Wednesday, August 1, 2012


‘Onam’ is the harvest festival of Kerala – the 10 day festivities celebrate the annual ‘visit’ of the legendary King Mahabali to his kingdom – Kerala – now also known as ‘God’s own country’. It is celebrated in 'Chinga maasam' (Aug - Sep). 'Pookkalam' (floral rangoli) competions, 'vallam kali', 'pulikkali', and traditional dances and festivities are the highlights of the festival.

Every household decorates the front yard with ‘pookkalam’  and indulge in festivities. On ‘Thiruvonam’ day, they wear new clothes, distribute ‘ona kodi’ to all the servants and enjoy an elaborate feast. These days when family members are scattered all over the globe, they make it a point to have a family reunion at least during this period.
The ‘ona sadhya’ typically consists of all the dishes mentioned under ‘sadhya' (feast).
              Ona sadhya items                  

Feast items beginning from left outer circle -
kichadi (white), pachadi (golden brown), thoran, urulakizhangu roast, koottu, olan, avial, kaalan, puli inji, maangaakary, vadai, sharkaravarati, chips, curd, paal paayasam.
Inner circle - beginning from left from near end - ghee, paruppu, rice, pappadam, sambar, rasam.

View of the same items from the other end in the above pic! 

The banana leaf should have the narrow end to the left hand side of the eater.
The items should be served in a particular sequence. Also each dish has an allotted spot on the banana leaf! Here's the complete feast served in the right sequence (as in the above photo).

First paal paayasam is served on the near right end.
Next, the dishes are served in order from the far right end of the eater -

Near-end beginning from left end -
pappadam, pazham, chakka pazham (optional), sharkaravaratty, varathuppery, chakka uppery, paruppu vada, rice, ghee, sambar and paruppu.

The steel cups from left to right at the far end contain- paayasam, rasam and curd.

If you want to make 'ada pradhaman' / 'palada pradhaman', instead of 'paal payasam' go ahead!

                © Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

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