By Itika Sharma Punit | August 28, 2015
Like most Indian festivals, Onam is typically celebrated with food—lots and lots of it, consisting of at least six courses.
So much so that a proverb in Malayalam on the harvest festival goes “kaanam vittum onam unnanam.” It means a man must host a sadya—ora grand vegetarian lunch banquet—even if he is forced to sell his property.
The sadya, which is served on a banana leaf and relished best without the use of cutlery, is historically known to have included 60 dishes. Over the years, however, the number of dishes has reduced and several recipes forgotten.
But even today, sadya cooked in most households in the south Indian state includes around 30 different items. The meal is served in a strict order, which can vary from one region to another, and sometimes even from family to family.
A local belief is that the strong aroma of tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds in coconut oil while cooking Onam sadya, draws thedemon king Mahabali to the house to bless its residents.
Here’s a list of some of the items that will be served on banana-leaf platters in Kerala today:
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