Vishu – Welcoming A Brand New Year The Keralite Way

Vishu aasamsakal

The scorching sun of March and the year end examinations do set the heat in Kerala. Yet, all the people ignore the stress and strain these factors put on them, awaiting for the new year – Vishu. Celebrated on April 14th or 15th every year [Medam 1st, according to Malayalam calendar], it marks the beginning of a prosperous novel year. What is more interesting, the same date is celebrated across India under various other names – Bihu of Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamin Nadu, with everyone gearing up for their traditional  Puthiya varsham.

Prosperity is the key theme behind this particular Malayalee festival and right from the beginning, all aspects of this occasion reflects the same. Delve deep into the write-up and get to know more about this festival and its celebrations….

When is Vishu This Year?

Vishu celebrated normally on April 14 of the Gregorian calendar. This day signifies as the sun’s transit to morth. As per indian astrological calculation, on that day son stays top of equator and day and night is equal

Vishu 2015 : April 2015

Vishu 2016 :April 2014

Vishu 2017:April 2015

A Tradtional Vishu Kanni Setting


Vishu Pulari marks the dawn of this auspicious day with Vishu Kani making the core of the occasion. According to traditions, one should view the kani as soon as he wakes up for good luck and prosperity. The preparations of kani starts the previous night with the senior most lady in the household arranging the following set of things in a ‘uruli’.

  1. A statue of Lord Krishna
  2. A huge mirror
  3. Cadjan leaf book
  4. Gold
  5. White cloth
  6. Rice
  7. Konna poo
  8. Jack fruit
  9. Coconut halves
  10. Yellow cucumber

These are arranged in the uruli kept in front of the mirror. The arrangement is done in such a way that when you look into the mirror, you will be able to see the reflections. The statue of Lord Krishna is adorned with a beautiful homemade ‘Thechi and tulsi’ garland. A huge ‘Nilavilakku’ is kept on the side, filled with sesame oil and five threads that will be lit. Water, sandalwood paste, and turmeric powder are also kept along with these in certain households.

The senior most male member of the family will be the one who sees the kani. The lamp is light early in the morning by the same woman who arranged the kani and she leads the way for the man, keeping his eyes closed with her hands. Once they reach in front of the kani, he opens his eyes and views the kani.

Now, all the other members of the family will see the kani, followed by which the senior male will bestow them with a token cash, called as Kaineettam. This token amount is the symbol of prosperity that is in store for the year ahead.

Vishu Celebrations

Once everyone sees the Kani, celebrations begin. People take bath and then wear new clothes. Now a days, crackers are burst in all the houses to pep up the celebrations. Akin to Onam, swings are made on the branches of trees and girls and ladies of the house enjoy swinging. Many a time, the traditional dance – Thrivathirakali – is also rendered by the ladies of house.

Gold Coins
Vishu kaineettam

People visit the temple to render their offerings and pray for a peaceful and joyous year ahead.

Vishu Sadya

VIshu sadya

Different households have different ways of celebrating Vishu, with sadya being a part of celebrations in many houses. Traditionally, in my maternal house, my grandmother used to prepare Kanji from fresh, broken rice which is used to be served with Chakka Puzhukku.

Here are a handful of tasty delights that you can try, especially if you are including  Sadya in your celebrations.

Top 5 Must Try Vishu Recipes

1. Chakka Puzhukku

Chakka Puzhukku

Jackfruit is in season and is placed as a part of Vishu kani. Most of the time, the same fruit is used for preparing this delicacy.


  1. Semi-ripe jackfruit – 3 cups, cut into fine pieces
  2. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  3. Salt – to taste
  4. Coconut – ½ cup grated
  5. Green chilies – 5 or according to taste
  6. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  7. Coconut oil – 2 tbsp

How to make:

  1. Wash the jackfruit pieces to ensure that the stickiness does not exist.
  2. Add turmeric powder and about 1/3 cup of water.
  3. Add a little salt and pressure cook for 4 whistles.
  4. Once the pressure subsides, take out, and give a quick rough mash.
  5. Place on medium to high heat, adjusting the seasoning.
  6. Meanwhile, coarsely grind grated coconut with green chilies.
  7. Mix in ground coconut to the cooked jackfruit.
  8. Add curry leaves and sprinkle coconut oil.
  9. Let the mixture come to a boil and turn off the heat.
  10. Keep it covered until served.
  11. Reheat and serve.


  1. There is yet another way you can prepare this jackfruit. It is prepared in the traditional home of my parents in law and is called as chakka curry. This variation does not call for the use of green chilies in it.

Chakka Puzhukku - Variation

Here you follow steps till 5.

Instead of grinding the coconut, roast coconut until it turns deep brown.

Mix this to the cooked jackfruit and proceed to step 8 as mentioned above.

2. Mambazha Pulissery

Mambazha Pulissery

This authentic Kerala recipe brings to you a festival of flavors. Just serve it hot along with chakka puzhukku, freshly cut mango pickle, and pappadom and rice…. Wow! Lip smacking…


  1. Whole, ripe mangoes – 6
  2. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  3. Salt – to taste
  4. Red chili powder

To grind:

  1. Coconut – 1 cup
  2. Green chilies – 7 or 8

Other Ingredients

1.Sour yogurt – 2 cups

  1. Coconut oil – 3 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  4. Red chili – 5
  5. Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp

How to make:

  1. Wash the mangoes thoroughly and make slits on the peel.
  2. Add to a large vessel and add water enough to just soak the mangoes.
  3. Add red chili powder and turmeric powder and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles.
  4. Meanwhile grind coconut with green chili and a little yogurt to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  5. Once the pressure subsides, remove the cooked mangoes from the cooker and place it on medium to high heat.
  6. Add ground coconut mixture and salt to taste.
  7. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes.
  8. Whisk yogurt until smooth and add to the boiling mixture.
  9. Let the mixture boil for a minute or two. Adjust seasoning.
  10. Turn off and keep aside.
  11. In a small frying pan, heat coconut oil until smoking.
  12. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  13. Add fenugreek seeds and red chilies and sauté until chilies turn dark brown.
  14. Add curry leaves and give a quick mix.
  15. Pour this over the Pulissery.
  16. Serve hot with rice.

3. Instant Mango Pickle

Instant Mango Pickle

I just love eating them. Freshly made and spiced with red chili powder and asafetida, this is a fabulous must try Vishu recipe.


  1. Raw mango – 2, peel roughly removed
  2. Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  3. Salt – to taste
  4. Sesame seed oil – 2 tsp
  5. Asafetida – a pinch
  6. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

How to make:

  1. Finely chop the roughly peeled mango.
  2. Transfer chopped mango into a mixing bowl or a bowl wherein you can shake and toss the mango pieces with spices.
  3. Sprinkle salt and add red chili powder to mango pieces and toss well to ensure even coating.
  4. Place a small frying pan on medium to high heat.
  5. Add sesame seed oil and heat to piping hot.
  6. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  7. Turn off and swish in a little asafetida.
  8. Pour the seasoning atop seasoned mangoes and toss well.
  9. Mango pickle is ready to be enjoyed.

4. Pal Ada Prathaman

Palada pradhaman

No sadya is complete without pradhaman and Pal Ada is the easiest among all. Now that you get instant packets in the market, you just need to simmer the ada in the milk and cook for roughly about 30 minutes. This particular recipes uses instant ada.

Ingredients :

  1. Ada – 1 ½ cup
  2. Milk – 6 cups, roughly 3 liters
  3. Sugar – 2 cups or more, adjust according to sweetness
  4. Powdered cardamom – ½ tsp
  5. Clarified butter – 1 tbsp
  6. Cashew nuts – 10, coarsely broken
  7. Golden raisins – 1 tbsp

How to make:

  1. Add ada to a vessel and add water until ada soaks. Pressure cook for about 4 to 5 whistles.
  2. Once you turn off the heat, boil milk in a large, wide mouthed, heavy bottom pan.
  1. Boil the milk until it is reduced to almost half.
  2. Add the cooked ada and sugar and simmer for about 20 minutes more so that you get the creamy consistency. Adjust the sweetness. If you are adding more sugar, simmer for a few more minutes or else you pradhaman will turn watery.
  3. In a small frying pan, heat clarified butter. Add cashews and roast until golden. Add raisins and sauté for a couple of minutes more.
  4. Sprinkle cardamom powder atop the simmered pradhaman and mix in roasted cashews and raisins.
  5. The Pal Ada pradhaman is ready to be served.

5. Pal Payasam

Pal payasam

This is yet another tasty kheer recipe that is easy to be made. Prepared by simmering broken rice in milk and flavored with cardamom powder, this is one of the authentic Kerala recipes and an inevitable dish in Sadyas. This recipe is even simpler as it is cooked under pressure cooker method.


  1. Broken rice – 1 cup
  2. Milk – 3 cups
  3. Sugar – 2 cups
  4. Powdered cardamom – ½ tsp
  5. Clarified butter – 1 tbsp
  6. Cashews – 1 tbsp, broken
  7. Raisins – 2 tsp

How to make:

  1. Wash rice thoroughly under running water and soak it in water for 60 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and add to a milk filled in a large vessel. Mix in sugar.
  3. Cover with a lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on high flame.
  4. Lower the flame and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and wait until pressure subsides.
  6. Take out and mix in cardamom powder.
  7. In a small frying pan, heat clarified butter. Add crushed cashews and roast until golden. Mix in raisins.
  8. Pour over the payasam and give a quick mix.


Vishu Greetings

Here are a couple of greetings, in Malayalam, that you can send it your near and dear ones to wish them a Happy Vishu.


Vishu wishes

Vishu greetings—post-card-l1161.html



So, how are you going to celebrate Vishu? Share your experiences with us…


Happy vishu!


Hridayam niranja vishu aasamsakal!

About nithyayogini 24 Articles
A yogini and writer by passion and by choice, I love celebrating every moment of life. A staunch believer and practitioner of Law of Attraction, I choose to dictate and design the terms of life on my own!