Inji Chutney / Ginger Chutney

By now, you all might have been done with the Diwali celebrations, not to forget the gala parties, the lavish menu and the food. Festivals are a way to bring people together, have fun but most important, share food.

What happens when your body is loaded with sugar laden sweets, heavy rich creamy gravies, deep fried snacks? You tend to feel sluggish and just feel like staying hungry for a couple of days post the celebrations as your stomach has literally given up digesting that heavy load of food during the week.

This year, we consciously took the decision of going slow in terms of eating sweets and snacks. For starters, I didn’t cook an elaborate meal at home. I went with the basics, included a lot of dahi or yoghurt in our diet and even though we couldn’t control our temptations towards sweets, we ensured it was consumed during the first half of the day when our metabolism was high and we avoided it post dinner which is when the cravings for sweets are really high.

Besan or chickpea flour, ghee / clarified butter, maida or refined flour are some of the key ingredients during the festive season. When you consume them in some or the other manner for a whole week or more, your taste buds tell you to take a hike and all you want or rather crave is something different other than the sweets and the rich gravies. In comes my Inji Chutney or Ginger Chutney. This chutney ticks all corners – Its tangy, spicy, has a good amount of punch due to ginger. A bowl of cool curd rice (recipe on blog) accompanied by this chutney is the best thing to eat during summers (October heat being unbearable these days) and I also advise the same for the recovery phase post festive binging as it activates your taste buds that have by now been screaming for some change.  

Let us look at some of the health benefits of ginger – (information source – MedicalNewsToday)

  1. The phenolic compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal (GI) irritation, stimulate saliva and bile production, and suppress gastric contractions as food and fluids move through the GI tract. 
  2. During cold weather, drinking ginger tea / soups with ginger is a good way to keep warm. It is diaphoretic, which means that it promotes sweating, working to warm the body from within.
  3. Ginger has also been found to reduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhea, the severe pain that some women experience during a menstrual cycle.
  4. Ginger is known to help in reducing cholesterol, lowering the risk of blood clotting, and helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  5. Ginger is known to be the best medicine to cure nausea during pregnancy or motion sickness.

Inji Chutney 2.jpg

I made a decent batch of this chutney to eat for the next 7-8 days to enable the stomach digest the food, prevent constipation and feel light. A tblsp of this mixed with either some hot rice and ghee or even rotis / phulkas will do the trick. My favourite combination, however, is the cool curd rice with some of this chutney. Ah! Pure bliss. The combination of the cool yoghurt and ginger further calms your stomach to a great extent and not to mention the excellent sleep that you get by eating curd rice at night, something only a pucca South Indian can swear by.

Go ahead and read the recipe below and make a batch of this delicious chutney.  

Recipe of Inji Chutney aka Ginger Chutney

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 10 minutes

Ingredients

  1. Ginger – 150 gms roughly chopped
  2. Chana Dal (Split Chick pea) – 3 tblsp
  3. Sesame Oil – 2 tblsp
  4. Jaggery – 1 tsp
  5. Tamarind – 1 tblsp
  6. Whole Red chilies – 5 nos.
  7. Hing – one pinch
  8. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  9. Water to grind the mixture – couple of tblsps
  10. Salt as per taste

Method

  1. Heat a kadhai, add a tsp of oil and then add chana dal and let it roast.
  2. Add whole red chillies and saute both the chana dal and the chilies until the dal turns slightly brown and the chillies are nicely roasted.
  3. Now add the chopped ginger, hing, tamarind and saute well for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Switch off the flame. Add the jaggery and the salt and keep aside for cooling.
  5. Grind this into a coarse paste with few tblsps of water.
  6. Now heat the same kadhai, add the balance quantity of oil, add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle before pouring this ground coarse mixture.
  7. Saute the mixture well on low heat until the water evaporates and oil starts leaving the sides of the pan / kadhai. Should take around 3-4 minutes max.
  8. Switch off the flame, allow the mixture to cool and transfer into a steel or glass container.
  9. It stays well in room temperature for a day but advisable to store it in fridge to use for a week or so.

Recipe Notes –

  • I have not mentioned the part about peeling the ginger since I have used tender ginger that has a very thin skin. I try to retain the skin but wash the same well before chopping and grinding to remove any mud residue. If you don’t find tender ginger, suggest peeling the skin and chopping the same before sauteing and grinding.
  • If you are wondering about the quantity of ginger used in the recipe, please note that this chutney doesn’t have an overpowering taste. It is tangy and spicy due to the tamarind and the chilies added, keeping the overpowering flavor of ginger under control.
  • Adding of Jaggery is optional. However, I strongly recommend adding the same due to the use of tamarind in the recipe along with ginger (both strong in aroma and taste). In fact, you can add some more jaggery to make this chutney slightly sweet, ideal for kids to consume too.
  • Reduce the amount of whole red chillies if you prefer it slightly less spicy. I have used pondy chillies that don’t give much colour to the chutney but are very spicy. 
  • I have used sesame oil for the preparation of this chutney as it lends a lovely aroma. In case you don’t have sesame oil, you can use vegetable oil too. Avoid using olive oil. 

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Vidya Narayan

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