Puli Inji and Beetroot Pachadi

You may have noticed that all the onam vibhavangal I shared with you till now have mild flavours and taste, and are soothing to the stomach. But the malayali (especially the non vegetarian) has been brought up on some seriously fiery stuff, and he is of the opinion that any food cooler than a forest fire is bland.

In the traditional Onam Sadhya, the Puli Inji and achar (pickles) come to the rescue. Served in small quantities on the upper left half of the banana leaf, they provide a nice kick to the meal. A touch of these will suffice with each ball of rice you eat; as such they are called thottu kootan. Another kind of thottu kootan is the Pachadi. It is not hot (in my opinion), but it is a heady mix of sour and sweet flavours – sourness from curd, and sweetness from the fruit or vegetable you use and ground coconut.

Pachadi is mostly made of vegetables or fruits such as bitter gourd, mango, pineapple, beetroot which are boiled or sauted in coconut oil with green chilies and onion and sometimes coconut. Oil is tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves and finally curd is added to the sauted fruits/vegetables.

  • Servings: 4-serving
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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You may have noticed that all the onam vibhavangal I shared with you till now have mild flavours and taste, and are soothing to the stomach. But the malayali (especially the non vegetarian) has been brought up on some seriously fiery stuff, and he is of the opinion that any food cooler than a forest fire is bland. In the traditional Onam Sadhya, the Puli Inji and achar (pickles) come to the rescue. Served in small quantities on the upper left half of the banana leaf, they provide a nice kick to the meal. A touch of these will suffice with each ball of rice you eat; as such they are called thottu kootan. Another kind of thottu kootan is the Pachadi. It is not hot (in my opinion), but it is a heady mix of sour and sweet flavours – sourness from curd, and sweetness from the fruit or vegetable you use and ground coconut. Pachadi is mostly made of vegetables or fruits such as bitter gourd, mango, pineapple, beetroot which are boiled or sauted in coconut oil with green chilies and onion and

Summary

  • Cuisine: kerala
  • Course: side dish
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

2 cups beetroot , grated
1 cup curd
¼ cup onion , finely chopped
¼ cup green chilies , slit open lengthwise
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
sprig 1 curry leaves
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
1/4 cup coconut paste
2 tablespoons coconut oil
To taste, salt
for puli inji
3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 dried red chillies
sprig 1 curry leaves
1 cup ginger , grated
¼ cup green chillies , sliced
1.5 cups A lime sized ball of tamarind (vallan puli)+ water
¼ teaspoon asafetida
1 tablespoon jaggery
1 teaspoon heaped red chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon toasted and powdered fenugreek
To taste, salt

Steps

  1. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Throw in onion, green chili, garlic and curry leaves. Saute for a few minutes till the onions are translucent.
  3. Add beetroot and continue sauteing. Cover and cook for a few minutes so that the beetroot is cooked but has the slightest bite to it. Add coconut paste, season and saute for a few minutes. Remove from fire and let cool.
  4. Add curd just before serving, adjust seasoning and mix well.
  5. For puli inji:Squeeze the tamarind in water and keep aside.
  6. Heat a pan and add coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, red chilies, and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
  7. Toss in the grated ginger and green chilies and fry till the ginger becomes golden brown.
  8. Strain the tamarind water and stir it into the pan. Add asafetida, jaggery, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and mix well. Boil till it is slightly thicker than curd.
  9. Once the puli inji has cooled down, add the fenugreek powder and mix well.
  10. Adjust the chili powder and green chilies according to your tolerance level. The heat of the puli inji blew me away when I tasted it immediately after taking it off the stove. But the next day, all the flavours had come together, and it tasted perfect.

Puli Inji is essentially ginger in a sweert and tangy tamarind sauce. Ginger is fried to a golden brown, and tamarind water is added along with several spices. The seasoning is, as usual, mustard seeds and curry leaves fried in coconut oil.

Puli Inji recipe adapted from vanitha.

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