Thursday, September 19, 2013

Onam Sadhya 2013

Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, India as per the Malayalam calendar’s first month known as chingam. Unlike other festivals it celebrates King Mahabali’s moral victory over the gods and onam is a festival that is not associated with any particular religion.
The festival also commemorates the kings reign over Kerala that was filled with abundance and peace. It’s a ten day long festival where many people decorate their homes with fresh spring flowers (pookalam) and engage in many activities such as dances (Thiruvathirakali), games, snake boat races, sports and have a traditional grand feast called Onsadhya. Celebrations and festivities are never complete without the food.

Onasadhya, is a traditional sumptuous meal compromising of an array of vegetarian dishes, served on a large plantain leaf very symbolic to Kerala. As I have mentioned earlier I was born and brought up in Chennai, were onam is not observed as a holiday like in Kerala and none of the other activities associated with onam was practiced so onam in our house was all about food. Our mom made it a point she cooked our favorite food mostly the weekend before or after onam. And eating on a plantain leaf was my favourite part and it’s something that I am totally crazy about from childhood.

My very first onasadhya that I made all by myself was after marriage. Most of the times we either celebrated at a friend’s place or ate out. However for the past two years I have been making a full onasadhya all by myself inclusive of the kadumanga (mango pickle). This year’s onam was a very quite but a special one. ( A special one because every single dish came out well otherwise I am know to flop one or two dishes when I make so many and everything went as planned and I finished on time).The morning started off with me beginning the preparations for the sadhya with loads of help from my helper. The kids were such a gem they went out with their dad to play and were back with flowers to make the pookalam. Over the years I have added many curries apart from my mom’s recipes to my onasadhya list those that I relished at a friend’s place or at a restaurant. The onasadhya items that I made this year are

Onam Sadhya Recipes:
  • Avial (Mixed vegetables cooked in spiced coconut sauce)
  • Cabbage, beans and carrot thoran (vegetables cooked with shredded coconut)
  • Ulli pachadi (Fried shallots in yogurt seasoned with powdered mustard seeds)
  • Chenna mezuparati (Elephant yam stir fry)
  • Olan (pumpkin and vanpayar (red cowpeas) cooked in coconut milk
  • Madhura curry (Pineapple and grapes cooked in coconut gravy)
  • Pavakka theyal (Bitter gourd cooked in roasted coconut paste)
  • Puli inji (Ginger pickle)
  • Kadumanga (Mango pickle)
  • Sambar (Lentils and vegetable stew)
  • Mambaza pullisery (Ripe mangoes in yogurt)
  • Plantain chips 
  • Drink -sambaram, (Spiced buttermilk)
  • Dessert - cherupayar payasam (Moong dal cooked in coconut milk and sweetened with jaggery)

A few pictures of our Onam celebrations. Photo husband!!

Happy Onam !!


  1. the recipes are easy,,,,,,,,,,,,,will try some of them and surely leave a feedback


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Hello, Welcome to Eleventeen Recipes and counting authored by me, Shibi. This blog is an outlet to share my love for food, cooking and clicking. It includes a collection of traditional recipes from my mom, mother-in-law, sister and friends kitchens, and a few from cook books, other food blogs, and a few of my own experiments. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Thank you.