Onam will be celebrated tomorrow with much fanfare and feasting. It’s a regional festival that has captured the hearts of many across the country. Several restaurants and home chefs are offering Onam sadya experiences in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai. If you are craving this festive meal, but don’t have access to chefs or places with sadya menus, cook a few signature dishes at home. Here are five recipes that celebrate a cornucopia of flavours; from sweet, salty, sour, spicy to umami.
Inji translates to ginger and puli means tamarind in Malayalam. Inji Puli is a thick, tongue-tingling curry often mistaken for a condiment. In this video, Kochi-based YouTuber and chef Mahima Simon teaches a North-Kerala style appetising inji puli. She uses a traditional brass urli for cooking, but it can be substituted with a non-stick pan. The end result is bound to be slightly different, but what you will get is a food item that’s integral to the sadya. It needs to be made at least a day in advance for the flavours to mature.
It’s a peppery legume-based side dish also known as kootu curry. Assorted fleshy vegetables like raw banana and yam are used with overnight soaked kala chana (black gram) and tempered with grated coconut and curry leaves. Easy to prepare, it’s perfect for those who are new to cooking dishes from Kerala.
A soulful bowl of avial, with assorted vegetables, coconut milk curry and curry leaves tempering, represents the key features of food from Kerala. The Onam sadya is incomplete without avial and here’s an easy recipe from chef Sanjeev’s Kapoor’s YouTube channel.
It’s a classic side dish in a sadya. Olan translates to ashgourd in Malayalam and this subtle-flavoured preparation balances spicy dishes like inji puli and sambar. Made with cowpeas and simmered in coconut milk, it makes a warm stew lightly flavoured with green chillies and curry leaves.
The best is reserved for the last. If you are new to Kerala cooking, learning to make payasam is a good start. Parippu pradhaman is chana daal payasam redolent with flavours of ghee, jaggery and coconut milk. Although it’s cooked in a traditional brass urli for festivals, one can use a heavy-bottomed pan used to make kheer. Relish each spoonful of this delicious payasam.