Onasadhya or Onam Sadhya is a special and delicious a strictly vegetarian nine course meal that is prepared and served on the day of Onam. It is said to be the most grand meal prepared by any other cultures in the world and one of the most important part of Onam celebration. Right from the richest to the poorest people of Kerala do prepare Onasadya and first offer it to god and pay respect and show their devotion and passion towards god. After the offering the Onasadhya to the God, all family members together sit down on mats on the floor and have this grand meal.
Significance of Onasadya :
It is said that on Onam the King Mahabali visit’s Kerala to meet people. By preparing Onasadya the people living in Kerala to shows the spirit of King Mahabali that his people are living in same happiness and prosperity as their ancestors did during his golden rule. There is an old Malayalam saying ‘Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam’ means “people should prepare Onam Sadya, even selling all there possessions”.
Onasadya Dishes :
As per the tradition there are more than 11 essential dishes in Onasadya and rice is the main ingredient, and delicacies such as Parippu Curry, Sambar, Avial, ery, Kalan, Olan, Thoran etc. It is said that in ancient time Onasaya used to be much more grand then to what it is today. It was elaborated with 64 mandatory dishes – eight dishes with eight varieties of each.
Parippu Curry : A thick curry lentil dish eaten with rice, papadum and ghee.
Sambar : A thick gravy made of lentils, tamarind, vegetables like drumsticks, tomato, etc., and flavored with asafoetida.
Rasam : A watery dish made of tamarind, tomatoes, and spices like black pepper, asafoetida, coriander, chili pepper, etc. It is very spicy in taste and aids in digestion.
Aviyal : Thick mixture of various vegetables, and coconut. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. This dish is usually made of leftover vegetables.
Kaalan : Made of yogurt, coconut, and any one vegetable like “nendran” plantain or a tuber-like yam. It is very thick and more sour
Olan : A preparation of pumpkin, coconut milk, and ginger seasoned with coconut oil.
Koottukari : One or two vegetables like banana and coconut with a hot and sweet taste.
Kichadi : Made of yogurt and cucumber in raw or cooked form.
Pachadi : A sweet form of kichadi, but made with pineapple, grapes and coconut.
Puliyinchi : A dish of paste like consistency made of ginger, tamarind, green chilies, and jaggery.
Thoran : A dish of sauted vegetables such as peas, green beans, raw jackfruit, carrots, or cabbage (usually) with grated coconut.
Pickles (Achar) : Spicy pickled raw mango/lemon/lime, etc.
How is Onasadya Served :
On the last day of Onam i.e. Thiruvonam day, the Onasadya dishes are served on a banana leaf. On the left Pappad (or Poppadum) is served with the varieties of bananas (‘Rasakathali’, ‘Poovan’, or ‘Palayankodan’). On the right salt, banana wafers and sarkarapuratti fries are served with ginger lime, mango pickles, ‘vellarika’, ‘pavakka’, beetroot and ‘ullikitchadi’. Then ‘Khichadi’ is served with cabbage thoran, ‘avial’ and ‘kootu curry’. Then rice is served with ‘parippu’ and ghee poured on it followed by Sambhar and at last the Desserts which begin with ‘ada pradhaman’ followed by ‘Kadala Payasam’. Onasadya is to be ate by hands only and fork or spoon are not allowed.