There are many good things about Onam – pookalams, Onakodi, pulikali, etc. But if you ask us, the best thing about Onam is the Onasadhya. It is one of those times of the year when the entire family gets together to have a meal together; something that’s not too common in the mobile-obsessed, tv serial filled modern world. So on this Thiruvonam day, we thought we’d take a look at the 26 dishes that make up the famous ഓണസദ്യ.
These banana chips coated in jaggery are the perfect start to every sadhya.
One of the many things that Kerala is famous for, kaaya upperi needs no introduction. These make the perfect snack while you wait for other dishes to be served. And if you’re the adventurous type, make crazy crunchy combos with the choru and other dishes.
What’s a sadhya without a little spice?! Manga achaar (mango pickle), with its tangy spiciness, is just the right thing to add spice to your sadhya.
Naranga achaar (lemon pickle) steps the game up with its sourness, so you can alternate between Manga achaar and Naranga achaar to give your tastebuds a run for their money!
Ok, now we step into the thick of the sadhya. We know very few people who don’t like the mambhaza pulisherri. How can one not like this delicious combination of mango and yoghurt – the perfect sweet and sour combo?
Staying with the sweet tone, we have mathangya elisherri. This bad boy has peas and pumpkins so it is filled with protein and rich sweetness of mathangya.
Made with yam, plantains, grated coconut, and curd, the kaalan is one of those koottucurries that take the sadhya into a more serious tone. The thick gravy is filled with a taste that is impossible to articulate.
Rich in protein thanks to the peas used to make it, the olan is one of those mild dishes. The ash gourd and coconut milk add subtle flavours that makes this a perfect curry.
Just when you thought all the taste experiments were done at the start, here’s a superstar. Pineapple slices in a coconut-yoghurt based curry might come as a surprise to non-Malayalis but to us Malayalis, the pineapple pachadi has a flavour and taste that is unrivalled. The tangy sweetness of the pineapple blends perfectly with the tanginess of the yoghurt, making this a match made in heaven.
This is nothing but stir-fried yam. Filled with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, this dish goes perfectly well with rice and the curries in the sadhya.
Puli Inji (Inji Puli)
Puli Inji is arguably one of the best things ever! Made from tamarinds, ginger, green chillis, and jaggery this bad boy has a tarty-sweet taste that cannot be replicated by any other dish. And it is the perfect dish to nibble on while you wait for another serving of rice.
The Kerala parippu curry is a tad bit different from its distant cousin, the dal, as it is thicker thanks to the coconut that’s added to it. It comes as a welcome relief when you run out of sambar and are looking for a gravy to pair with rice and pickles.
The main part of every sadhya! We don’t have to talk about chooru/rice for just mentioning it evokes emotions, in us Malayalis, that cannot be explained.
They say that the sambar was invented in Maharastra. But we guess Kerala perfected it (just our opinion!). Filled with delicious veggies, sambar and rice do most of the heavy lifting in the sadhya. And often, a bad sambar means a bad sadhya; doesn’t matter how good the rest of the dishes were.
Spiced buttermilk. That’s what this is. But as simple as it sounds, the moru curry is filled with flavour – it is tangy, a tad bit spicy, and extremely aromatic. It is one of those simple dishes that add a great deal of flavour to the sadhya.
Good old crispy pappadams that add crunch and texture when combined rice and the curries of the sadhya.
Usually made with 13 vegetables, this is one of the healthiest dishes on the planet. And whoever said that healthy food doesn’t taste good, should have a chattukam full of avial. Once you try it, you’ll fall in love with it.
Made with a base of cucumber and curd, this curry cools your stomach while you much on the rest of the sadhya.
Yet again, an example of how healthy food need not taste bad, the rasam is absolutely delicious. Filled with vitamins and minerals, and famous for how it aids in curing illnesses of the stomach, the rasam is so good that you can drink it all by itself.
Made with veggies and legumes, this is another dish that goes well with rice and the gravies in the sadhya.
There’s nothing that beats the taste of neyy with hot chooru. The neyy improves the texture of the rice and adds some smoothness in your mouth.
Another one of those dishes that is extremely easy to prepare and yet, adds a whole lot of flavour. The inji thayir is made with ginger, yoghurt, green chillis, and curry leaves.
Another dish that you can pair with rice and the gravy dishes of the sadhya, the cabbage thoran is crunch, munchy, and delicious.
What would you do after you’re done with the main course and wait for the deserts? Munch on a poovan pazham of course! The poovan pazham not only prepares you for the pasayams with its delicious sweetness but also ensures that your stomach doesn’t throw any surprises at you the next day.
And now we move into deserts! The paalada payasam is as sweet as they come and filled with bits of ada that tickle your tastebuds as you drink it. We bet you’ll need an afternoon nap once you gulp a few shots!
And if you are someone who prefers something creamier, then there’s the pazham payasam. Made from bananas as the name suggests, this creamy sweet delicacy is sure to leave you with a sugar high.
And those are the 26 dishes that make up an Onasadhya. As you can see, all these dishes are not just delicious but quite nutritious too. So which one is your favourite?