Onam is Kerala’s most popular festival and  Malayalam people consider it as their national festival. Onam is evolved around the mythical story of Mahabali. Each malayalee, irrespective or religion, belief and position looks forward for this occasion. Malayalees living abroad conduct lots of cultural programs to celebrate Onam in grand style. On Onam day there will be a grand feast  for lunch known as Onam sadya, and normally it will consist of lot of vegetarian items only like sambar, avial, payasams, side dishes and pickles, thorans and sweets

Onam Sadya


Above images is the traditional Onam sadya. Onam Sadya is normally served in banana leaf. Traditionally, the rice is kerala red par boiled rice known as Kerala Matta rice. Each sadya has 10 to 15 side dishes and desserts known as pradhaman (Payasams). Some of the popular payasams are ada Pradaman (Payasam made of rice ada), Parippu pradaman (payasam made out of moong dhal),etc. Below are some of the side dishes and payasams for onam sadya.

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How to Serve Onam Sadya

Onam Sadhya-1

Onam sadya is traditionally served in the end part of the banana leaf. The leaf should be laid, wider at the right side so that the person eating it with right hand can reach all the dishes in the banana leaf. Usually, sadya is laid after people sit. The side dishes are served first, then finally the matta rice. After that, dal curry is served, followed by ghee. There is a break between the meal so that people can eat rice, dal, ghee, pappadam and banana (or whatever combination they like). Then, other curry dishes like sambar, moru curry (kalan), etc. are followed. At the end of sadya, rasam and moru is served, then the Payasam, known as pradaman. People who like to enjoy the full taste of pradaman will recieve it in the banana leaf and mix it with remaining of curries and eat. Some people prefer their pradaman and other payasams to be served in a glass.

Nowadays, due to time constraint and inconvenience of getting fresh banana leaves, people use artificial or plastic coated banana leaf. In big onam celebrations, the onam sadya is readily served as the people enter the dining hall.

Pazham (Banana)


Sarkara Varatti

Source : Sarkara Varatti

Nurukku Upperi


1. Rice:


Rice is normally made out of Kerala Matta rice. Kerala Matta rice is parboiled rice with partially cleaned barn. This gives the rice little bit of reddish colour.

image Courtesy : http://www.fondecranhd.net/repas-kerala/

2. Dhal or Kerala Parippu Curry:


Dhal is normally served as the first item in any sadhya. It is then followed by ghee. People eat this dish by mixing dhal, ghee and pappadam together.  You can try this dal curry prepared by swapna for this onam

3. Avial


Avial is a traditional mixed vegetable curry originated in kerala. Any kind of vegetable is used, except onion. It is made by using a mixture of vegetable, coconut and curd. The avial is seasoned with curry leaves and coconut oil to add taste. It is one of the must-served dishes in Sadya. If you are planning to make a mouthwatering avial for this onam, here’s the Avial recipe you want to try.

4.Kootu Curry

koottu curry

Kootu curry or touch curry is another traditional dish of kerala. It is made of black chick pea, raw plantain, yam and red chilly with grated coconut.  There are two types of Kootu Curry, the Malabar style and Trivandrum style. You can find the malabar style kootu curry recipe here. The trivandrum style kootu curry is generally known vada kootu curry. You can find swapnan’s vada kootu curry recipe here.

Mambazha Pulissery


5. Sambar


Sambar is one of the popular dishes all over India. However, the way it is cooked varied from regions to regions. In gujarat, Sambar is usually sweet whereas in Kerala sambar is mixed with ground fried coconut. While tamil people make onion sambar, ayers don’t use onion at all. This Onam, you can try cooking your own Sambar using Smitha’s sambar recipe.

6. Inji Curry


Inji curry, inji pully or pulli curry is another special dish in kerala.  You can’t just find it anywhere. It  also has two variation, malabar (pulli curry) and travancoore (Inji pulli or inji curry). I love Malabar inchi curry known as pulli curry. If you are planning to cook inji curry for this onam, You may try Anuprasannan’s inji curry recipe.

7. Moru Curry or Kalan or Pulliseery


Moru curry or Butter milk Curry is another Kerala special that  is made by one of the vegetable like winter melon, butter milk and coconut. Other vegetables like raw plantains, cucumber or yam can also be used. However, there is more special variations available in southern Kerala known as Pinapple pulliserry, mambazha pulliserry etc. That is a real delicacy because of their fine mixture of sweetness and bitterness.

If you are planing to make a special onam sadya with mampazha pulliserry, I suggest this swapna’s mampazha pulliserry recipe. But if you want to make simple moru curry or pulliserry, I then recommend  Swapna’s kumbalanga moru curry recipe.

8. Olan


Olan is another special delicacy from Kerala. It is one of the wonderful dishes and once you got the taste of it, you will never leave this curry from your dining table. It is made out of Ash gourd (Kumbalanga) and black eyed beans (valiya payar) in coconut milk. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaf. If you are looking for recipe of Olan, I suggest you to try this olan recipe.



Pachadi is another special Kerala sadya dish made out of vegetables, ground fresh coconut and thick curd. Vegetables like cucumber, winter melon, bottle gourd, pineapples or beetroot are finely chopped and boiled. In onam sadya, Pachadi is usually made of winter melon or cucumber. If you’re looking for pachadi recipe, you may want to try Swapna’s Kumbelanga pachadi recipe.

10. Kabage thoran


Here’s another side dish for Onam sadya. You can find a recipe of cabage thoran recipe here.

11. Mezhuku Purati

It is made by cooking long snake beans and coconut oil. Just add water and that’s it. Here’s one good recipe of Mezhuku Purati, courtesy of Archana.

You can find lots of other side dishes. But one should not neglect desserts of payasam. People usually call these payasams as Pradaman.

Vendakka Mezhukkupuratti



12 Ada Pradaman


Cheru Parippu Pradhaman

parippu-payasamRecipe:  http://mareenasrecipecollections.com

14. Semya Payasam


Recipe: http://recipes.snydle.com/semiya-payasam-recipe.html

Ready to Eat Dishes


You can buy this dish in almost all shops in Kerala that sell payasams and ingredients.

16. Kaya Varuthathu or Banana Chips


You can buy this from any Indian Shop.


Another image of Onam Sadya

image Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/georgeaugustine/7969908980/sizes/l

onam sadya
onam sadya

image Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/georgeaugustine/7969908980/sizes/l

Another Wonderful Onam Sadya

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