Onam is here! It’s the most celebrated festivals of Kerala and for all the Malayalis across the world. For almost one week during this period, Kerala is shut for business and open for feasting. Onam is a harvest festival that takes place in Chingam, the first month of Malayali calendar. Onam is also celebrated to mark the home coming of the mythical ruler Mahabali, a beloved king who fought the battle with Hindu gods and defeated them only to be banished by Vishnu to the underworld. To felicitate his rightful and successful reign, the gods allowed him to return to his people once a year. All of Kerala and the Malayalis celebrate the harvest season and homecoming of Mahabali. And what’s the best way to celebrate the occasion? With food, obviously. The specialty is Onam Sadhya, meaning feast or banquet in Malayalam.
A feast that consists of 24-26 dishes, Sadhya is one of the main attractions for the festival. The meal may look sumptuous but it is the healthiest form of thalis one can have. It has a great balance of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory food and gut-friendly food. Let’s see how Sadhya is a healthy mixture of all things good and take a look at a few of the main dishes that are served on a banana leaf.
Rice: The main ingredient of Sadhya is rice. It is the semi polished brown rice or red rice which is used. This type of rice is a power house of all essential nutrients. It is loaded with fiber, protein and selenium.
Sambar: It is one of the prominent items of Sadhya. This flavourful dish is a lentil based stew prepared with vegetables such as tomato, onions, potato, carrot, peas and other spices for seasoning. You can add more vegetables to make it even healthier. Being a rich source of protein, lentil is even good for the digestive system.
Rasam: Another prominent item of Sadhya, Rasam is a watery dish made of tamarind and tomato as important ingredients. Chilli, pepper and cumin are other ingredients used in the dish for its authentic flavour. The spices in the dish is known to remove the toxins form the body and also facilitate in weight loss. It is spicy and aids in digestion and eases the bowel movement.
Avial: Sadhya cannot be complete without Avial. It is a coconut based dish made with lots of vegetables. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. You can use all sorts of vegetables available in the market for this dish and make it even more delicious.
Thoran: Another addition to Sadhya is Thoran. It is a dry vegetable dish made with peas, green beans, raw jackfruit, carrots and cabbage. Grated coconut is added for the flavour. This dish is packed with all the nutrient properties and have vital nutrients such as iron, vitamin, protein, fiber and anti-oxidants as well.
Payasam: This is a dessert served in two forms. One is milk based and the other is jaggery based, consumed with a plantain.
Sadhya is incomplete without the mix of pickles, different kinds of poppadum, Moru (a tangy, spiced buttermilk) and Thairu (thick curd).
Sadhya can also include non-veg items (keeping in mind other communities) such as prawn curry in coconut gravy or beef. In all, Sadhya is a combination of all the items which satisfies all your taste buds. It is not just a feast but a thali packed with the goodness of all the nutrients.
So in this festive season savour all the healthy items in the form of Sadhya and don’t forget to keep your health insurance updated. If you still do not have a health insurance for you and your family, buy one. Bajaj Allianz offers a comprehensive health insurance plans in India
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Here’s wishing all the Malayali readers a happy Onam and don’t forget to keep your health insurance up-to-date!