After what has been a harrowing first half, to say the least, we've officially made it to the second and final semester of 2020. I'm of the view that August onwards, the calendar somehow becomes happier. A myriad of festivals lined up and a host of reasons to get out of your PJs (and bedroom) and spend time with your loved ones. Lord knows we need some of that this year! And next in line, is the auspicious, colourful occasion of Onam.
For those who aren't familiar with the festival or the culture, Onam is the 10-day long harvest festival celebrated every year in the state of Kerala. It's a vibrant epoch characterised by decorating, dancing, merry-making, boat racing and of course, feasting on plentiful finger-licking food! The festival of Onam is centred around the mythological tale of the wise and generous demon King Mahabali, and his annual return to Earth to pay his subjects a visit. Onam encompasses several exuberant traditions and customs, but the one we can't wait for is the spectacular feast of Onam Sadhya. Traditionally, this lavish meal is composed of more than 25 delectable vegetarian dishes, served one at a time on a large Banana leaf. Trust us when we say this, Malayali or not, if you've never experienced Onam Sadhya your tastebuds are seriously missing out. So we compiled a list of 15 Sadhya dishes you can fix and gorge on, right at home!
1. Parippu Curry
Parippu Curry is an integral part of Onam Sadhya, or any Sadhya fest in Kerala for that matter. It's a simple dish of Moong Dal cooked with grated coconut and added spices, served with rice. If you asked any Malayali, they'll be quick to tell you how comforting a good bowl of Parippu curry can be, Onam or not. But if you want to cook up the dish for the festival, we'd highly recommend following this Youtube recipe tutorial by Veena's Curryworld, that comes with detailed subtitles and a walk-through-process!
Image Courtesy - Cook Eat Blog
Pulissery is a savoury Sadhya dish made with yoghurt or buttermilk and a vegetable of your choice, and topped off with coconut shavings. It's a delicious combination of subtle sweet and sour flavours, and the choice of vegetable ranges from cucumber to pumpkin to ash gourd. We particularly found this Youtube recipe tutorial by Garam Masala super-easy to follow despite the language barrier, thanks to the informative subtitles and descriptions.
Image Courtesy - Youtube
The dish of Thoran is an integral component in Kerela's cuisine, often prepared and served as a part of regular meals. It's Kerela's favourite stir-fried vegetable recipe, with added spices, mustard seeds and coconut for enhanced flavour. Thoran is a very versatile dish, and you can practically use any finely chopped or grated vegetable in the recipe. But this Youtube recipe tutorial by Veena's Curryworld makes for an absolutely delish dish with some cabbage, shallots and grated coconut in the list of ingredients.
Image Courtesy - Babi's Recipes
4. Sharkara Varatti
I don't know about you, but banana chips have always been one of my all-time favourite snacks. Sharkara Varatti is essentially a dish comprised of jaggery coated banana chips. In this staple Sadhay dish, plantain or raw banana chips are smeared with a thin layer of jaggery, spices and herbs. If you'd love to make yourself a plate of Sharkara Varatti from scratch, we'd recommend doing so by following this simple yet informative Youtube recipe tutorial by Garam Masala.
Image Courtesy - Renil's Kitchen
Another one of the essential dishes for Onam Sadhya, Olan is a delicious curry mixture made by tossing together ash gourd, cowpeas and coconut milk. It pairs fantastically well with a plate of steamed rice, or Kerala red rice. We can't stop gushing over this detailed Youtube recipe tutorial by Veena's Curryworld, that effectively simplifies the process of making some lip-smacking Olan curry for your Onam Sadhya!
Image Courtesy - Pinterest
6. Varutharacha Sambar
Is it really a festival of Kerala without the presence of some yummy Sambar? Especially in the case of Onam Sadhya, your feast would remain incomplete unless it includes some freshly prepared, spicy and tangy Varutharacha Sambar. This lip-smacking variety of Sambar is made with vegetables, lentils, roasted spices and a generous amount of roasted coconut. We'd highly recommend preparing your own batch with the help of this easy-to-follow Youtube recipe tutorial by Reens Foodie World, that comes with a touch of nostalgia and simplicity!
Image Courtesy - Mareena's Recipe Collection
7. Vellarikka Pachadi
Think of Pachadi as a Kerala style raita, with its wonderful concoction of yoghurt, grated coconut, spices and a vegetable like a cucumber, pineapple or ash gourd. Vellarikka Pachadi is the one with cucumber in it. It's an immensely tasty side-dish that'd perfectly complement any plate of Parippu-rice or Sambar-rice. You can learn how to make some mouthwatering Vellarikka Pachadi right at home, with the help of this Youtube recipe tutorial by Cooking at Mayflower.
Image Courtesy - Youtube
Avial is an extremely popular dish in the Southern part of India, with a traditional origin that can be traced back to Kerala. It's essentially a creamy mixed vegetable curry, made with coconut, curd and a melange of seasonal vegetables like yam, ash gourd, carrots and raw banana. You can easily cook your own Kerala style Avial for this Onam Sadhya, especially if you're following an informative Youtube recipe tutorial such as this one by Manchatti Kitchen.
Image Courtesy - Poonam Bachhay Blogspot
9. Ulli Theeyal
One of Kerela's palatable gravy dishes, Ulli Theeyal is a sour and spicy gravy recipe, comprising of shallots or small onions cooked with roasted coconut, and topped with tamarind for a complexity of flavours. Ulli Theeyal, a must-have for Onam Sadhya, is a very versatile dish mostly tweaked according to the cook's preferences, and thus there are various versions of the recipe. We have our heart set on this recipe tutorial by Veena's Curryworld made with pearl onions and loaded with heavenly spices.
Image Courtesy - Swaad Of Kerala
10. Kootu Curry
This one is a traditional side-dish and is made by mixing together chickpeas and a variety of vegetables in a coconut-based curry. Kootu Curry is a rich, delicious dish packed with luscious textures, and is commonly prepared for festival feasts like Onam Sadhya, or Vishu Sadhya. Again, this recipe can be modified as per preferences, and hence there's no dearth of unique Kootu Curry recipes out there. Our favourite, however, would have to be this Youtube recipe tutorial by Jinoo's Kitchen, because of the quick and easy process, and beautifully presented outcome!
Image Courtesy - Jinoo's Kitchen
Happy Onam! Or shall we say, O-nom-nom-nom?