Today is Uthradam, the day preceding Onam and it is as important as the Onam day. The last minute shopping rush on Uthradam, to get every thing ready for Onam is termed as "Uthrada Paachil ". All those who will be celebrating Onam will be busy shopping for veggies, bananas, chips and Onakodi ( new dress to be worn on the day of Onam). The streets will buzzing with people. At home, preparations of the Sadhya/feast will be going on full swing. As I mentioned in my last post, apart from the vadukapuli achar, inji puli is the other star pickle for the sadhya. This will also be prepared in advance and it tastes better as it ages a day or two.
The preparation of inji puli is quite easy but there is some amount of cooking time involved since the tamarind extract has to be simmered till it is half of the original quantity. As the name suggests, inji is ginger and puli is tamarind. So this is essential a harmony of these two tastes complimented by green chilly, salt and a bit of jaggery too.
- Tamarind - lemon sized ball
- Green chilly - 5 nos
- Ginger, finely chopped - 2 tblsn
- salt to taste
- Grated jaggery - 1 tblspn
- Turmeric - a pinch
- Red chilli powder - 1/2 tspn
- Fenugreek powder - 1/4 tspn
- Gingely oil - 1 tblspn
- Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
- Chana dal - 1 tblspn
- Curry leaves - 1 sprig
- Red chillies - 2 nos, broken into two
Soak the tamarind in 3 cups of warm water for 10 minutes. Soaking in warm water helps to fully extract the juice easily. Extract the tamarind pulp and keep it aside. If you need add some more water as you squeeze but let it not exceed another half cup. If you add too much of water,then you will have to simmer to longer to thicken.
Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add chana dal, broken chillies and curry leaves. When dal turn light brown, add finely chopped green chillies and ginger. Saute for a minute. Add the extracted tamarind water, turmeric and salt. Let it simmer and reduce to half the quantity. Add red chilly powder and grated jaggery. Let it simmer to a thick gravy. Check the salt and tanginess and add more spice accordingly.
It will stay good for a week if kept outside.
The measurements need not be very accurate and you can go by your instinct and add accordingly. If you like to have a bit of sweetness to taste, then increase the jaggery.
Wishing all my readers and friends a very happy and colorful ONAM.