Inji curry (Ginger curry) is a traditional recipe, loaded with a lot of health benefits, served in Kerala Sadhya. Sadhya is the vegetarian feast made during festivals like Onam, Vishu or on special occasions like weddings. Inji curry has a distinctive flavor and taste of its own. You need to taste to know the real flavor of Inji curry as it is hard to describe. The main ingredient is ginger with a perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness, sourness and sharpness. It is literally a curry but it mainly falls under the category of condiments.
Inji curry is also known as “Puli inji'' in the northern part of Kerala and has many regional variations and also referred to in fables and folklore of Kerala, some calling it “Ayiram curry” equivalent to 1000 curries mainly for its health benefits. Stories and memories are also associated with it like “the story of Vararuchi” who asked for 1000 curries for lunch. The smart lady clearly understood what he meant and served him inji curry.
Ingredients (Makes about 2 cups)
- Inji/Ginger - 350 gm - finely chopped
- Onions - 8 chopped fine
- Green chilies - 4 - 5 chopped fine
- Chilly powder -3 - 4 tsp (adjust it according to your spice tolerance)
- Fenugreek powder/uluva podi – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp.
- Tamarind/puli - Small lime-sized or to taste
- Jaggery - 2 tbsp or to taste
- Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
- Mustard – ½ tsp
- Dry red chilies – 2
- Coconut oil – 1/4 – ½ cup ( Or as required to fry ginger)
- Salt – To taste
- Fry ginger pieces in oil until brown and crispy. When it cools down, coarsely grind in a mixie.
- Soak the tamarind in warm water(around 1.5 cups) and extract its juice.
- Heat oil in a deep pan (use the left-over oil from frying ginger) and splutter mustard seeds. Add dry red chilies, chopped onions, green chillies and curry leaves and saute until the onions turn brown. Once the onions have browned, add chilies and turmeric powders and saute for a few seconds till the raw smell disappears. Now switch off the flame and add the fenugreek powder and mix well (switching off the flame while adding the fenugreek powder helps to avoid it from getting burnt).
- Switch the flame back on and add a little water (little at a time), to make a thick paste. Cook this mixture till the oil separates (this step is important because it enhances the overall flavor of the dish).
- Now pour the strained tamarind extract to it. Bring it to a boil and Now add the ground ginger and jaggery. Mix well. Check for salt. Bring down the heat to low. Cook for another 10 - 15 minutes stirring in between and off the flame. Adjust the gravy according to your consistency. You can store it in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.
- It is included in a Sadhya in order to help aid digestion of the heavy feast.
- Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of digestive problems including Morning Sickness, Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Gas etc.
- Ginger is a good source of antioxidants.
- Ginger has beneficial effects on the enzymes, trypsin and pancreatic lipase and to increase mobility through the digestive tract.
- Prevent colon cancer and constipation.
- Ginger is safe to use during pregnancy to relieve nausea.
- Tamarind - Improves digestion strength and relieves abdominal colic pain.