Changing times, changing food; 10 off-beat Onam recipes


India, a country of 29 states and seven Union Territories, is abundant with several festivals, majority of which fall during the harvest season owing to the agrarian culture of livelihood.

The diverse land pattern also provides opportunities for foodies like me to explore the various food patterns around the country. And since Onam is here, let’s talk about Sadhya, an elaborate vegetarian feast from Kerala traditionally served on a banana leaf.

Kerala produces rice in abundance and hence it is a staple food of the locals. Presumably rice becomes the main dish of the Sadhya that literally means ‘feast’ in Malyalam. The side dishes include curries like Parippu, Sambar, Rasam, Pulisseri and others like Kaalan, Avial, Thoran, Olan, Pachadi, Mango pickle, Naranga curry, as well as Papadum, Banana, plain Yogurt or Buttermilk, and plantain chips.

Traditionally, this would be a typical Onam preparation. But times are changing and so are our food styles. NDTV has made a compilation of 10 different types of Onam recipes that you can try this year.

Erissery  – Recipe by Ambili Kurian

This is a gorgeous and mildly-spiced mix of grated coconut mixed with pumpkin, garlic and green chillis. It’s tempered with a beautiful blend of mustard seeds, chillis and crisp curry leaves.

Pulissery – Recipe by Ambili Kurian

A simple and popular side dish made with ash gourd, pappaya or cucumber and a yogurt based gravy.

Thenga Choru – Recipe by Kishore D Reddy

Give the usual every-day rice a coconut-y spin with some tasty coconut rice.

Pachadi – Recipe by Ritesh Venu

A light and smashing blend of coconut, curd and pineapple combined with fiery chillies and spices.

Avial – Recipe by Joey Matthew

A delicious dish that uses potato, carrots, raw banana, drumstick, beans and a small piece of raw mango. It’s served on a bed of Kerala rice that you’d want to dig into right away!


Paal Payasam – Recipe by Kishore D Reddy

A good meal isn’t complete without a smashing dessert and payasam gives you just that.  A typical sadya has four different kinds of payasam but why don’t we start with just one brilliant one.

Rasam- Recipe by Kishore D Reddy

With lots of pepper and tomatoes, rasam with its thin consistency is a real hit with any South-Indian meal. Try it out and you’ll know why.

Kadala Curry – Recipe by Niru Gupta

A curry packed with black chana and smooth gravy, this one is a real winner!

Kalan Kerala Curry – Recipe by Niru Gupta

An easy breezy curry prepared using buttermilk, mustard seeds, coconut and raw bananas.

Ulli Theeyal- Recipe by Chef Bala Subramanian

A Kerala delicacy made with shallots or tiny onions cooked in a roasted coconut gravy.


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