Bring the Flavours of Onam Sadhya to Your Kitchen! List of 10 Onam Sadhya Dishes Which Are As Easy to Make As They Are Delicious to Eat (2019)

Bring the Flavours of Onam Sadhya to Your Kitchen! List of 10 Onam Sadhya Dishes Which Are As Easy to Make As They Are Delicious to Eat (2019)

Celebrated every year around the months of August-September, Onam is the harvesting festival of the Indian state Kerala. Onam Sadhya is a traditional meal covering tens of dishes which is usually served on banana leaves. We bring a complete guide for preparing your own Onam Sadhya meal.

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The Mouth-Watering Onam Sadhya

Onam Sadhya is a feast that you must try at least once in a lifetime. Clad in traditions and culture, this feast speaks of brotherhood and love. The Onam Sadhya is not only sought after for its delicious dishes but also because it is immensely healthy for the body. Each meal is a medicine in itself.

The Story of Onam

Kerala was once ruled by an Asura king. Unlike the reputation usually goes, this king was generous, judicious, and wise. During his reign, there was no poverty; not one soul knew hunger, no crimes, no corruption, and no discrimination. One and all lived a life of prosperity and undying happiness. The land knew no unlawfulness and disease; it was indeed god’s own country, ruled by an Asura. The popularity and love of this dear king spread in every direction. He was loved deeply by his people. And the king was none other than King Mahabali, a true Lord Vishnu devotee.

As his reign gained popularity, the gods feared his supremacy and became extremely jealous. Feeling threatened, the gods together strategized to get rid of this noble king. This is when, to solve the dilemma of the gods, Aditi, the mother of gods, approached Lord Vishnu with the matter. Lord Vishnu decides to test King Mahabali and takes up the form of a poor brahmin, Vamanan and asks the king for a piece of land. The king being generous asks the brahmin to take up whatever land he needed. Vamanan grows into size beyond comprehension and covers the earth and skies in the first two steps. For taking the third step, and to keep his word, king Mahabali bends his head in front of the brahmin and is sent to the nether world.

Lord Vishnu, impressed by the nobility of the king, asks him for any boon, and the king asks for permission to visit his people in Kerala every year. And it is in the memory of King Mahabali, that Onam is celebrated. Today, it is marked with flowers, delectable food, decorations, and new clothes. Reminiscing the old reign of the king, and showing him that his people are still happy. A lovely tradition, isn’t it?

The Mallu Banquet

A typical Sadhya has around 24-26 dishes, and this could go up to 64 on a special Sadhya such as the Aranmula Sadhya. The greatest attraction would be that each recipe in Onam Sadhya is vegetarian. Everything is cooked in traditional ways with a generous amount of coconut and coconut oil. Most of the vegetables used in each dish are repeated, and hence it may appear that each dish will taste the same. No! Each dish tastes different and is made in such a way that each taste bud is addressed.

The Long List of Onam Dishes

Upperi: Everyone's favourite; the crispy yellow banana chips made in coconut oil. The huge Sadhya begins with a handful of these to munch on.
Sharkkara Varatti: The even sweeter version of banana chips. Coated with jaggery, in bite-sized chunks, this yummy snack will keep you hooked.
Poovan Pazham: The smaller, sweeter Mallu version of a banana. Mash this bad boy into your payasam, and you will never return to having payasam in a glass. This would be a revelation on many levels.
Pappadam: Crunchy pappadam fried in coconut oil, is an inevitable component in any Sadhya. Crush it into parippu with a little ghee and gobble up. And a lesser-known combination is pappadam with ada pradhaman and pazham.
Manga Curry: The Kerala style old school mango pickle, with a myriad of spices. Tangy, flavourful, fragrant, and mouth-watering.
Naranga Curry: A Sadhya can never be complete with one pickle. The sour and spice from the lemon pickle are a must-have! Don’t just restrict it for rice, but take a lick in between while having your payasam.
Inji Curry: The first thing made during the early days of Onam. A godsend blend of ginger, tamarind, and jaggery. Each flavour stands out in an inji curry and pops on your tongue like nothing else.
Inji Thairu: The Onam Sadhya is not just any feast but is also medicinal. Inji Thairu soothes digestion and is extremely good for the gut. Thinly sliced ginger in curd, prepared with the right spices. Tasty and healthy.
Choru: These are not just any rice, but red rice loved by every Malayali. It is the perfect companion for all these accompaniments.
Parippu Curry: Kerala style moong dal tempered with dry red chillies, mustard and curry leaves. Start the Sadhya by pouring a little parippu over the rice, crush the pappadam, and add a dash of ghee. Heaven!
Neyyu: Good old cow’s milk ghee is mandatory in a Sadhya. Pour a splash or as generously as you want over steaming rice. The aroma will keep you hooked.
Aviyal: A mixture of all vegetables, slow-cooked in its juices; topped with spiced coconut and tempered with coconut oil. This dish is extremely flavourful and healthy, also a favourite of fitness freaks.
Thoran: A recipe that can be made from any vegetable; cook with some coconut, turmeric and tempered oil, mustard, and red chillies. It is commonly made with carrot, cabbage or French beans. It is a mallu household staple.
Koottu curry: A dry curry made with black chickpeas and plantains. Well cooked with coconut and spiced. Healthy goodness that is easy to make.
Chena Mezhukkupuratty: Mezhukkupuratty has a separate fanbase of its own. Thinly cut yam cooked just right and fried in oil and spiced up perfectly. A great combination with pulisseri.
Erissery: A flavourful dish made with pumpkin, black beans and lots of coconuts. Again, tempered with coconut oil, dry red chillies, mustard, and crushed curry leaves. Extremely healthy and useful for increasing blood count.
Kichadi: Spicy yogurt curry, a dish served in a small plop. It can be made with any desired vegetable. Cucumber, okra or bitter gourd! It always ends up delicious.
Kaalan: Another yogurt dish made of yam, plantains and lots of coconut.
Olan: A delicious meal prepared with the otherwise not so favourite ash gourd. It has a generous amount of hand-pressed fresh coconut milk and red beans.
Pachadi: Delicious yogurt-based curry, made on a slightly sweeter side made of pineapple, beetroot or even bitter gourd. You will, for sure end up making this way more often.
Sambar: The gorgeous blend of lentils and healthy vegetables spiced just right. A typical south Indian Sadhya is incomplete without sambar, and why would it be? It's lip-smacking goodness!
Rasam: Spicy, flavourful curry made with tomatoes, tamarind, coriander, and curry leaves. Extremely healthy and aromatic.
Pulissery: Sour, yellow-coloured spiced yogurt curry. Tempered in coconut oil and red chillies.
Moru: Spicy buttermilk made with ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Served at the end of the meal to aid digestion.
Paalada Pradhaman: Sweet dish made with milk, rice ada, sugar, dry fruits, and cashews. Popularly made with vermicelli in Kerala.
Ada Pradhaman: A similar dish as paalada pradhaman, but is thicker, and sugar is replaced with a much healthier version, jaggery.

Our Secret Onam Sadhya Tips

Preparing an Onam Sadhya is not an easy task. Lots of dishes require a lot of work and preparation. Hence, for helping you, we have provided here some secret tips and tricks. This will make things much easier for you.

Keep the Veggies Ready

Onam Sadhya is a feast entirely based on vegetables, and the best part is that the same vegetables form a part of multiple dishes. So, the first thing you must do is make a list of the dishes you will be going to make. Once the list is made, make a comprehensive list of each vegetable, on how much you will need on the whole.

Peel and clean the vegetables the evening before you make the feast. This would save you a lot of time cooking. For dishes where the veggies have to be cut into smaller pieces, chop, and store in airtight containers in the fridge. For recipes like avial and sambar, chopping and storing the vegetables in water would suffice. This would also prevent blackening of veggies until cooking time. Now for the pro tip, lather your hand with cooking oil before you cut yam. This would prevent itching to a great extent.

Choose the Right Masalas

The masalas determine the taste and quality of the food. Make sure you use south Indian masalas to get the real and authentic south Indian taste. Turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, fenugreek, cumin, tamarind, and asafoetida are irreplaceable, so make sure you stock them before you start cooking. And for sambar, we suggest you get a leading sambar masala powder from a store. It is a tad bit difficult to recreate the taste.

Stick to Traditional Recipes & Ingredients

Onam Sadhya is a traditional feast, and it is best if you stick to traditional recipes. You will find lots of recipes on the internet that are modern-day twists to age-old recipes. We urge you to go for the most authentic ones, as those are the recipes that you should really try. They are sure to take you to gastronomical heaven.

Plan & Start Early

Sleep early the day before, and make sure you have an early rise. Preparing and plating these many dishes is not an easy task. Keep everything, including the masalas and vegetables ready. Take out the required utensils and make sure to have everything within your hand’s reach before you start. Also, plan on the cooking time, and start preparing those dishes first which take the longest to prepare, such as sambar.

10 Dishes You Can Prepare on Onam

Now you already know, a Sadhya is a beautiful cluster of so many dishes and flavours, but there are a few out of the slot without which the Sadhya lacks soul. These are the dishes that make or break the Sadhya. A Sadhya would most definitely seem incomplete without them. Here we give you the recipes of these dishes, the spine of the Onam Sadhya. Even with just these dishes, you will have a soul drenching delicious feast!


1. Moong dal : 1 cup
2. Grated Coconut : ½ cup
3. Cumin : ½ teaspoon
4. Shallots : 3 (large)
5. Green Chillies : 3-4
6. Turmeric Powder : ¼ teaspoon
7. Ghee /Coconut oil : 2 teaspoon
8. Mustard Seeds : ¼ Teaspoon
9. Dried Red Chilli : 2 (broken into two pieces)
10. Curry Leaves : Two sprigs
11. Water : As required
12. Salt : To taste

1. In a pressure cooker, cook the moong dal by adding enough water and salt. Once cooked, mash the dal well and add more hot water if necessary, to give a curry-like consistency.
2. While cooking the dal, grind the coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds, and turmeric powder together.
3. Add the grinded mixture to the mashed dal and bring to a boil. Add salt if needed.
4. For tempering, heat coconut oil/ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and dry red chilli. Sauté the mixture, till the onion becomes golden brown and fragrant. Pour the piping hot mixture over cooked dal/ parippu curry.
5. Serve hot with rice, ghee and pappadam.


Vegetables Required
1. Plantain
2. Carrots
3. Yam
4. Madras Cucumber
5. Drumsticks
6. Pumpkin
7. Ash Gourd
8. Ivy Gourd
9. Snake Gourd
10. Green Beans
11. Okra
12. Tomatoes

1. Grated Coconut : 1 Cup
2. Coconut Oil : 1-2 Tablespoon
3. Green Chillies : 3-4 nos
4. Cumin : 1 Teaspoon
5. Fresh Curd : 1 cup
6. Curry leaves : 3 sprigs
7. Water : As required
8. Salt : To taste

1. Chop vegetables in long thick batons and keep ready along with beaten curd.
2. Add the vegetables that take longer while to cook in a pan, add some water; just enough to cook and add salt and a dash of turmeric powder.
3. Once these vegetables are half cooked, add the remaining vegetables and repeat the same, and add hot water if necessary, for cooking. Cook on simmer till all vegetables are cooked properly.
4. Take the grated coconut, green chillies, cumin, and grind to form a thick, coarse paste. Add a little water if necessary.
5. Add this paste to the cooked vegetables, and mix gently so as not to mash the vegetable. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
6. Once this is done, lower the flame and add the whisked curd and cook for another minute.
7. To this add two spoons of coconut oil and add curry leave sprigs to infuse the flavour.
8. Enjoy the healthy avial with rice, sambar, and pappadam.



1. Pumpkin : 2 cups-diced
2. Green gram : ½ cup
3. Garlic : 1 ½ Teaspoon minced
4. Turmeric : ½ Teaspoon
5. Coconut : ¾ cup grated
6. Green chilies : 2-3 nos
7. Cumin seeds : ½ Teaspoon
8. Oil : 2 Tablespoon
9. Mustard seeds : 1 Teaspoon
10. Shallots : 1 large (finely chopped)
11. Dried red chilies : 2 (broken into small pieces)
12. Grated coconut : 2 Tablespoon
13. Curry leaves : 1 sprig
14. Salt : To taste

1. Take the diced pumpkin, green gram and minced garlic in a pressure cooker. Add enough water, salt and turmeric powder. Pressure cook till 5-6 whistles. Once done, mash the pumpkin using a large spoon and set aside.
2. During this, take the grated coconut, green chilies, and cumin seeds together, and grind to a coarse paste. Add water if needed. Set aside.
3. Transfer the mashed pumpkin to a large pan over medium-high heat and add the mixture to it. Stir well and cook cover for 3-4 minutes. Add boiling water, if too thick. Remove from flame.
4. For tempering, heat coconut oil/ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and dry red chilli. Sauté the mixture, till the onion becomes golden brown and fragrant. Pour the piping hot mixture over cooked pumpkin erissery.
5. Mix well and serve hot with rice.


Vegetables Required
1. Shallots
2. Tomatoes
3. Okras
4. Drumsticks
5. French Beans
6. Carrots
7. Golden Pumpkin
8. Brinjal
9. Yellow Cucumber
10. Yam
11. Potatoes
12. Green Chilli
13. Tomatoes
14. Onion

1. Toor Dal : 3/4 Cup
2. Tamarind : 2 Tablespoon
3. Coriander leaves : 1/4 Cup (chopped with tender stalks)
4. Turmeric : 1/8 Teaspoon
5. Red Chillies : 4-5 nos
6. Ghee/Oil : 2 Teaspoon
7. Curry Leaves : 1 sprig
8. Cumin : 1/2 Teaspoon
9. Mustard Seeds : 1/2 Teaspoon
10. Fenugreek Seeds : 1 pinch
11. Asafoetida : 2 pinches
12. Salt : To taste

1. Soak 1/2 tablespoon of tamarind in around 3 tablespoons of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Mash it with your fingers and strain the solids.
2. Add the toor dal, turmeric powder and 1 cup water in a 3-4 litres capacity pressure cooker. Add in the mixed vegetables inside the pressure cooker and close the cooker lid. Pressure cook over medium flame for 3-4 whistles.
3. Turn off the flame and allow it to stand until the pressure comes down. Open the lid, and mash the dal and vegetables using a spatula.
4. Heat one tablespoon oil in a kadhai over medium flame and add mustard seeds. When the mustard starts to splutter, add curry leaves, dry red chilies, asafoetida, and sauté for 10-15 seconds.
5. Add the chopped onion to the kadhai and sauté until onion turns transparent. To this add tamarind juice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Once done, add chopped tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes turn soft.
7. To this add the Sambar Powder, stir and cook for a minute.
8. Add the cooked and mashed dal, boiled vegetables and 1½ cups water with the required amount of salt.
9. Mix well and boil until the mixture turns frothy and turn off flame.
10. Transfer hot and spicy Sambar into a serving bowl and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.


1. Red chili : 2 dry
2. Mustard seeds : 1 teaspoon
3. Yoghurt (curd) : 1 cup beaten
4. Cucumber : 2 medium (grated)
5. Green Chilli : 1 1/2 Teaspoon (chopped)
6. Grated coconut : 1/3 cup
7. Cumin seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
8. Coconut oil : 1 1/2 tablespoon
9. Curry leaves : 1 sprig
10. Water : as required
11. Salt : to taste

1. Grind coconut, cumin seeds, and green chilies into a fine paste.
2. Grate or finely chop the cucumber and add some salt to it. To this, add the earlier prepared paste of coconut along with the curd and mix well.
3. For tempering, heat coconut oil/ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and dry red chilli. Sauté the mixture, till the onion becomes golden brown and fragrant. Pour the piping hot mixture over the prepared cucumber mixture. Your pachadi is ready.

Inji Curry

1. Ginger chopped : 3/4 cup
2. Tamarind : 3/4 cup
3. Jaggery powdered : 3/4 cup
4. Chilli powder : 1/3 cup
5. Garlic cloves : 5-6 sliced
6. Urad dal : 1/2 teaspoon
7. Cumin seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
8. Mustard seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
9. Asafoetida : a large pinch
10. Fenugreek powder: a large pinch
11. Salt : 1/3 cup
12. Red dry chillies : 2 nos
13. Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
14. Oil : 3/4 cup

1. Finely chop fresh ginger and keep ready. Also, warm up chilli powder on low flame in a pan and keep aside.
2. In the same pan, heat oil and sauté the ginger till it becomes soft and loses the raw smell. Let it cool.
3. Boil the tamarind in the same pan in a cup of water. Skim off the impurities from the top and simmer till it starts to thicken. Keep aside and let cool.
4. Once the mixture is cool, add it to a blender and make a smooth paste of chilli powder, salt, ginger, jaggery, asafoetida, and fenugreek powder. Add water slightly to make the paste.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds, dry red chillies, with cumin seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves. Sauté the sliced garlic cloves and put off the flame.
6. Slowly add the tempered spices to the ginger mixture, and inji curry is ready to be served.


1. Pepper powder : 2 tablespoon
2. Turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon
3. Coconut : 1 cup
4. Cumin seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
5. Green chillies : 3-4 nos
6. Curd : 1/2 litre
7. Yam : 1 cup (chopped)
8. Curry leaves : 3 sprigs
9. Ghee : 1 tablespoon
10. fenugreek powder : 1/2 teaspoon
11. Butter : 1 teaspoon
12. Coconut oil : 1 tablespoon
13. Mustard seeds : 1 teaspoon
14. Dry red chilli : 1-2 nos
15. Salt : to taste

1. Mix pepper powder and turmeric powder in water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Also, whisk the curd till smooth and keep aside.
2. Grind coconut, green chilli and cumin seeds to a very fine, smooth paste.
3. Strain the pepper turmeric water into a pan and bring to a boil for 2 minutes on high flame and add a cup of chopped yam.
4. Add more water if needed for the yam to get cooked. Once done, put off the flame and add ghee, salt, and whisked curd.
5. Put on flame and stir continuously for 5 minutes until it thickens.
6. Mix the coconut paste, with fenugreek powder and salt and stir well.
7. When it is heated, put off the flame and add fresh butter and stir once.
8. For tempering, heat coconut oil/ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and dry red chilli. Sauté the mixture till the onion becomes golden brown and fragrant. Pour the piping hot mixture over the prepared Kalan and close immediately to let it sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to set it.

Kootu Curry

1. Black chickpeas : 1 cup
2. Water : 1½ cup + as required
3. Raw plantain : 1 medium sized (cut into cubes)
4. Yam : 1 cup (cubed)
5. Chilli powder : 1 teaspoon
6. Turmeric powder : ½ teaspoon
7. Grated coconut : ½ cup + ½ cup
8. Cumin seeds : ½ teaspoon
9. Pepper powder : 1 tablespoon
10. Jaggery : 1 tablespoon
11. Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
12. Dry red chilies : 2-3 nos
13. Mustard seeds : 1 teaspoon
14. Coconut oil : as required
15. Salt : to taste

1. Soak black chickpeas overnight and pressure cook it with water and a pinch of salt for 3 whistles. Drain and keep the water.
2. Grind coconut with cumin seeds to form a coarse paste.
3. In a pan, add the above-drained water, vegetables, turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt and cook on a medium flame.
4. Mash the cooked vegetables slightly with a spoon and add the cooked black chickpeas and the coconut paste. Stir well and continue cooking till the coconut cooks.
5. Add pepper powder and jaggery to the pan and check for the seasoning. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and switch off the flame.
6. For tempering, heat coconut oil/ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and dry red chilli. Sauté the mixture, and add grated coconut till the onion and coconut become golden brown and fragrant.
7. Pour this over the cooked chickpea veggies, and your Kootu Curry is ready to be served with rice and parippu!

Ada Pradhaman


1. Rice ada : 1/2 cup
2. Jaggery : 1 1/4 cup
3. Thin coconut milk : 1 1/4 cup
4. Thick coconut milk: 1/2 cup
5. Coconut bits : 2 tablespoon (thin slices)
6. Cashew nuts : 5-10 nos
7. Raisins : 2-3 tablespoon
8. Cardamom : 1/4 teaspoon
9. Ghee : 1-2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon

1. Dissolve jaggery in half cup of water and remove impurities if any.
2. Heat ghee and fry the cashew nuts, raisins, and coconut pieces. Set aside.
3. In a pan, heat more ghee and fry the ada in medium or low flame.
4. Add the jaggery water to the ada and cook in medium flame until it thickens. On thickening, add the thin coconut milk and cook on medium flame until it thickens again.
5. Once it thickens, add the thick coconut milk and fried dry fruits, nuts and coconut with cardamom. Stir well and switch off the flame. Do not cook further. The pradhaman can be served hot or cold.


1. Buttermilk /Curd : 1 litre
2. Water : 1 cup
3. Coconut grated : 3/4 cups
4. Garlic : 2 cloves
5. Green chilli : 2 -3 nos
6. Turmeric powder : 1/4 teaspoon
7. Cumin seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
8. Oil : 2 tablespoon
9. Dry red chilli : 3 nos
10. Ginger chopped : 1/2 teaspoon
11. Mustard seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
12. Fenugreek seeds : 2 pinches
13. Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
14. Chilli powder : 1 pinch
15. Fenugreek powder: 1 pinch

1. Grind all the ingredients together to make a fine paste. Also, churn the curd into buttermilk.
2. In a kadhai add ground mixture along with 1/2 glass of water and bring to boil for five minutes. To the mixture add buttermilk, seasoning, and salt. Do not boil, but simply heat for a few minutes. Your pulisseri is ready to be served.

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Cooking is All About Experiment

Maybe this year, bring about some slight and delicious changes to the Onam Sadhya meal. Try out various spices and recipes for different dishes and experiment till you've prepared the best Onam Sadhya your family has ever had!