentation, boiling morsels crushed with steamy soups and curries are swallowed with a celerity that really can put city inhabitants, with their spoiled food patterns, to shame. Plantain chip, sharkara veratti (jaggery-coated plaintain chips), and a number of relishes & pickle – puli inji, ayiram curries, manga curry, and naranga curry – are all finger licking delicious accompaniments to the main dishes, such kaalan.
Puli Inji is an intriguing concoction of flavours and textures thanks to the chilies, ginger, jaggery, and tamarind, all of which contribute to the dish’s heat, flavour, and tartness. To satisfy her love of puli inji, my grandmother (who I affectionately refer to as muthy) would consume exactly one teaspoonful of it every day with her lunch – “onnu thottu nakkan” (literally, “one teaspoon daily”) during sadya cooking .
Puli inji preparation has been discussed on a number of websites, including Kitchen Mishmash, which uses fenugreek & urad dal in a unique method, but my mother’s recipe has always been the same because the flavor has never changed.
Fills a 500-milliliter container with liquid
- Finely minced 1/2 cup of ginger
- half a cup of finely chopped green chilis
- Extraction from 2 cups of tamarind
- 4 teaspoons of grated jaggery
- 2, 3 tbsp. dried red chilli powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder from teasoon
- salt to taste, about a half a teaspoon
- 2 tbsp. ground mustard
- 3 curry leaf sprigs
- Two pieces of dried red chilli
- Gingelly oil, 1/4 cup
Salt, turmeric, and chile powder should be added to the tamarind water before it is brought to a boil in a stainless stockpot. The water should boil before being reduced to a simmer.
Add chopped ginger, green and red chilies, and curry leaves to the oil in a saucepan and cook for a few minutes. Fry until the ginger begins to colour, then remove from the heat. Turn off the heat source..
Add the ginger and oil combination to the soup pot and boil until the sauce thickens.
Serve with additional salt or sugar if desired after adding the shredded jaggery.
Puli Inji is a versatile condiment that goes well with a variety of foods. I hope the instructions were clear! If you live in the tropics, refrigerating the bottle of puli inji will extend its shelf life.