Yesterday, I found some lovely tender ginger at the vegetable vendor’s, and absolutely had to pick it up. It was so fresh that the skin didn’t need to be peeled at all, a beautiful whitish tinge to it, with some pink around the edges. Even while I was buying it, I knew I wanted to make Inji Thogayal with it, a delectable South Indian-style ginger chutney. I didn’t want to keep that beautiful ginger in my fridge to use in curries or other dishes – I wanted to use up all of that goodness immediately, not letting any part of it wilt or go to waste. So, that is how Inji Thogayal happened in our kitchen this morning, delicious stuff that has been ooh-ed and aah-ed over, the rest bottled up and stored carefully for later use.
If Inji Thogayal is something new to you, and you are wondering what it would taste like, let me tell you that it is a beautiful thing. It is a medley of sweet and tangy and salty and spicy flavours, an absolute treat to the senses. Just add a spoonful of this thogayal to piping hot steamed rice, along with ghee, and you are all set – a wholesome, flavourful meal is ready! It also makes for a lovely accompaniment to idlis, dosas, upma and the like.
It is a great digestive aid too, this thogayal, especially in the kind of dark, rainy weather that is prevalent in Bangalore right now. It is not a tough thing to put together either. Even making the Inji Thogayal is a cathartic process – it fills up your home with a heavenly scent!
So, the next time you spot some gorgeous baby ginger in the market, buy it! There is at least one lovely dish you know you can make with it!
Here is our family recipe for Inji Thogayal.
Ingredients (makes about 1 mason jar):
- 2 cups fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup fresh curry leaves
- A lemon-sized ball of tamarind
- Salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3/4 cup jaggery powder, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon gingelly oil
- 10 dry red chillies, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons urad daal
- 3 tablespoons chana daal
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
For the tempering:
- 2 tablespoons gingelly oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 tablespoon fresh curry leaves
1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water. Keep aside to cool down.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chana daal, urad daal, dry red chillies and fenugreek seeds. Fry on medium flame till the daals begin to turn brown.
3. Now, add the chopped ginger and the curry leaves to the pan. Fry on medium flame for 2 minutes.
4. Add salt to taste, the soaked tamarind (along with the little water it was soaked in), turmeric powder and jaggery to the pan. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for a minute. Switch off gas and allow all the fried ingredients to cool down completely.
5. Once all the fried ingredients have entirely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Grind to a paste.
6. Now, we will get the tempering ready. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the curry leaves (for the tempering) and the asafoetida, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, turn the flame to medium and add in the paste we prepared in Step. 5. Mix well.
7. On medium flame, cook the paste for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Switch off gas, and allow the ginger pickle to cool down completely.
8. When fully cool, transfer the Inji Thogayal or Ginger Chutney to clean, dry, air-tight containers. Store refrigerated, and use only a clean, dry spoon to remove the ginger chutney.
1. Use very fresh ginger and curry leaves, for best results.
2. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, dry red chillies and jaggery powder, depending upon personal taste preferences. I have used 10 small, round Salem Gundu red chillies here.
3. You may even add a few cloves of garlic to the Inji Thogayal, too. I have, however, skipped this.
4. Ensure that all the seeds and impurities are removed from the tamarind, before you use it in making the Inji Thogayal.
5. Gingelly oil tastes best in chutneys such as this one. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other kind of oil that you prefer.
6. This ginger chutney stays for up to a month when stored refrigerated in a clean, dry and air-tight container, used under hygienic conditions.
7. If you are planning on using the ginger chutney quickly and not storing it for too long, you can even skip Step 7.
Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!