It is that time of the year again when festivities and food take over and everything else comes to a standstill. Onam, the 10-day harvest festival that celebrates the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali has a lot to offer. Apart from fresh flower decorations and power-packed boat races, the highlight of the festival is an elaborate meal called the Onam Sadya.
Sadya, which in Malayalam means 'banquet’, is a sensational multi-course vegetarian meal that features over 24 dishes on a banana leaf. It is enjoyed without the help of cutlery and is usually eaten while sitting on the floor.
Some of the popular Sadya recipes are listed below:
In a pan of hot water, add one sliced carrot, 50 grams long beans, 50 grams drum sticks, 50 grams yam, 50 grams French beans and 50 grams white pumpkin. Add 1 ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and bring to boil.
Meanwhile, combine ½ cup grated coconut, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 1-3 green chilies and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and grind to form a coconut masala paste.
Once the vegetables are done, add the coconut masala, mix well and cook till the water nearly evaporates.
Add some raw curry leaves and set aside.
For tempering, heat ¼ bowl coconut oil in a pan, add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and eight to ten curry leaves and let them splutter. Then pour this onto the vegetables, mix well and serve.
Pulissery is an authentic Kerala recipe made with buttermilk and ash gourd that produces a perfect blend of subtle flavors.
Blend ½ cup grated coconut along with two garlic pods, two shallots, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and two green chillies into a fine paste. Keep it aside. Take a pan and add one cup sliced and chopped ash gourd pieces in ¾ cup of water and cook over low flame.
Once the gourd is cooked well, add the grated coconut paste and curd to the mix. Leave it to simmer in a low flame. Turn off the stove when the curry is just brought to a boil. Make sure the curd does not boil for more than a minute or two.
Heat two teaspoon coconut oil in a pan and add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds. Just when they start spluttering, add ¼ teaspoon red chili powder and two sprig curry leaves. Finally add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt to taste.
Sauté until it turns golden brown. For more spicy touch add more red chili powder. Now finally add this mix to the prepared pulissery. Stir it well and serve with hot rice.
Blend ½ cup grated coconut along with two cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, three to four green chilies, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and ¼ teaspoon pepper powder into a fine paste. Keep it aside.
Cut one pumpkin into small cubes and boil. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt before cooking. Mash the cooked pumpkin pieces with a spatula. You can also leave few cubes instead of mashing the whole mix.
Now add the blended coconut paste to the pumpkin mash and let it simmer on a medium flame.
In a separate pan, heat two teaspoons of oil and add1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds. Just when they start to splutter, add four red chilies and one sprig curry leaves. Then add ¼ cup grated coconut. Fry until the coconut turns brownish in color and finally mix it in the main dish.
Soak a lime sized tamarind in warm water for five minutes and squeeze out the juice.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add one three to four crushed garlic cloves, one green chili and one finely chopped tomato. Let the tomato cook for a while, until it becomes soft and juicy. Now add the tamarind juice, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, salt to taste, handful of chopped coriander leaves and three cup water.
Bring it to a boil and then reduce the flame. Add the rasam powder prepared by coarsely grinding together three teaspoons black peppercorns, two teaspoons cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, two teaspoon toor dal and two red chillie, add ½ teaspoon asafetida powder. Let it simmer for about five minutes. Do not let it boil.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan; add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and seven curry leaves. Once it splutters add it to the rasam. Garnish with some fresh chopped coriander.
Moong dal payasam:
Soak 200 grams moong dal in water.
Heat some ghee in a pan and add four to five cinnamon and four green cardamom pods. Saute for a minute.
Drain the dal and add it to the cooking mixture. Add water and cook for some time. Remove and leave it to cool.
Blend the dal to make a thick puree.
Heat four tablespoons ghee in a pan and add the dal paste, 2 ½ tablespoons sugar, green cardamom powder, ½ cup thick coconut milk and ½ cup milk. Cook for some time and serve.