Contributed by: Anjali Sharma
India is known for its comprehensive and exhilarating variety of festivals.
Onam, also known as Thiru-Onam or Thiruvonam, is the Keralan region’s auspicious rice harvest celebration. It occurs in Chingam, the first month of the Malayalam calendar.
Onam, commemorating the renowned, sage, and kind King Mahabali, is celebrated by adorning homes, creating rangolis, donning new garments, wishing loved ones a happy Onam Sadhya or Onasadhya, and cooking a lavish meal.
This year, this rejuvenating happy festival will start on August 30 and end on September 8 spanning 10 days.
The traditional Onam Sadhya, a multi-course vegetarian dinner eaten on a banana leaf and including over 25 dishes, is offered throughout the joyful occasion.
In Malayalam, the word “sadhya,” refers to “feast,” i.e elaborate feast. Every family member must make contributions to the Onam sadhya or Onasadhya preparations and functions.
The massive lunch necessitates preparations to start well in advance, which unites the community in creating a memorable event.
Experts say that the lunch includes traditional foods from all throughout the state, such as fried appetisers, a range of curries, pickles, and desserts served with red rice.
The Pappadam is essential to an Onam Sadhya. They have a crunchy feel and are manufactured from rice flour.
Banana chips, also known as upperi, are one of Sadhya’s most cherished meals. Typically, a few upperi are offered during the ritual feast.
The sweeter variety of banana chips is sharkara Buratti. It consists of deep-fried raw bananas that have been spiced with cardamom, cumin, and dried ginger and covered in jaggery syrup.
Inji curry is prepared from ginger, jaggery and tamarind. One of the first foods made in Malayali homes in the days before Thiruvonam is this.
The Sadhya gets a fiery boost from this mango dish. Coconut milk and raw mango are used to make it.
Naranga curry is a tart lemon pickle that gives the lavish dinner some zing.
Red beans and white or ash gourd are combined to make olan, which is then generously drenched in coconut milk.
Another meal made with yoghurt is called Pachadi. Grated coconut and either pineapple or bitter gourd are used to make this curry.
Ellisheri is a combination of pumpkin, red beans, and a generous amount of grated coconut.
Avial is a dish prepared with a mix of vegetables.
Around 13 vegetables are commonly found in the Western Ghats and grated coconut is mixed thoroughly to prepare avial. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves.
Chenna Mezhkkupuratti preparation is done by cutting yams into thin slices. Then, it is boiled with spices and fried in coconut oil.
Parripu curry is made from the most subtle ingredients like plain moong dal topped with ghee, red chillies, and black sesame seeds.
Sambhar is an integral dish in south Indian cuisine. Especially, Onam sambhar is the key dish in the grand feast. It is a lentil-based vegetable stew prepared in a tamarind broth.
Every household has its own special secret for sambhar preparation.
Khichdi is also one of the most delicious dishes from Onam sadhya. It is made utilising seasoned yoghurt and vegetables like okra, cucumber, or even bitter gourd.
This signature delicacy of Onam Sadhya is made with yoghurt, yam or raw banana and grated coconut.
With the use of boiling yoghurt, black sesame seeds, shallots, ginger, and garlic a superb morru kachiyatha is prepared.
Rasam is a simple soup prepared with spicy tamarind soup, splashed with an ample amount of curry leaves, mustard and tomatoes.
It is either eaten with rice or separately to assist in digestion.
Every Malayali home has thoran, a meal that may be prepared from any vegetable. Typically, it’s cooked with beans and grated coconut, or just cabbage and carrots.
A dry dish called kootu curry is created with shredded coconut, black chana, and raw bananas.
Neyy, commonly referred to as ghee in Hindi, is drizzled over the rice and parripu to add flavour. Without it, Onam Sadhya is insufficient.
A delectable meal called Inji Thayir is created with ginger, yoghurt, black sesame seeds, and spices.
Bananas are similar in size to poovan pazham. You may eat it by blending it with payasam. For even more crunch, add some pappadam to the mixture.
The ingredients for palada pradhaman, a sweet dish, include milk, dried fruits, and rice ada. As a way to balance the flavours, it is served at the very end of the feast.
Pazham Pradhaman contains rice ada, cashew nuts, finely sliced coconut pieces and jaggery that adds so much to its taste and appearance.
Onam is one of the most flavourful festivals that is celebrated in India. The significant part of Onam is that it authentically consists of 26 different types of delicious mouth-watering curries, fried vegetables, sweet dishes and more, prepared with over 60 ingredients.
The feast is eaten by hand and is traditionally served on a fresh banana leaf laid on the floor. The custom is a reflection of humbleness and that all are equal.
When warm tempting food is served on the leaf, the antioxidants are absorbed in the food, which supplies all necessary nutrients to the person having the meal.
The banana leaf is also rich in antibacterial properties, vitamin A, calcium, and carotene so this ritual is beneficial in terms of health too.
Onam sadhya feast and celebration is a way to preserve Indian culture’s authenticity and beauty.
Here we have deeply elaborated the story of Onam sadhya and the amazing dishes that are served at the feast.
With the wide variety of dishes, Onam is also well-known for pookkalam (a carpet of flowers painted on the outside of homes), onakalikal (festival games), vallamkali (boat races), and pulikali (a painting with players dressed as tigers and hunters) and archery.
Furthermore, you should also undergo preventive health checkups. These health checks give a complete report about your health, allowing you to take necessary precautionary measures to improve your well-being and keep a host of ailments at bay.