The Tale Of Inji Puli, A Dish That Completes The Onam Sadhya
Image Credit: Inji curry | Image Credit: Sinamon Tales

Kerela is celebrating its most auspicious festival, Onam. This is a 10-day-long harvest festival that glorifies the return of King Mahabali/Maveli to his homeland, as described in Kerala’s folklore. People all across the state come together and celebrate the festival with much fervour and enthusiasm. Just like any other festival, Onam focuses on the widespread banquet called sadhya.   

Onam Sadhya consists of more than 20 dishes and is served on banana leaf. The platter is enjoyed without any cutlery and is eaten while sitting on the floor. The people celebrate eating this platter and highlight each other’s superiority, experience, and age over others based on the number of sadhyas consumed in their lifetime.   

One of the dishes served in the sadhya is inji puli, or inji curry. Inji means ginger, and this ginger curry is a traditional recipe that has been associated with Kerala fables since ancient times. This dish is served as the third or fourth item in the sadhya, right after salt, banana chips, and sharkara varatti, or raw banana chips coated in jaggery syrup. Although most people associate sadhya with avial or sambar, no sadhya is complete without inji puli.    

If we delve into its history, the dish has an interesting story behind it. According to a folk tale, In ancient Kerala, Vararuchi was a Brahmin who used to travel to distant places, and during his trips, he used to have food from the Brahmin families he used to visit in those places. One day, he visited one of the houses and fell in love with the daughter of the family. Before showing his interest in marrying her, he wanted to conduct a test. 

He asked her to prepare food with 1,000 curries. The girl’s mother was worried, as she thought it would be impossible to cook 1000 curries in such a short time. However, the clever girl asked her mother not to worry and came up with inji curry. Vararuchi was impressed with the meal, which consisted of rice and inji curry. Since then, ginger curry has been said to be equivalent to 1,000 curries. 

Inji puli carries immense importance as a dish in Sadhya. In this large meal, inji puli enables the body to digest the food very well. Not only during Onam, but inji puli can be enjoyed throughout all seasons and goes best with simple mor (buttermilk) curry, rice, and vegetable thoran.   

If you want to do this at home, we are here to help you. By following the recipe, you can prepare inji curry at any time of the year. Take a look:   


  • 200 g of ginger 
  • 10-medium-sized small onions 
  • 3 green chillies 
  • Curry leaves as required   
  • Coconut oil, as required 
  • 40 g of tamarind 
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of chilli powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon of roasted fenugreek 
  • ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida powder 
  • 2 pinches of turmeric powder 
  • 1 cup of hot water 
  • Salt as per taste 
  • 3 ½ tsp of jaggery   


  • Slice ginger, onions, and green chillies thinly and proportionately. 
  • Soak tamarind in ½ cup of water and extract its juice. 
  • Heat a deep frying pan or kadai. Fry ginger, onions, and green chillies along with curry leaves until they turn brown.   
  • Take off the flame and grind them into a coarse paste using a mixer. Keep it aside. 
  • Use the leftover oil from the kadai and add mustard seed and curry leaves. Wait till they splutter.   
  • Turn the flame to simmer and add turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder, asafoetida powder, and fenugreek powder.   
  • Saute the mixture for a minute.   
  • Pour tamarind pulp and a cup of hot water into the mix.   
  • Bring it to a boil. Add the coarse ginger paste and stir well. 
  • Add jaggery to balance the taste. 
  • As the curry comes to a semi-thick consistency, switch off the flame.    
  • The curry is now ready to serve.