#MondayMusings – Onam Sadhya
Other than India’s many festivals, I love the fact that people are ready to let others explore their traditions, cultures and uniqueness in how these festivals are celebrated. If you have been following this blog, you know that Onam just went by. Like last year, I had beautiful Pookalams adorn this blog. Ten floral carpets – one for each day, leading up to the tenth day of Onam. The flowers had a calming effect on me every day and now that they are on the blog, I can look at them whenever I want.
Onam was a festival that I discovered last year. Not that I hadn’t heard of the festival before but then unless people around talk about specifics of a festival that they celebrate, it’s hard to know things that are done within the four walls.
Last year, my friend LP shared with me a lot about Pookalams and what it means for Onam, how she celebrates this festival and does it the most traditional way possible so that her 11 year-old can get a flavor of his roots. Excited as I can get, this year too I posted Pookalam pictures from her house and everybody just loved them. One question that many people asked me was about Onam Sadhya.
Onam Sadhya is the Onam feast – the traditional Onam meal. Lucky as I could get, LP invited VT and me over for Onam Sadhya yesterday. I did not even think twice to say yes when she asked us. My level of excitement was way above the usual one. I will let the pictures do the talking but the many things that I learnt yesterday from this awesome Sadhya go as below:
- Onam Sadhya is typically a lunch feast.
- It consists of vegetarian food but in North Kerala, non-vegetarian food could also be included.
- Men prepare all the food for Onam Sadhya and they serve too.
- People sit and eat together in batches.
- The food is served on Plantain leaf and you will have to ask for a spoon if you really want it. VT did that!
- You can eat as much as you want and there is no limit to the number of servings. Men walk by with vessels in their hands and will ask you to take the food if you want. VT and I took 6 helpings of pineapple pachadi. It was so yum.
- The water was rose colored but not sweet. It had some extraction of a tree bark and some herbs to increase appetite and digestion.
- There can be as many as 64 items for the meal. Ours had around 27.
- Most of the dishes served have coconut as an ingredient.
- The pickle goes on top left corner, the papad on the bottom left, rice in the middle and various vegetables, chutney and pachadi on the top.
- Left middle is meant for banana chips salted and those coated with jaggery, and fried bitter gourd. They add the necessary crisp to the meal.
- The chutneys are coconut and the one with jaggery and ginger.
- The rice is meant to be eaten with sambhar, rasam and curd. It is so light that you can eat a lot more than you would have at home.
- There are three kinds of payasam – banana, dal and milk. I loved the milk and the dal one. My no-desserts for 21-days challenge went for a toss.
- You fold the leaf from the bottom to top to indicate that you are done and satisfies with the meal.
- Betel leaves with lime is given to cleanse the palate and enhance digestion. VT and I shared one!
This one is for sure a lunch I am going to talk all my life. The firsts are always special and when you get back home to doze off for two hours, you know you had a great meal.
Not just that, I am already thinking of next year and my plan to is skip breakfast for next year’s Sadhya so that I can eat more! 🙂