I am back from my long break and still reeling from the crazy schedule that I thought was my vacation. But trips to India have always been like that. Too many commitments, a lot of travelling to meet relatives and general humdrum. I have already declared to my husband that I need another vacation to recuperate from this one. I missed Bahrain and felt like I was back home when I landed here. I also missed my little nook that is my blog and ached to write everyday. I actually wrote little notes behind books in an attempt to note down the ideas. But now that I am back, I feel lethargy restraining me with all its slimy tentacles and even after a week ( well almost) I haven’t posted a single thing in my space. Finally, after a little nudge from my mother this morning, I decided to do a post about Onam Sadya which has been long languishing in my drafts. This post is more from my need to document my mother’s recipes than anything else.
Onam is the most important festival for all Hindu Keralites. The festival commemorates Mahabali’s yearly homecoming ( to His kingdom which was the beautiful state of Kerala) after being sent down to the underworld by Vaman (dwarf), the fifth avatar of Vishnu. The highlight of this festival is the lavish sadya ( feast) which includes various mouth – watering items grandly served on a banana leaf. Funnily, I have never had the opportunity to celebrate this beautiful festival in my home state where it is celebrated with much gusto and fervour. Boat races, intricate flower carpets, traditional dances are some of the festivities that are the mark of typical Onam celebrations in the state.
It has been quite a while that I had been meaning to document my mother’s recipes for all the Sadya ( feast) items. Finally, this Onam ( which was on the 9th of September) I managed to get down to it with my mother’s help, ofcourse. I had invited some friends ( all non- Keralites) over for an elaborate luncheon. It seemed like everybody did enjoy the feast and that gave me every ounce of satisfaction for all the effort that went into preparing this feast. I had made a total of 9 items excluding the pickle and banana chips which were store-bought. Here I shall be detailing only the curries and the rice pudding in particular.
Recipe for Sambar
Toor dal/ yellow pigeon peas – 1 cup
Drumsticks – 4 nos. ( Cut into smaller pieces.Alternately, you could use any vegetable, such as okra, bottle gourd, brinjals, pumpkin etc)
Tomatoes – 2 nos.
Tamarind – lemon- sized soaked in warm water
Salt as per taste
Turmeric powder- half a teaspoon
For the Masala
Coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons
Dried red chilly -8 nos. ( You could reduce the number to reduce the heat)
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida- 1 teaspoon
Onion cut into pieces – 1 No.
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Mustard seeds, dry red chilly and curry leaves, and oil
Garnish – coriander leaves (optional)
1. Cook dal in water with salt and turmeric.
2. Cook drumsticks pieces separately in water.
3. Fry all the masala ingredients with little oil until light brown and keep aside. When the masala has cooled to room temperate grind it using little water into a paste. Add this to the cooked dal and cooked drumsticks and let it all cook on medium heat for some time.
4. To this add tamarind water and let it all cook some more. Taste in between and realize the taste change primarily because the raw taste of masala has been replaced by this gorgeous cooked masala flavour.
5. Add water if the gravy seems too thick until it seems equal a pouring consistency.
6. To this add the tempering for which oil is first heated in a frying pan. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the tempering ingredients and wait until the mustard seeds have spluttered and the other ingredients have changed colour. Pour this tempering on the gravy with drumsticks and dal.
7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.
Recipe for Erissery Recipe
Yam – cut in to cubes- 1 cup
Raw banana cut int0 small pieces – 1 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
chilly powder- 1/2 teaspoon
pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon
coconut grated – 2 cups
Cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
oil – 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
1. Cook yam and raw banana with turmeric powder, chilly powder, pepper powder and salt.( don’t overcook) in very little water.
2. Grind 3/4 cup of coconut and cumin seeds. Add to the cooked veg. and boil . Remove from heat
3. Then heat oil in a frying pan, splutter mustard seeds and then add remaining coconut grated and when it turns brown add curry leaves. Pour the tempering into the Erissery prepared.
Recipe for Avial
Yam – 1 cup ( all veggies cut into one inch long pieces)
Raw banana- 1 cup
elavan (Ash guard)- 1 cup
carrot -1/2 cup
ginger ( optional) 1 small piece cut in long pieces
Raw mango ( optional) 1 small piece cut in to long pieces
turmeric powder-1 teaspoon
chilly powder- 1 teaspoon
3 coconut grated -2 cups
tamarind 1/2 small lemon size
Yogurt ( should be a little sour) – 1 cup
green chillies- 4-5 ( reduce the number if you want to reduce the heat)
butter or coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
1. Cook all the vegetables in a thick bottomed vessel or non-stick vessel with minimum water along with turmeric, chilly powder and salt,
2. Coarsely grind the grated coconut, tamarind, green chillies and yogurt and add to the cooked vegetables.Boil till the water gets evaporated .
3. Then remove from heat and add butter or coconut oil and curry leaves and mix
Recipe for Cabbage Thoran
Cabbage grated or chopped fine – 2 cups
coconut, grated- 1 cup
turmeric- 1/4 teaspoon
green chillies- 5-6 ( reduce to lower the heat)
one onion – cut int pieces
Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
split chick peas / chana dal- 1 tablespoon
curry leaves- 3-4 leaves
1. Heat oil in a non stick pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add chana dal . when it turns light brown add curry leaves and then add grated cabbage and turmeric and salt . saute well
2. Coarsely grind coconut, green chillies and onions add this to the half cooked cabbage. Mix well. Cook for -2 minutes.
Recipe for Kalan
Yam – 1/2 cup (cut in to small cubes)
Raw bananas- 1/2 cup ( cut into small pieces)
pepper powder- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder(optional)- 1/2 teaspoon
2 coconut grated – 1 and 1/2 cups
green chillies – 4-5
3 sour yogurt – 1 cup
4 mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
fenugreek seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
dried red chilly- 2
1. Cook the vegetables in water with salt, pepper and turmeric powder items together with little water. Evaporate excess water by heating.
2.Beat the yogurt and add to the cooked veggies. Boil and stir continuously so that it won’t curdle.
3. grind grated coconut and green chillies and keep aside.
4. When the gravy gets reduced add the ground coconut – green chilly mixture to it. When it starts boiling, remove from heat.
5. Heat oil or ghee in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add fenugreek seeds,red chillies and curry leaves. Pour the tempering on top of kalan prepared and mix well.
Recipe for Paal Payasam ( Rice Pudding)
milk- 2 litres
broken raw rice – 1/2 cup ( alternately you can use basmati but run it ever so slightly in the blender to break it)
ghee – 3 teaspoons
sugar….1/2 kg ( to make it less sweet, reduce the sugar)
1 glass of water
1. Take a thick bottomed vessel and add little ghee. To it add milk and one glass of water together to it and boil. stir well.
2. When the water contents gets evaporated add rice and boil. When the rice gets cooked almost three fourth add sugar and stir continuously.
3. Let the rice gets cooked completely and allow the payasam to reach the desired consistency, Remove from heat. Serve hot or cold.
This is one long recipe post but I am glad that I got it all down. Thanks Amma for all your help.