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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Onasadya Series (Part 2)

Continuing the Onasadya series...

Sadya or banquet always refers to a traditional vegetarian meal served on a plantain leaf. It incorporates all tastes like sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent and pungent/spicy. While some districts prefer to use the pink/red Matta rice in the Sadya, others use the white rice.

One of the biggest attractions of Onam, which is actually a 4 day state holiday in Keralal, is the snake boat race or Vallamkali ( it is still in my bucket list and looks like it will remain so for another year atleast ) !! Along with the annual rice harvest, the celebration also commemorates the annual visit of the Asura king Mahabali who was relegated to the underworld by the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu. Slightly diverging from the topic, I would like to add that Mahabali still commands a lot of respect in Kerala and is not the devil incarnate as people from North assume him to be. Those who like books can actually try reading Asura by Anand Neelakantan . It is a beautiful book about the 'asura' way of life and is sure to change your perceptions.

Coming back to the food, it is the very popular Avial (mix veg) along with the sweet and sour dishes of puli inji and pacchadi. Read on -


Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 raw banana
  • 1 carrot
  • 7-8 beans
  • 1-2 drumstick 
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 cup yellow cucumber
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • a few pieces of raw mango
  • 1 tbsp curd
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • 2 green chilis
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1/5 mustard seeds
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Cut all the vegetables into long pieces.

Grind the grated coconut with cumin seeds and green chilis.

Cooking - Boil 2 cups water in a wok. First add the carrot, green banana, potato, yellow cucumber and beans. Let it boil till half cooked.

Then add the drumsticks, pumpkin and raw mangoes. Sprinkle the turmeric. Boil till all the veggies are soft.

Add the ground coconut and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from the flame and add the curd. Stir well and return to flame. Cook for 3-4 mins.

Heat the oil in a tempering pan. Add curry leaves , mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Pour the tempering over the vegetables and mix in.

Puli Inji

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 5-6 finely chopped green chillis
  • a lime sized ball of tamarind
  • 4-5 tbsp powdered jaggery
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 tsp oil
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • Salt to taste

Preparation - Soak the tamarind in hot water for 30  minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice.Throw the pulp.
Wash and peel the ginger. Chop finely along with the green chillis.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds followed by the curry leaves.
Add the chopped ginger and green chillis. Fry on medium flame for 2-3 mins till light brown.

Add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and salt to taste. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame.

Finally add the jaggery and allow to boil till the consistency becomes thick and saucy.
Remove from stove and allow it to cool down. Goes best with curd rice.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last for a month.


Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cup chopped yellow cucumber
  • 3-4 finely chopped shallots
  • 2-3 chopped green chillis
  • 1/2 inch chopped ginger
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut 
  • 2 garlic flakes
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp powdered mustard seeds 
  • 1 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Grind grated coconut with garlic and cumin seeds into a smooth paste. Beat the yogurt lightly and then add coconut paste to it.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add chopped cucumber, shallots, ginger, green chili, torn curry leaves and salt. Add about 1/2 cup water and allow to cook till soft.

Remove from flame. Add the mustard powder and the yogurt-coconut paste. Mix thoroughly.

Return the wok to the flame. Keep stirring for about 5 mins and then remove from the flame once the raw smell goes away.

TO be continued...............

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