Posted on | September 7, 2011 | 30 Comments |
Onam is Kerala’s largest festival celebrating the harvest season. There are many traditions associated with Onam, but the only one I am interested in is the one that involves food – the feast we call “Onam Sadya”. This scrumptious feast is an all vegetarian spread consisting of a spectrum of dishes meant to tickle all your taste buds – salty, spicy, sour and sweet.
An Onam Sadya is served on banana leaves with rice in the center (You have to have Rosematta rice for a proper sadya – ironically the picture above has white rice), a bunch of accompaniments served on the side and a few gravies served in courses over the rice. The meal ends with a generous serving of sweet payasamas. I don’t have all the dishes for a complete Onam Sadya in this blog, but I have enough to make up a pretty lavish spread. Here are the typical Onam dishes, I have linked the ones I have a recipe for and left the rest in Italics. I will try to post those sometime this year, just so that I have a complete sadya here. Let me know if I missed any dishes from this list.
There is an order in which these are supposed to be served on the banana leaf, but I have no idea what it is!
- Thoran (Cabbage Thoran, Carrot Thoran)
- Pavakka Theeyal
- Inji Curry
- Pickles (Mango Pickle, Nellikka Pickle)
- Koottu Curry
- Banana Chips
- Sarkkara Varatti
The mains are gravies served over the rice in courses, so there is an art of portion control here. Make sure to have small portions of rice with each gravy so that you won’t get full before you finish the whole round. You can always go back for seconds after getting through the round once. The mains are served in this order:
I normally get too full by the time I get to this stage. I think one payasam is all you need for a sadya, but the sweetaholics will probably disagree.
- Semiya Payasam
- Ada Prathaman
- Parippu Payasam
Here is a visual guide, of the same dishes listed above with links to the recipes.
And here is a picture of the mini-onam sadya I made last year.
Wishing you all a joyous, prosperous and delicious Onam!
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