Sadya meal: a feast to content the heart

Published on Aug 20, 2021 01:29 PM IST

The 10 days of Onam celebrations are incomplete without this feast that has over 25 food items served on a banana leaf

The popularity of the Sadhya meal in metro cities is rising, as food lovers celebrate Onam with choicest of dishes.
The popularity of the Sadhya meal in metro cities is rising, as food lovers celebrate Onam with choicest of dishes.
By, New Delhi

A widely famous harvest festival of Kerala, Onam is incomplete without food. The revelries include a spectrum of cultural events, and the sumptuous Sadhya Thali is one of its highlights. “The popularity of the Sadhya meal in metro cities is rising, as food lovers celebrate Onam with choicest of dishes. The tempting aroma of the vegetarian delights lavishly spread on sparkling banana leaves garners an appetite for all,” says Vetri Murugan, head chef at Zambar, which is organising Zambar Onam Sadhya from August 20 to 22.

The celebratory grand thali includes Uepperi (salted banana chips), Shakara Varratti (jaggery chips), Inji Curry (ginger curry), Mango Curry, Parippu with Ghee (yellow daal), Sambar, Olan (pumpkin curry), Pulissery (a dish of pumpkin and yoghurt), Ellisheri (a mix of pumpkin and lobia), Avial (mix veg), Chor (rice), Kaalan (raw banana curry), Moru Kachiyathu (buttermilk), Rasam, Pachadi (mix veg raita), Pappadam (crackers) and other food items. “Traditionally, 26 multi-course vegetarian dishes are served during lunchtime on the festive occasion. There used to be an era when 60 food items were served but gradually, the count has gone down,” says Gaurav Lavania, executive chef at WelcomHotel Sheraton, which is hosting The Grand Onam Feast, from August 20 to 22 at Dakshin.

Rice, seasonal vegetables, coconut shavings, grated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil are the basic ingredients used in the preparation of most of the dishes. “Kerala is a land of coconut trees and it is found in abundance in the state. Also due to the health benefits and ease of accessibility, it is widely used in cooking preparations,” says chef Reetu Uday Kugaji.

“A banana leaf is placed in a particular manner and direction and the meal is served and consumed in a sequence,” says executive chef, Arun Sundararaj, Taj Mahal. The tip of the banana leaf must be towards the left side of the person consuming it. “It begins with salt, chips, papad, banana pickle, avial, and then small amounts of dal (boiled), ghee, rice and much more,” he adds.

Onam Sadhya has several health benefits. “Banana leaves are packed with natural antioxidants, and when warm food is served on it, the antioxidants get absorbed into the food. Moreover, eating with hands benefits us in attaining emotional and physical well-being,” says Lavania.

The food is eaten with the right hand, without any cutlery. “The dishes in the meal are served from left to right but they are eaten from right to left. The Sadhya can be concluded by drinking rasam or buttermilk,” says chef Kugaji.

When one is done relishing the meal, one should fold the upper half of the banana leaf towards the lower half. “It denotes that the person who has consumed the meal is satisfied with the delectable food. And if it’s folded other way, it expresses the discontentment,” says Kugaji.

Pineapple Pachadi is one of the dishes served during Onam Sadhya. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Pineapple Pachadi is one of the dishes served during Onam Sadhya. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Recipe of Pineapple Pachadi

Ingredients

Pineapple Cubs -200 gms

Beaten Curd-60 Gms

Fresh Coconut Paste-80 gms

Green Chilli -1 nos

Mustard seeds-2 gms

Cumin seeds-4 Gms

Turmeric Powder-Pinch

Jaggery- Small size

Coconut oil-10 Mil

Curry Leaves-few

Small dry red Chillies -1 nos

Salt - to taste

Method

· Make a smooth paste of Coconut and green Chilli, Mustard, Cumin

· Keep the pan on low flame cook Pineapple with little water and

Jaggery (do not overcook).

· Then add the ground coconut paste, season with salt as per the taste.

· Mix well, simmer and cook for two minutes on a low flame, let the

mixture cool down at room temperature.

· Add beaten curd, mix very well.

· Heat coconut oil in small frying pan add pinch of mustard, allow to

crackle then add one small dry red chilli and few curry leaves (do

not burn them).

· Pour the tempering in the Pachadi mixture.

· Mix well and serve cold.

By executive chef Gaurav Lavania

Author tweets @ruchikagarg271

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ruchika Garg writes on Art and Culture, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City

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