Folks, Onam is round the corner & it’s time to prepare for it. By now you must have prepared for the traditional attire. But are you done with your feast menu? If not, then it’s the perfect time to finalize it.
Every festival has its special feasts & so does the Onam. However, before knowing about the Onam food you must understand what the festival is about.
What is Onam? And Why the Onam feast is so popular?
Onam is the harvest festival of the Kerala state. Hence, food is an imperative part of it. Fresh seasonal vegetables are the key ingredients to the Onam recipes. The first heavy rains are over & the vegetation is flourished. So the vegetables & fruits are at their fullest. Their taste, flavor, & texture are enriched. And that is why all the festival's special recipes have vegetables in them.
You must have heard the word, ‘Onam Sadhya’. Sadhya is a traditional feast meal in Kerala. But calling it just a meal is unjust. Because Sadhya is admired for its serving style too. Traditionally the food is served on a banana leaf. It has more than 20 food varieties and all are served in a single course. Boiled rice is the main dish & all other dishes add flavor to the meal. Sadhya consists of dry vegetables, curries, stews, & a long variety of desserts. The meal also serves various pickles, plantain chips & papadam. Having assorted dishes, the meal is very eye-catchy.
So let’s go through some of the most delicious Onam feast recipes.
1. Kootu Curry. A thick veg curry. The main ingredients are plantain, yam & black chickpeas. It is one of the significant delicacies of Sadhya. Other veggies like ash gourd, snake gourd, and pumpkins are added to the recipe. This preparation is rich in coconut. It is prepared using coconut oil & fresh coconut.
2. Kalan. It is a curd or buttermilk base gravy. This curry also uses yam & plantain. It is a sour dish & tastes best with steamed rice. Adding coconut to this recipe controls the excessive sourness.
3. Olan. Olan is a thick coconut milk base stew. It is made using ash gourd, cowpeas & coconut milk as the main ingredients. Coconut milk curries taste best with rice & so does this curry. Matta rice (Kerala red rice) is the traditional accompaniment to this curry.
4. Erissery. This dish is amongst the dishes that are must-haves for sadhya. This pumpkin & cowpeas made dish is mild on the spice level. The tempered mustard seeds, curry leaves & chilies enhance the dish.
5. Pullissery. Another buttermilk/curd & coconut base curry dish. But with different ingredients than Kalan. Pullissery has ash gourd or cucumber & shallots as vegetables. Spices like cumin, fenugreek, and mustard seeds add flavor to the dish.
6. Parippu. Parippu is a dal base curry preparation. It uses moong dal & coconut as key ingredients. This is a thick curry & tastes best with ghee. Rice topped with parippu & ghee is completely tempting.
7. Avial. Avial has a special place on Sadhya’s platter. It is a preparation of mixed vegetables in curd & coconut base. Vegetables like carrots, beans, plantain, drumsticks, & more make this dish healthier as well as colorful.
8. Thoran. Thoran is a dry preparation of vegetables. It has different variations according to the vegetables used. For instance, cabbage thoran, pumpkin thoran, beetroot thoran, ash gourd thoran, plantain thoran, etc. It is simply a stir-fried vegetable recipe. Usually, 2 to 3 variations of thoran are served during the Sadhya.
9. Pachadi. It is similar to Raita. Any one kind of vegetable or fruit is a key ingredient & a mixture of curd & coconut is a dressing for it. It is also tempered with mustard seeds & chilies to make it a bit pungent.
10. Rasam. Rasam is an integral part of every meal in any southern state of India. So how can it miss the Sadhya? It’s a thin preparation of lentils, tomato & pepper. One of the best accompaniments ever for steamed rice. A meal is incomplete without rasam.
11. Ulli Theeyal. One of the best curry dishes of Onam Sadhya. Ulli is tiny onions. And the dish has got its name from it. The curry is tangy, spicy & flavorful. The roasted coconut & spices make the dish delightful. A dish that you can’t afford to miss.
12. Pal Payasam. How can we forget Payasams? Pal payasam is a simple yet lip-smacking dish. It is made using rice & dry fruits. This is one of the traditional payasam served during Onam feasts.
13. Chana Dal Payasam. Also know as Kadalai Paruppu payasam. This is rich & creamy payasam. The ingredients like coconut milk, ghee, chana dal, cashew nuts, & raisins enrich the dish.
14. Semiya Payasam. It’s nearly impossible to find a person who hasn’t tasted semiya payasam. This is the most popular dish & also known as kheer. It has several versions too. An easy-to-make dish & goes perfectly with all types of meals.
15. Nendram Pazham Pradhaman. A special sweet dish made using coconut milk, banana, jaggery, & cashew nuts. Dry ginger adds a notable flavor to this dish. It is served hot as well as cold. And trust us, it is yummy both ways.
There are a lot more recipes in the Onam feast. However, the above are the most popular & most loved ones. And they make the Sadhya a memorable feast. So go on & enjoy your meal.