This recipe is synonymous with almost all Palakkad Iyers and is used in diverse ways.“Puli” means Tamarind and “Kachal” means cooking by boiling method.So this essentially means a thick Tamarind sauce which has been seasoned and thickened by boiling into a thick sauce or chutney consistency which is used as an accompaniment,chutney or simply mixed with plain boiled rice and had.The method is easy and fast and its a thing to fall in love with!
In the winter months in India abundant fruits,vegetables and tubers are sold in the markets.Fresh Ginger,Turmeric,Galangal and Mango Ginger flood the markets and can be bought at their very freshest!The Palakkad Iyers made use of this and concocted this wonderful sauce which they grew tremendously fond of.It is an adaptation of the Kerala accompaniment – Puli Inji except that it has green chillies added to give and extra “kick”!
Fresh Ginger and Bhavnagari Chillies…
NOTE : I used the less spicy Bhavnagari Chillies which do not “leak out” their spice into the sauce and instead are delicious and tangy.However those who love spice can go ahead with spicy chillies and tantalise their tastebuds.You can use big or small size chillies as you like.
Preparation time : 1 hour
Makes : Approximately 1 kg
300 gms fresh Ginger – peeled and chopped into small pieces
200 gms fresh Green Chillies (I used Bhavnagari ones) – Tips and ends removed and cut into pieces of desired length
200 gms Tamarind (If you got the pulp then add water and extract approximately 4 cups of thick extract.If using readymade paste then mix 200 gms paste with 1/2 cup of water.Mix well and use.)
4 tbsp powdered Jaggery
1 tbsp salt
For the tempering :
1/4 cup Sesame Oil/Gingelly Oil (You can use other kinds of refined oil too but do not use strong oils like Mustard or Coconut)
2 tsp black Mustard Seeds (Rai)
4 dried red chillies
2 tsp Asafoetida (heeng)
Heat Oil and add mustard seeds and dried red chillies.When the seeds pop add asafoetida and stir.
Add the chopped Ginger and Chillies and fry till the rawness disappears and the chillies turn light green.
Add the tamarind extract,salt and jaggery and boil on medium heat for around 20 minutes till the tamarind extract thickens to a sauce consistency.At this stage check for salt and sweet as per your taste and add more if needed.
Take off heat and cover with a clean kitchen towel till it comes to room temperature.
Fill in clean and dry glass jars and refrigerate.Use as needed.
Served with plain rice..