Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala is one of the biggest festival celebrated in the state. It is celebrated by every malayalee across India and the world. Onam is when the monsoons end and marks the beginning of Autumn in Kerala.'Onasadya' is the grand feast on Thiruvonam day - the 10th day. A wide array of almost 25 items are served on banana leaves. A complete vegetarian meal.
Kerala Sadhya is the typical feast of Kerala. It is the elaborate feast served on banana leaves. It is the traditional vegetarian feast – a feast to the eyes and stomach. The taste of the dishes varies from region to region as you travel from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod. It is a sumptuous spread of rice and more than 14 to 25 delicious vegetable dishes, followed by different varieties of payasams/ desserts. The items include sambar, parippu curry,olan, kalan, pachadi, aviyal, koottu curry, thoran, pappadam, pickle, banana and salt.
Sadya is served in a very unique way. Only the nakkila (end with the round tip) is used to serve sadhya. The banana leaf is placed before a person so that its narrow part always points to the left side. It is served starting from the top left corner in the following order – Salt , banana, sarkara upperi, Kaaya upperi, Pappadam, mango pickle, puli ingi, thoran, olan, avial, pachadi, Kalan, erissery, koottu curry. The top part of the leaf these items are served. The rice is served on the lower half of the leaf. Then parippu is served along with ghee on the lower right side. After which sambar is served on the rice. Then comes rasam, followed by sambharam/ buttermilk. After the meal is over sweet desserts called payasams are served. Usually there will be 2 varieties of payasam one white( made with sugar) and the other brown ( made with jaggery). They can be ada pradhaman, semiya payasam or others.
If you feel you have had too much sweet then have pickle last. :)
Traditionally people have sadhya on the floor. A straw mat is laid out in the verandah. The eldest person in the family sits first then followed by other family members in age order (highest to lowest). After the sadhya the ladies gather together in the courtyard to do the traditional folk dance called Thiruvathirakkali or Kaikottikali.
Malabar Kerala Sadhya People of Malabar celebrate Onam in a slightly different way. After the items are served on the banana leaf and before the rice is served we start with Pappad and banana (pappadavum pazhavum). Pappad is first broken into small crumbs on one side. Then banana is mashed well. Sprinkle the powdered pappad on the banana then sugar and melted ghee is added. Mixed and savoured.
Second stage rice is served along with sambar. Parippu and ghee are served on the right side.
Next round comes the rasam and then moru. After that the sweet desserts are served on the leaf. After you finish the meal we drink jeera / cumin water. After one finishes the meal the leaf has to be folded from the side one is sitting towards the opposite side.
Health Benefits of Sadhya Sadhya is a complete balanced meal. It tingles all our taste buds- sweet, sour, salty, spiciness and bitterness. Rice and lentils provide the required carbohydrates for our body. Sambar is full of vegetables which takes care of our vitamin requirements. Avial has vegetables that are rich in fibre which helps in digestion. Rasam, moru and jeera water improves digestion. Kalan and pachadi has curd which is soothing to the stomach. Pappad and salt will give the required sodium for the body. Payasams too give the required proteins and carbohydrates to the body.
Onam is around the corner and I wish to share some of the dishes with my dear readers.
Wishing everyone a Happy Onam !