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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Decoding the Onam sadhya!

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Courtesy:  September 1, 2011 / By Renuka Nadkarni, DC.

Decoding the Onam sadhya

The feast has already begun, what with the back-to-back festivities right from Eid to Ganesh Chaturthi and now Onam.

This 10-day long festival is synonymous with pomp and splendour in God’s Own Country and one of the most significant features of this is the elaborate ‘Onam sadhya’ or the feast that’s traditionally served at this time of the year.

Chef Babu Kunjumon, a culinary researcher who has developed menus including Kerala cuisine for spas, says, “The Onam sadhya is typically a vegetarian fare, it is served on banana leaves and there are a lot of curries and dry vegetable preparations. All this is eaten with lots of rice and then finally washed down with moru or buttermilk.”

The dishes in a sadhya are not served in a random order, but there is a particular sequence to this.

Talking about the most important dishes in a sadhya, chef Babu adds, “We make something called the injicurry which is like a chutney of ginger and tamarind. Then there is thoran, kalan, avial and so on which are all vegetable based. Sambar, daal and papad is a must too.”

“Serving sadhya is an art in itself,” explains M. Jayadevan, former executive chef of a star hotel, “The narrow part of the leaf faces the left and the dishes are served and eaten in a particular order that also aids digestion. A pinch of salt and a banana are served first and then the rest, it finally ends with a payasam or sweet.”

Onam platter
Sarkara Varatti (banana wafers).
Pickle (often a mango pickle is served)
Thoran (dry vegetable dish with coconut sprinkled on top)
Olan (dish with vegetables, black eyed beans in a mildly spiced coconut gravy)
Avial (a mixed vegetable dish)
Pulissery (Yogurt-based dish, like a raita)
Kalan (A dish with raw banana in a buttermilk gravy)
Koottucurry (Curry with vegetables and Bengal gram dal)
Rasam and Moru

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