Injipuli is a wonderfully spicy treat. It’s a delicious sweet and sour combination made from ginger, spices, tamarind, chilies and jaggery. It’s really popular in the South Indian cuisines of Tamil Nadu and Kerala where it’s usually served in smaller quantities as an appetizer, or like pickles that you’d serve as an appetite stimulant prior to a main meal.
Injipuli goes by several names including Puli Inji and Inji Curry. In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, “inji” means ginger and “puli” mean tamarind. It’s a very festive dish enjoyed by the Tamil community during Sadhya, a vegetarian feast generally prepared for large events like weddings and other special occasions. It’s also a long-standing traditional dish served at the lavish feasts and banquets (called Virunthu) during the Onam which is the annual state festival of Kerala.
When you first taste Injipuli, you’ll immediately bask in the sweet, hot, salty and sour flavors that make it a wonderful choice to round out and naturally balance a meal. It’s rarely served on its own; rather, it’s an ideal accompaniment for a vast assortment of traditional and modern favorites including legumes, curd, vegetables, grains, cheeses and more, and it will keep for 2-3 weeks, much like pickles. Just be sure to use a clean spoon each time you scoop it out. Injipuli can be served with appetizers or added to a main meal. Here are some suggestions:
- Use it as a dip for Idli or when eating Idli Sambar
- Try it with dosas – great as a dip or spread – it’s really delicious with ghee dosa and masala dosa!
- Try a spoonful over curd/yogurt
- Add a bit to a savory yogurt/dahi lassi or smoothie
- Stir a spoonful into hot cooked rice
- Add a spoonful to grain or legume salads
- Dollop a bit over grilled or roasted fish like salmon or cod
- Dollop a spoonful over grilled or roasted meats such as chicken or steak
- Eat as an appetizer or stir a bit into soups, curries, dal and stews
- Injipuli really perks up naturally bland grains like rice, millet, quinoa and couscous, and it works magic with bland cheeses like cottage, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and paneer
- Try it with puris, chapatis, tortillas (corn and wheat), and favorite breads
- Try it with a grilled cheese sandwich
Injipuli is a favorite accompaniment to South Indian snacks, so it’s bound to be delicious with American snacks as well:
- Serve with sev and papadams, and other delicious Indian snacks made from chickpea (besan) flour
- Use as a dip for corn chips, potato chips, casava chips and bean and grain chips
- Try it with gluten-free crackers made from buckwheat, chestnut, quinoa, casava and almond flour
- Serve with whole grain wheat, oat and rye crackers and a variety of cheeses, or spread it over warmed or a slightly melted wheel of brie