Onam Sadhya is an important feature of Kerala festival Onam. It is a grand feast and a sensational multi-course vegetarian meal, served traditionally on the banana leaf on the main Onam day which is called Thiru Onam. It is the most symbolic of the festival. The cuisine for Onam Sadhya is elaborate and varied, and enjoyed sitting on the floor with folded legs. A typical Onam Sadya consists of 20-24 items and served on the specific places.
Let us see what are the important dishes served for this sadhya which made it so special and how they are traditionally served.
First, a mat is spread on the floor and before it, a clean banana leaf is spread out r with the end towards your left side. The person sits on the mat and eats the food.
The typical upperi with raw banana chips in square shapes and jaggery coated banana chips called sarkaravaraetti or sarakaupperi. These are served in the extreme corner of the banana leaf.
One or two papadoms are placed next to the upperi.
A piece of steamed banana (Kerala banana, nenthrapazham) and yam chips are also served in the corner of the leaf, next to the papadoms.
Pickles are served next to the upperi. Usually the pickles are instant mango pickle or instant lime pickle.
Puli inji -
Puli inji is made with ginger, green chillies, tamarind juice and a small piece of jaggery and, is also served as next to the pickle.
The delicious pickle made with a combination of 5-8 vegetables, added with coconut and curds seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves is one of the many side dishes, served in the banana leaf. This is served on the right side.
Kichadi is made with okra (Lady's finger), or cucumber or bitter gourd, with mildly spiced yogurts, is served next to it.
A simple dish, Pachadi is usually made with ripe pineapple or ripe mango with blend of coconut, curd and fiery chillies and spices.
A simple and yummy curry made with pappaya, mango or cucumber in yogurt. .
Thin pieces of Ash gourd in coconut milk with green chillies. Some people make red gram and vegetables cooked in coconut milk, with a rich and creamy texture.
Kalan - An easy breezy curry prepared using buttermilk, mustard seeds, coconut and raw bananas.
A dry dish made with cabbage or long beans.
Erissery is mildly-spiced mix of grated coconut mixed with pumpkin, garlic and green chillis. It's tempered with a beautiful blend of mustard seeds, red chillis and crisp curry leaves. A combination of vegetables and pulses using ground coconut paste and roasted coconut
Kootu curry - made with black chickpeas and vegetables.
Parippu - Plain tur dal cooked and served.
Brown rice, if available, is used. Otherwise plain white rice. It is served in the centre when the guest sits down to eat.
Sambar is the main curry to eat the rice, served in the centre of rice. It is also called as ozhichu curry.
Ghee - A teaspoon of ghee is served on top of the rice.
Sugar - is served next to parippu.
Made with pepper and tomatoes and thin in consistency, which helps digest the food.
Sambharam (butter milk) -
For the second serving of rice, sambaram is used instead of sambar.
Payasam is the dessert served after the food. In most houses, two types of payasam will be served after the food - dal payasam and ada pradhaman. Other popular types of payasams are semia payasam, ethapazham pradhaman, jackfruit payasam etc. For Onam sadhya, without payasam the meal is not complete.
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