Puli Inji (Tamarind Ginger Pickle)

Puli Inji is a sweet and sour pickle made with tamarind and ginger. In the southern Indian state of Kerala, it is a delightful part of an Onam or Vishu sadhya meal. Try this pickle (chutney) recipe with rice, as it is traditionally served, or experiment with a piece of toast or as sandwich spread…delicious!

Prep Time: 2-3 hours for soaking tamarind
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: Makes a big batch that can be used over time


Dry Tamarind – 9 oz (250 gm)
Water – 4 cups + 2 cups (divided)
Ginger – 5 oz, finely minced
Green Chilies – to taste, finely minced
Oil – 2 Tbsp
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
Jaggery – 5 oz, or to taste
Salt – to taste

For the Seasoning:

Oil – 2 Tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilies – 2 to 3
Curry Leaves – 1 to 2 sprigs


1. In a saucepan, add Tamarind (broken into small portions) and 4 cups water.
2. Bring to a boil, turn off stove, cover and allow the tamarind to soak for approx 2-3 hrs.
3. With your hands, squeeze the tamarind to release the pulp from the fiber and seeds (takes some effort).
4. Using a colander, strain the tamarind pulp from the fibers. Add additional 2 cups of water to the fibers slowly to release any remaining tamarind juices.
5. In a large pan, heat 2 Tbsp of Oil.
6. Add Asafoetida, Turmeric Powder and Curry Leaves.
7. Immediately add minced Ginger and Green Chilies. Saute until color changes to a light golden brown.
8. Add Tamarind pulp and Salt. Mix and cook until the raw smell of tamarind goes away and mixture thickens (approx 20 to 25 minutes on a medium high).
9. Add Jaggery and allow it to melt (approx 5 minutes).
10. In a small skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of Oil.
11. Add Mustard Seeds and allow them to pop.
12. Add Dry Red Chilies and Curry Leaves. Mix quickly and pour seasoning over prepared Puli Inji. Mix through.
13. Serve in small quantities with Rice.

Note: This recipe makes a big batch which can be stored in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for months.

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