Spice Lovers Will Be Obsessed With This Fiery Chilli Pickle

Puli Milagai is a traditional chutney or pickle from Kerala made with green chilli and tamarind. This instant pickle is spicy and sweet and since it's quick and easy to make it can be enjoyed with any meal. The heat of the chillies is tempered by the sweetness of the jaggery and the tang from the tamarind completes the magic. 

The pickle is intended to be eaten soon after you make it and can be stored at room temperature in a sealed jar. But if you do want to make a big batch, it can be refrigerated safely for a few months. Since the major component is chilli, you can alter the spice level by deseeding the chillies before you make the pickle or adding more jaggery to cut their effects.

This pickle is perfect to enjoy with idlis, dosa or just alongside some dal and rice, because it adds a huge burst of flavour to every dish.


  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves approx 20 leaves
  • 1 tsp asafetida
  • ½ cup green chillies thinly sliced
  • ½ cup ginger peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2.5 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • lime-sized seedless tamarind block
  • 2 cups water
  • ⅓ cup jaggery grated


  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for 30 to 45 minutes and squeeze it to extract the juice. Alternatively, you can use tamarind paste and dilue it with water. 
  • Heat a thick bottomed pan and pour in some sesame oil. When it’s hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek, curry leaves and asofetida. Saute until the mustard seeds begin to splutter. 
  • Add minced ginger and chopped chillies. Mix all the ingredients well and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now add the tamarind water, turmeric and salt. 
  • Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat before adding the jaggery. Mix it in and simmer for another 10 minutes until the jaggery has dissolved and the mixture begins to thicken. 
  • After about 8-10 minutes the liquid should thicken and the oil will separate and rise to the top.
  • Let it cool completely before transferring it to a jar. Your pickle is ready to enjoy!