Sunday, September 11, 2011

Onam Sadya Vibhavangal: Kerala Onam Feast

Last week was Onam. It was small, quiet, reflective with a hangover from our recent visit to India. Visions of home and 'plenty' by way of benana leaves [:-)!], traditional flowers, the mud Mahadevar/ Maathoru, the traditional rice paste motifs on the nadumittam /central courtyard of grandparents home and the food made at home always permeate this occasion here.

Memories of our childhood were of large Uthradom feasts. Kerala's feudal past is integral in these memories and it comes from the privileged end of the spectrum. The Uthradom feast was made by traditional cooks in the outdoor cooking fires. According to South Malabar's/ Valluvanad's feudal, landowning tradition and accounts, new cloth, money, and  a certain amount of paddy was measured out to the tenants and families who had toiled for generations under that particular landlord's family.  


Certain dishes were made only on occasion and never as and when one wants! The ten days of this harvest festival, where paddy was the backbone of the feudal economy, were busy with the preparations of different sweet meats, and savoury snacks  culminating in the grand feast.
As our last year's Onam Sadya, our benana leaf  was the melamine plate. For Uthradom, we had a simple Paal Payasam, as served at my maternal grandparents. For ThiruOnam, jaggery stewed plantains replaced the payasam, as was the tradition in my paternal grandparents home. Did not make Mulaga Pacchadi this time nor the Sharkkara Upperi or Varutha Upperi.

In our particular part of South Malabar, Uthradom Sadya   had all the traditional items. ThiruOnam was quieter, early in the day, with only a few fresh dishes made by the women of the family. It was also the day for one of the annual visits to one's maiden home.
ThiruOnam feast served on our melamine, benana-leaf: Kaalan, Olan [made with winter melon and raw pumpkin here], Avial/Aviyal, Erisseri, cooked Tuvar Dal/split Pigeon Peas, fresh Ghee/clarified butter, fried jackfruit chips from India, Olvakkode banana chips [ the famous chips from the Palakkad area], jaggery-stewed ripe plantains, Pappadums,  Lemon Acchar [ in lieu of Vadukkapuli Naranga Acchar/ Wild Lemon Acchar, Varuthuaracha SambharPalakkadan Matta Rice on one day and white rice on the other.
Aviyal/Avial and Olan
Olan
Kaalan

Our Uthradom Feast
Instead of Sambhar, we had Moru Curry/ Moru Kootan/ Buttermilk CurryDishes on the melamine plate was served to lamp. This is how we had ours! :-)
Tender Winter Melon growing over the cowshed at our Uncle's ancestral home
Bags of un-husked coconuts  piled up at the Pathaya-pura/Granary one of the few that has survived.The de-husking implement in the foreground.
Tender winter melon, yellow cucumber,  tender pumpkins, raw plantains are in the season during this time  and were traditional 'kayzhchha veppu'/ offerings given to the landlord. 

36 comments:

  1. Woww incredible and inviting feast..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Nisha, Premalatha, Priya and HChandana!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mon Dieu que c'est beau.
    Toute cette préparation est magnifique.
    A très bientôt.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Adipoli onasadya, a plate kollam.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a beautiful post...the food looks wondrous! The buttermilk curry sounds so interest, would love to try it :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Delicious spread. Loved that melamine look alike of the vazhayila

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thankyou Jayasree, Magic of Spice!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi , first time here.U have a nice blog. I love to that platter. it looks and sounds yummy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Delicious spread,looks so inviting..

    ReplyDelete
  10. beautiful presentation delicious looking dishes

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi...first time on your blog...You have a nice space...This spread looks so inviting...Happy to join you dear...Would love if you join me too at http://muchmorethanahomemaker.blogspot.com/
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is always around festivals and feasts that a big bout of nostalgia sets in. You have taken me down your memory lane.....feels so real to me, a non-keralite.
    Sadhya on a melamine banana leaf leaves me craving for some good food.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thankyou Toreview Toronto, Neha and Lata.
    Yes, the coming months are going to be of mixed feelings with all the festivals lined up!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's a wonderful spread. Hope you had a wonderful Onam.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very nice n colorful festive spread!
    USMasala

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lovely and delicious spread ..last two picture of your uncle's native village with piles of coconut and then winter melon growing on rooftop made me really nostalgic..lovely post ..hugs and smiles

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks dear for dropping by. The spread looks delicious and tempting. Beautiful clicks. Glad to follow you.
    Do drop in by my events page www.sarafoodevents.blogspot.com and spread about your event.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow! Lovely feast, wish I could have this now.

    ReplyDelete
  19. belated onam wishes..lovely feast!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks Saraswathi, Mymoonah, Arthi; wish you a very happy belated Onam too!

    ReplyDelete
  21. You truly feature incredible dishes here!
    Love your blog

    ReplyDelete
  22. what a lovely post! I was drooling looking at the kaalan. Hope someone was there to feed me. My mom in law looks awesome palakkad iyar food...well, for now i just have to do with looking at ur sadya spread.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am not a keralite, I would not even comprehend some dishes here.. but its got me drooling tho.. I am going to try all these dishes one by one every week - try preparing that is. here did u buy that melamine leaf plate by the way.. it looks innncccredible!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks! :-)
    For Anonymous: the melamine plates were a seasonal summer product of Macys. Other such stores also carry ceramic server plates off and on. You might also find these on restaurant equipment and supplies online stores. Hope you like the dishes!:-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I did like the dishes.. as I said I will be trying one dish each week and this week it is kaalan. and your banana leaf pic is worth framing and displaying in the kitchen.. awwwwwwwwwwessssssome!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your valuable feedback!