Savour the essence of Onam with 26 items on a 'Sadhya'

Savour the essence of Onam with 26 items on a 'Sadhya'

Onam is marked by the harvest season of the standing crops, this joyful festival began on August 20 and will culiminate on August 31 spending 10 days.

Onam Festival, which celebrates the legendary King Mahabali's return home, is one of the most important festivals in Kerala. The festival is an amalgamation of celebrations that spans 10 days and this year, it will be celebrated from August 20 and will conclude on August 31.

Kerala's auspicious rice harvest festival is just around the corner. The first month of the Malayalam calendar falls on Chingam. Onam, which celebrates the legendary King Mahabali, is marked by decorating homes, making rangolis, wearing new clothing, greeting loved ones, and cooking an extravagant feast known as Onam Sadhya.

Onam is characterized by a variety of customs, including Pookkalam (a carpet of flowers painted on the outside of homes), Onakalikal (festival games), Vallamkali (boat races), and Pulikali (a painting with players dressed as tigers and hunters) and archery. In addition to this, food, particularly Onam Sadhya or Onasadhya, is a crucial component of the festivities.

Traditions of Onam Sadhya

Onam is celebrated through a variety of rituals and traditions such as Pookkalam (a floral pattern painted on the exterior of homes), Onakalikal (festival games), Vallamkali (boat races), Pulikali (a tableau including actors dressed as tigers and hunters), and archery. Food is another important aspect of the celebrations, especially Onam Sadhya or Onasadhya. Eating is done with the hands while the food is placed on a banana leaf that has been spread out on the ground. It is an expression of equality and humility.

In Malayalam, the word "sadhya," which means "feast," refers to an elaborate feast. Each family member must make contributions to the Onam Sadhya or Onasadhya preparations. 

More than 60 ingredients are typically used to make it, which includes 26 distinct delicious curries, fried veggies, sweet dishes, and other foods. The meal is served on a banana leaf and is eaten by hand. Tradition is a reflection of everyone's equality and humility.

Savour the essence of Onam with 26 items on a 'Sadhya'
The larger food-science behind #Onasadya

Dishes On A Onam Sadhya


An Onam Sadhya is incomplete without the Pappadam. They are made from rice flour and are crispy in texture.


Upperi or Banana Chips are one the most beloved dishes in Sadhya. A handful of Upperi is generally served in the traditional feast.

Sharkara Varatti

Sharkara Varatti is the sweeter version of banana chips. It is deep-fried raw bananas coated in jaggery syrup and flavoured with cardamom, cumin and dry ginger.

Inji Curry

Inji curry is made from ginger, tamarind and jaggery. This is one of the first dishes prepared in Malayali households in the days leading to Thiruvonam.

Mango Curry

This mango dish adds a spicy kick to the Sadhya. It is made with raw mango and coconut milk.

Naranga Curry

Naranga Curry is a sour lemon pickle that adds some zest to the grand meal.


Pachadi is another yoghurt-based dish. This curry is made with either pineapple or bitter gourd and grated coconut.


Olan is made with white or ash gourd and red beans splashed with a generous amount of coconut milk.


Ellisheri is made with pumpkin, red beans, and a generous amount of grated coconut.


Avial is a mixed vegetable dish made by mixing 13 vegetables commonly found in the Western Ghats and grated coconut. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves.


Thoran can be made from any vegetable and is a staple dish in every Malayali household. Usually, it is made with cabbage and carrots or just beans with grated coconut.


Rice or Chor is an essential part of Onam Sadhya but on this occasion, most Malayalis serve red rice. If you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely should.

Parripu Curry

Parripu Curry is a preparation of plain moong dal topped with ghee, red chillies, and black sesame seeds.

Chenna Mezhkkupuratti

Chenna Mezhkkupuratti is prepared by cutting yams into thin slices. Then, it is boiled with spices and fried in coconut oil.


Sambhar is an essential dish for the grand feast, and each family has their traditional recipes. It is a lentil-based vegetable stew cooked in a tamarind broth.


Pulissery is made with curd and a vegetable of your choice, from pumpkin to cucumber. In the end, it is topped with a gracious amount of grated coconut.


This signature Onam Sadhya dish is made with yoghurt, yam or raw banana and grated coconut.

Morru Kachiyatha

Morru Kachiyatha is made by boiling yoghurt to perfection with black sesame seeds, shallots, ginger, and garlic.


Kichadi is another delicious dish from the Onam Sadhya. It is made using spicy yoghurt and any vegetable like okra, cucumber, or even bitter gourd.


Rasam is made with spicy tamarind soup, sprinkled with a generous amount of curry leaves, mustard and tomatoes. It is either eaten with rice or separately to aid in digestion.

Kootu Curry

Kootu Curry is a dry dish made with raw bananas, black chana and grated coconut.


A spoonful of Neyy, usually known as ghee in Hindi, is poured over the rice and parripu to give it an extra flavour. Onam Sadhya is incomplete without it.

Inji Thayir

Inji Thayir is a delicious dish made using ginger, yoghurt, black sesame seeds and spices.

Poovan Pazham

Poovan Pazham is a smaller version of bananas. It is enjoyed by mashing it together with Payasam. You can also add pappadam into the mix for that extra crunch.

Palada Pradhaman

Palada Pradhaman is a sweet dish made with milk, dry fruits, and rice ada. It is served in the end, as it helps in counteracting the spices.

Pazham Pradhaman

Pazham Pradhaman includes Rice ada, cashew nuts, thinly sliced coconut pieces and jaggery.

The Onam Sadhya combines a large number of regional ingredients, including coconut, jaggery, yams, and a variety of lentils, to create a feast that has a range of flavours, including sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and sour.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Indians In Gulf