Thanks everyone for the Onam wishes you sent my way,we had a lovely Onam..:)..Hope you all had a great time too..:).I guess,this time being on a mid-week day many couldn’t celebrate it in full form..Nevertheless,I hope Onam left that pleasure n joy in your hearts n life..:).Aahh..So another Onam also passing by..Though today is 3-am Onam..(3rd day of Onam..Its there for 4 days),after Thiruvonam it just feels Onam is over. It always leaves a sad note in my heart when an Onam comes to an end.For every Malayali,there begins a wait for the next Onam to come.. a sweet long wait..I guess this one festival has a strong emotional bonding with our heart..kinda our private pride..with so many cultural value..mythical stories..authentic games n art forms all interwoven with Onam,its worth an year wait n even the nature decors up herself gorgeously to welcome Mahabali thampuran (King Mahabali,who is said to have ruled Kerala long back)n Onam..:)..I miss Kerala..miss my home..miss the beautiful nature n greens around ,which twinkles in bright juicy sunlit OnaPulari’s n shies n droops head in the occasional drizzles..I miss the dewed Thottavadi’s n Thumba’s..I miss putting the pookkalam’s with these flowers from our backyard..miss the fragrance of hot fresh Kayaupperi from amma’s kitchen..miss pressing the nose on my window n watching wide-eyed the Puli-kali group dancing through the roads..miss seeing beautiful people clad in bright golden bordered Veshti’s n Kasavumundu’s with chandanakuri on forehead,n an Onam touched glow n bliss on their face(yea..even vaynokkaling aka people watching is a fun part.;) )...So many things I am missing now..I do feel a lump in my throat right now..For once I wish I could go back to my childhood days,when I could be carefree n enjoy all the bounties that life had in store for me then..Sigh..!!
Among those heavenly fragrances that I can blindly relate to Onam,hitting on ma top-miss list ,sharing space with Kayupperi (banana chips),is the fragrance of this Injipuli or Inji curry as it is called in Southern Kerala..As I have told before,I was born in Kochi,which is ma mom’s place.So her cooking style n naturally mine are mostly southern –style inspired..This dish has slight variations in preparation all throughout Kerala..Color also varies..Somewhere its black,n somewhere red.But in any form,this is the best..! You know what,Inji curry is said to be equal to 70 curries,in terms of taste.Its called ‘king of curries’ …n usually we can hear old people in tharavadu saying ,”inji curry undenkil 10 para chorunnam”..(you can eat a whole load of rice with this dish,because it invokes your taste buds).Even though the preparation is simple,my mom used to make it only for Onam,dunno why.But in one way that is good,because that’s what makes this dish so special n I bet for most of you also,Injipuli is a synonym for Onam..:)
This was the first time I was making this dish n I was really apprehensive about the result.In typical mom-style,she gave me the recipe without any particular measurement n I was, as usual trying to apply my trial n error style.But this one dish being, not only my fav,but my husband’s also who was eliciting about his mom’s Inji curry’s taste all the day,I was lil worried.But thank God,it turned out so superb n I was more than pleased ..:D ..I’ll detail about the taste n the authentic way to serve it towards the end..:)
Before moving on to the recipe,here is a peek into my this year’s Onam feast..I made rice,9 dishes n a Payasam..:)..Dishes that topped the fav list was this Inji curry(which you see in that bottle),Kalan (thick yellow curry ,left side of rice) n Aviyal(bottom right corner,next to bottle)..:)
Lets move on to the recipe..This amount of ingredients,which I have mentioned here in the recipe won’t yield a big bottle full or so..just enough for 2 people to use for a few days.As mom told that there is a chance for the dish to get sour n tasteless in course of time,I just made this much..
Take a medium-deep bottomed pan n pour in coconut oil(I used coconut oil for Sadya this time,n that made one helluva difference..:) ).
When the oil is hot,pop in 1/2 a cup of fine chopped ginger pieces(skin the ginger n chop it real fine).
Fry the ginger pieces in oil really well,till they shrink,get a red hue n they turn crisp.You’ll feel it when you sauté it or touch it.
Transfer this with a slotted spoon n keep aside to cool slightly.
Now,you can put this as such in the curry if you like the bite of the ginger or you can just ground it .I ground my ginger coarsely in processor/mixer for a couple of short bursts.not fine..just coarse ground..That way you’ll get small bites of ginger n the curry will be flavorful.
In the same pan,pour in more oil n add 1 tsp Mustard seeds,3/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds, 3/4 tsp Urad dal,handful of fresh curry leaves n 3-4 broken red chillies.
Sauté till the curry leaves r crisp,n everything turns fragrant.
Slice 4-5 pearl onions n 5 green chillies finely n add it to the pan.
Add salt n sauté well,till onions turn soft n chillies slightly crisp
Now pop back in the ginger, n add 2 tsp of tamarind paste dissolved well in a cup of water.
Throw in 1-1.5 tsp of chilli powder,1/4 tsp asaofetida /kayam n stir well to mix.
Bring this to a boil n the simmer.(taste n if you want it more tangy add more tamarind extract,also adjust the heat.There should be a proper balance between the heat n sourness n also the sweetness)
Grate jaggery (sharkkara) n add 2 tsp(as per your taste) of this grated mixture into the curry n stir well to dissolve.If you don't have jaggery, then brown sugar or even plain sugar will do just fine.Adjust salt also.
After a while when the curry turns thick n fragrant with oil floating on top(Your whole home is gonna smell divine,trust me..!!) ,sprinkle a pinch of Fenugreek powder(Uluva podi) on top n take off from heat.
Immediately take some hot rice n mix it with this curry n pop into mouth.Close your eyes n savor every bit of the heavenly taste..;)
When its cool,you can transfer into a sterilized air tight jar and it’ll keep safe in fridge for more than a week.But I bet,it wont last that long..;)
Serves best with plain hot rice n also with Idli,Dosa etc..:)
Verdict : Big hit..! Really ,you don't need any other dish with rice if you have this one.This is the only one dish that will really tickle your taste buds as it has almost all of the tastes in it..Sweet,sour n hot..Old people have their own authentic way to serve n eat this.Inji curry is authentically served on ,left most corner of the Vazhayila (banana leaf) along with other pickles,pappadam,pazham(banana),upperi n salt,but it should be placed slightly on the lower side of the leaf rib..ie,on the side where rice is served.This is because,even though Inji curry comes in the thodukari (Pickle) section,its also considered as a main curry n should be kept till the closing of the sadya..While eating payasam’s,when there are more than one payasam (kheer,a dessert),they say,you should just take a lick of this dish in the intervals.For eg:after taking a mouthful of Palada,you just give your tongue some injicurry ,n the take the pradhaman ..Then,you’ll be able to differentiate n enjoy the different payasam’s ,as injicurry really invokes n rejuvenates your taste buds..Amazing no? :)
You all must try this at least once n I bet you’ll love it..!
Note : Palada n Pradhaman are both ,different types of Payasam’s,dessert made with milk n sugar/jaggery.
Coming up : Kurkku Kalan
I happened to see this authentic method of making Kurkku Kalan in a TV show,by an authentic Brahmin chef,a famous one,who caters marriages n other functions..tried it out n came out really good.will share that on my next post..:)
Thanks to Sanghi for the fab blog award..:)
Have a great long weekend all of you..rock on..!