Onam may be a religious festival for the Hindus of Kerala, however for the rest of us, it is all about viewing the beautiful pookalams in front of our Hindu friends’ houses, beautifully clad girls and ladies and then the highlight – the meal on the banana leaf, called the Onasadya (ഓണസദ്യ).
My memories about these sadyas during childhood is what we used to have from my uncle who was the member of the Indian Association during those times and he would get passes for all of us for the Onam celebrations. We would so excitedly wait for that day. It isn’t easy cooking up the whole meal at home, so we would wait for the day. Once the day is over, all we would want is to have a good nap, after eating all the food and drinking as much as payasam we can afford to drink. My bestie Ramya’s mother had invited me a couple of times ago to her home, and to my surprise, aunty served the sadya with a piece of fried chicken! A few of my other acquaintances told me that some houses do serve something non-veg along with their sadya, but for me, a sadya has to be only vegetarian. It is then you get a complete feel of the meal.
Another beautiful memory of an Onasadya was when I was half way pregnant with Azza. Umma was back home, so Rasha used to go to my friend Rashee’s home after her nursery classes. That year, Onam had fallen in between Ramadan and since we both were pregnant, we weren’t fasting. When I heard the ads, I called her and asked if she was ready to have a sadya. A yes, a booking and two big bags that afternoon – we hogged like crazy till we felt so full and I left from her house that day very close to Maghrib, after a very tight nap. 😀 Her daughter and Azza are just a couple of weeks apart… Somehow it feels surreal that the sadya has reminders of lovely friendships that I cherish in my life. 🙂
The later memories were then of the sadyas that HD’s friends would organize. Every family would volunteer to prepare something or the other. HD would always volunteer pappadam and order it from somewhere. Maybe he is just being sweet by taking up something that won’t take away my precious weekend. Hehe… Once I had made the Cherupayar Parippu Pradhaman and taken for the organizing team, and they really loved it. Of late, we haven’t had such get-togethers over the past couple of years, due to so many reasons and I really miss them. I feel my sister, who stays in Virginia US has eaten more sadyas than me in recent times. I must admit, I am jealous of her… 😉
I have tried to put the recipes that can go into a Sadya under this tag. However, it is not even complete, since I have never done a whole sadya myself and not so surprisingly, the majority of the recipes I have tagged are all payasams… Hehe… I have been planning to do it over the past so many years, especially during our anniversary month, since it coincides with Vishu, which is another occasion when a sadya may be eaten, but it has never happened. This time as well, when I was planning whether to do a post for Onam or not, we ended up buying a couple of packs of rice ada since we were craving some payasam. What better time to cook and post! 😉
Rice ada are dry rice sheets, cut into small peices. You will get them in large strips as well, but the small ones cook faster and hence is easier. The cooking time of them depends from brand to brand, so please follow the instructions on the pack! If there are no instructions like on the one I had used, do follow the method I had used. It works in most of the cases.
- 200 gm pack rice ada
- 350 gm jaggery melted in 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 cup semi-thin coconut milk randaam paal
- 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
- FOR TEMPERING:
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 3-4 tbsp coconut peices
- 10-15 cashew nuts
- Bring lot of water to boil. Add the rice ada into it and simmer for a couple of minutes. Switch off and allow it to sit. When you taste test, the ada will feel cooked. Drain the ada, wash it well under running water and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, add the jaggery, the spice powders, salt and the thin coconut milk and bring it to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the drained ada and mix well. Let it cook till the ada is completely done and the sauce thickens.
- Add the thick coconut milk and switch off. Do not boil at this stage. Mix well.
- For tempering, heat the ghee, fry the coconut slices. Add the cashews and as it fries, add the raisins and switch off. Toss well so that the raisins puff. Add in to the pradhaman. Enjoy warm!
I used coconut milk powder - prepare as per the instructions on the packet.
If using canned coconut milk, use one whole canned coconut milk (400 ml). Shake well and reserve 1/2 cup for the last. To the remaining, add water to make it 2 cups and use as thin coconut milk.
The color of the ada pradhaman will solely depend upon the jaggery used. Try to use the dark one (karupetti) for maximum color.