A Condiment Worthy of a Celebration


May 2019

Recently instead of a birthday cake, my son requested a jar of his favorite condiment—injeepully.

For those who don’t know, injeepully is a tart and tangy combination of ginger and tamarind, and is a must-have accompaniment to holiday meals for the people of Kerala.

This condiment, a true Kerala invention, is said to bring taste buds to life. In fact, there is a saying in Malayalam (roughly translated) that even the simplest meal becomes a feast when injeepully is served.

Now this sauce is not without controversy! The name injee (ginger) and pully (tamarind) is what my mother’s family called the condiment but on my father’s side it was called pullyinjee. After all, what is in a name, especially if the ingredients are the same? Apparently a lot, if you believe my relatives.

But whatever you call it, injeepully is totally delicious and addictive. I remember my first taste of the spicy sauce which set my three-year-old tongue on fire. My father gave me a spoonful of creamy sweet cardamom pudding to dampen the heat in my mouth. So a new favorite flavor combination was born.

My son, now 27, has always had a bold palate. His favorite snack as a toddler was slices of fresh Asian pears smeared with a bit of ripe bleu cheese and topped off with a piece of raw walnut. No pretzels or Gold Fish for this kid.

Along with his favorite injeepully, I also made him fresh mango pickle. We used to call this dish “hurry-up pickle” in our family because my sister and I were always asking my mother to hurry up and finish tempering the mango so we could mix it with rice and yogurt and gobble it down.

Mango pickle is simple to prepare. Peel and dice a green (unripe) mango. Toss the mango with some red cayenne pepper and salt. Temper the pickle by heating a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and adding a teaspoon of black/brown mustard seeds. When the seeds pop and turn grey, add a sprig of fresh curry leaves and toss the mango/chili mixture in the warm oil. Hurry-up pickle is ready!

The injeepully recipe can be found in My Mother’s Kitchen: A Novel with Recipes. Or you can see my super simple easy version below.

Exciting News: Turns out the doors to My Mother’s Kitchen will once again be open. Look for news about the upcoming sequel in the coming weeks. Find out what happens to Meena and her family.

Simple Injeepully recipe: This is my version of the spicy condiment.

Use tamarind that comes in a block (available in Indian/Middle Eastern stores). Soak a generous knob, the size of a medium lemon, of tamarind in about 2 cups of hot water while you prep the ginger. Once the tamarind is soft, use your fingers to dissolve the pulp and strain the tamarind. You should have about 1½ cups or so of tamarind water. Meanwhile, peel and finely dice some ginger (about ¼ cup). Chop a green chili or two. Set aside. Heat oil in a pan, add brown/black mustard seeds and when they pop and turn grey, immediately add the diced ginger, chilies, a sprig of curry leaves and a generous spoonful of fenugreek seeds. Sauté for a minute or two and then add the tamarind water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with ½ to 1 tsp salt and 4-8 tablespoons of brown sugar. Other additions: Fresh or dried turmeric, a pinch of hing or asafetida.



Filed under Celebrations, cooking, family, Indian condiment, Indian food, Kerala, my mother's kitche, My Mother's Kitchen: A Novel With Recipes, recipes, Shopping, South Indian, Uncategorized, writing

9 responses to “A Condiment Worthy of a Celebration

  1. snahal

    I love this❤️Your writing is beautiful just like your cooking!

  2. Cindy

    I’ve never tasted injeepully and am eager to try it. With an Indian grocer very close to me, I’m sure I can find the ingredients easily. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’m equally excited about your new book!!! I loved it so much when I bought it for Kindle, that I bought a couple of copies in paperback to give away and kept one for myself. I can’t wait…and Congratulations!!!

    • writermeera

      Thanks Cindy! Your note made my day. I’m counting on readers like you to make the second book a success. It has been re-written a dozen times and I think you’ll enjoy it a great deal. Hopefully, you and Mike will come to an event and I can say hi and thanks for your support 🙂

  3. dianaione

    Hi Meera,Great post. I’ve got to try making Injeepully. I have a new helper on Friday night dinner, Stephanie, and she’s interested in Indian cooking, so that’s an inspiration.

    Good news about your book? Will it come out this year? It really deserves to get a wide audience since it presents a picture of India and Indian families that most don’t get to know. Plus great recipes . . .

    Are you coming to Ramagiri next Tuesday? I’ll probably miss you since I have a Kaiser appointment that day. Christine went in to class tonight, though earlier in the day she said she might not. She had a cold last week and maybe she is still recovering.

    Hope to see you soon,Diane

  4. Awesome. Love the way you narrate. I have swallowed my saliva at least a dozen times reading your blog. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  5. Thank you so much , Meera . I have read your’s book about Indian kitchen and cooking which is superb.

    • writermeera

      Hi Sushil,
      Thank you so much! Any chance you could write that as a review for Amazon and Goodreads?
      I appreciate your support. Have you checked out my second book?
      Thanks again!

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