My journal of foood musings and eating memoirs
Onam is around the corner and I am thinking about Sadya and Ente Keralam.Onam is the annual harvest festival of Kerala that has been celebrated for centuries.It features elaborate events but one followed by all Malayalees is the Onam Sadya or ‘Onasadya’. That’s what I am here to talk about.
Onasadya is the scrumptious feast of Onam.This is one of those foods that I eat heartily even in the absence of meat. Onasadya is strictly a vegetarian feast and must be eaten by hand. The meal is served on a banana leaf and consists of rice with a variety (around 11) of curries and dishes made of vegetables. These are some of the regulars..
Erissery & Kalan , stir fry of raw banana and yams.
Olan, Pumpkin and French beans cooked in green chilies and salt and tempered.
Avial , a mixed vegetable curry.
Thoran, a stir fry of green beans, cabbage or beetroot.
What’s common to these is the tempering with mustard seeds in coconut oil. These dishes are made with different vegetables depending on the region or merely what you want.
Then you have the dal, sambar, rasam, moru (spiced butter milk), pachadi, khacidi, Upperi (Jaggery coated or regular banana chips), pappadam (round lentil crisp), pickle and pradhaman (pudding).Phew! Elaborate stuff and there could be more.
The food is laid in a particular order. Served beginning from the left with deep-fried dishes, followed by pickles, then stir fries, then curries and then comes the rice. There is even an order to eat. First, you eat the rice with parippu (dal) and neyyu (ghee) then rice with sambar then the rice with rasam. After this two kinds of pudding / payasam or pradhaman are served. Finally, the rice is served with moru, spiced buttermilk. Most people stop at the pudding but you need to eat the moru to aid digestion after the heavy meal. Also, manage to fit the various curries and stir fries in between. That’s the basic drill.
My craving for Kerala food is satisfied at Ente Keralam.You will for sure find the Onasadya there, which is worth a try. However, when I think of Ente Keralam I think of their Alleypy meen curry or Alleypy fish curry, to which I am a slave. Go to Ente Keralam and that’s what I order. A curry made with seer fish, raw mangos, chillies and coconut milk. I love it! Eat this with appams (rice pancakes) or idiappam (string hoppers). It is very delicious and I have never been disappointed. Another one of my must eat is the “Malabar Konch porichathu”, prawns marinated with spices and deep fried. Not the famous Kerala dishes but the very good stuff. The payasams are yum too.
Ente Keralam is all about traditional kerala cusine.You will find most of the well-known Kerala dishes like appam and stew, puttu and curry, Thalaserri biryani , Karimeen Pollichathu and Syrian beef , to name a few. The décor at the restaurant is pretty and not over the top. The nettipattam on the wall, tables adorned with small models of Chinese fishing nets, which happens to be the logo of the restaurant, banana chips, the TV with a Malayalam channel running, and the staff dressed in traditional Keralite attire, it is very Kerala.Ente Keralam is the perfect place to visit if you are looking to experience the culinary delights of Kerala. If you are home bound this Onam try making the Onasadya yourself, at least some of it if not the whole feast.
Here’s an Avial recipe found in one of my mom’s food diaries. A simple dish with the flavors of Kerala.
Avial for 4
Avial goes well with Rice or Roti.