Onam Sadya: What Is The Significance Of The 26 Food Items? Here’s All About It!

by Mallika Khurana
Onam Sadya: What Is The Significance Of The 26 Food Items? Here’s All About It!

Onam, the vibrant harvest festival of Kerala, is not just a celebration of abundance but also a feast for the senses. Central to this festival is the grand Onam Sadhya Thali, an elaborate meal served on a banana leaf. Comprising an array of dishes, each with its own significance and unique flavours, the Onam Sadhya represents a rich tapestry of tradition, culture, and culinary expertise. Let’s delve into the 26 items that grace the Onam Sadhya, each contributing to the symphony of tastes that define this exquisite feast.

26 Elements Of A Traditional Onam Sadya

1. Matta Rice (Parboiled Rice)

Matta Rice
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This indigenous rice variety is known for its reddish-brown hue and distinct taste. Its inclusion in the Sadhya emphasises Kerala’s agricultural richness and local produce.

2. Parippu (Dal Curry)

Made with cooked lentils and tempered with spices, this simple and nourishing dish symbolises humility and unity, making it an integral part of the Sadhya.

3. Sambar

A hearty stew with a mix of vegetables and lentils, Sambar represents Kerala’s culinary diversity. The blend of spices and flavours showcases the state’s knack for creating harmonious combinations.

4. Rasam

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A tangy tamarind-based soup flavoured with spices, Rasam aids digestion and adds a refreshing note to the Thali. Its presence reflects the importance of balanced meals.

5. Avial

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A medley of vegetables cooked in a coconut and yoghurt gravy, this dish signifies the unity of various elements in Kerala’s culture. Its vibrant colours represent the state’s diversity.

6. Thoran

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A dry vegetable stir-fry tempered with coconut and spices, Thoran highlights Kerala’s skill in creating flavorful and healthy vegetable preparations.

7. Olan

A mild curry made with ash gourd and coconut milk, Olan showcases the state’s affinity for subtle flavours and the use of locally available ingredients.

8. Pachadi

A sweet and tangy dish made with yoghurt, fruits, and vegetables, Pachadi signifies the harmony between contrasting flavours. It adds a delightful complexity to the meal.

9. Kichadi

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A yoghurt-based curry with vegetables, Kichadi adds a cooling contrast to spicy dishes. Its soothing properties make it a vital part of the Sadhya.

10. Kootu Curry

A blend of vegetables and lentils cooked in coconut and spices, Kootu Curry celebrates Kerala’s love for diverse ingredients and nutritional balance.

11. Erissery

A dish made with vegetables and legumes cooked in a coconut and spice mixture, Erissery showcases Kerala’s expertise in transforming simple ingredients into flavorful delicacies.

12. Pulissery

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A yoghurt-based curry with a touch of sweetness from ripe mangoes or plantains, Pulissery reflects the state’s penchant for achieving a harmonious blend of flavours.

13. Moru Curry

A buttermilk-based curry with a hint of spiciness, Moru Curry offers a refreshing contrast and aids digestion, making it a popular inclusion in the Sadhya.

Also Read: From Non-Veg Sadya To Meal Boxes, How Onam Experienced A Culinary Transformation Over The Years

14. Inji Puli

A tangy ginger and tamarind chutney, Inji Puli, adds a zesty kick to the Thali. Its unique flavours showcase Kerala’s fondness for using native spices.

15. Pappadam

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Crispy lentil-based wafers, pappadam, add a crunchy texture to the meal. Its inclusion signifies the importance of a variety of textures in a Thali.

16. Banana Chips

Thin slices of deep-fried raw bananas, Banana Chips, celebrate Kerala’s abundant banana cultivation and provide a delightful snack element.

17. Sharkara Upperi

Onam Sadya
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Jaggery-coated banana chips, Sharkara Upperi, add a sweet note to the Thali. Its inclusion brings a touch of indulgence to the meal.

18. Payasam (Kheer)

Payasam, a variety of sweet puddings made with ingredients like rice, lentils, and vermicelli, is the epitome of Kerala’s love for desserts and celebrations.

19. Palada Payasam

Palada Payasam
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A rich and creamy rice pudding made with milk and sugar, Palada Payasam is a luxurious dessert that exemplifies indulgence and festivity.

20. Ada Pradhaman

A dessert made with rice flakes and jaggery, Ada Pradhaman showcases Kerala’s culinary innovation and the use of traditional ingredients.

21. Nendran Banana

A ripe banana, Nendran Banana’s presence represents Kerala’s local fruit abundance and the use of native ingredients.

22. Sarkara Varatti

Jaggery-coated banana fritters, Sarkara Varatti, add a touch of sweetness and a unique texture to the Thali.

23. Salt

Onam Sadya
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Essential for enhancing flavours, Salt’s presence underscores the importance of proper seasoning in every dish.

24. Pickles

A variety of pickles add bold flavours and a burst of tanginess, elevating the overall taste profile of the Sadhya.

25. Curds (Yoghurt)

Curds are a cooling element that balances the spices; they also provide probiotics that aid digestion.

26. Ghee

Onam Sadya
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Clarified butter, or ghee, symbolises richness and prosperity, adding a luxurious touch to the meal and improving the taste of various dishes.

Each dish in the Onam Sadhya Thali reflects the unique flavours and traditions of Kerala, creating a symphony of tastes that celebrates the essence of the festival.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva