Sunday, 22 November 2009


As I was blog-hopping this evening, I came across a blog called Inji Excellent photography and some very inventive dishes. Inji means "ginger" in Malayalam and I suddenly remembered my much loved injumpuli, variously known as inji curry, inji puli etc. across Kerala.

I must credit Ammamma, my mother's mother with introducing me to injumpuli. I must have been around 12 or so. My grandmother was at home with us on one of her "vacations" from her son's place. She usually stayed about a fortnight at a time, gossiped with my mother endlessly, (in later years, as her memory started failing her, she would repeat the same stories again and again, but with the same enthusiam each time) bought icecream for my brother and I and most importantly, delighted us with her cooking skills.

It was on such vacation that she decided to make injumpuli for me, knowing well that spicy-sour flavours were always a hit with me. My memories of the day are vivid. I remember trying to help her chop green chillies for it and my inexperienced fingers smarting at the end of that very short but painful chopping session.

Injumpuli is eaten as an accompaniment with rice, to spice things up a bit, much like pickle or chutney. I remember eating the injumpuli by itself, in a little steel katori, watching TV, reading, even when I was listening in to one of those mother-daughter gossip sessions. Needless to say, the injumpuli didn't last very long. And of course, my grandmother's vacation also came to an end. My mother wasn't indulgent enough to do a repeat for me, knowing fully well that the finished product wouldn't last very long given my appetite for it.

More recently, after I moved to the UK and have had to cook myself, the kitchen has become a familiar and comfortable domain for me. One of the first few things I tried to make was injumpuli. It came out beautifully. Just like my grandmother made it that afternoon, many years ago. It was polished it off in minutes. I have often wanted to make it again, but never got down to it. One of these days, I am going to get some nice plump inji from Sainsbury's and recreate the flavours in my little kitchen.

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