Kerala Onam Festival and Onam Sadya with Recipes

by AnithaSubramanian
Kerala Onam Sadya

Onam is an annual holiday celebration commemorating the memory of king Mahabali, whose spirit is believed to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. Mahabali is a mythological character found in Hindu texts. King Mahabali is also popularly called Maveli and Onathappan.The legend goes that jealous of King Mahabali’s reign, the Gods conspired to end his rule and he was trampled to the nether world. But Lord Vishnu granted his sole wish to visit his people once every year. However, there is an alternate legend too that holds Onam as the day on which Parasurama, again an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, created Kerala from the sea bed. Onam is also termed a harvest festival that falls on the 22nd nakshatra Tiruvonam as per the Malayalam calendar. Onam celebrations include numerous festivities ranging over a few days. Some of them are Pulikali, Vallam Kali, Pookalam, Onathallu, Onathappan, Thumbi Thullal, Kummattikali, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Onapottan, Atthachamayam and other celebrations. It is considered auspicious to prepare a traditional flower carpet or ‘Pookalam’ in front of their houses to welcome the king during the festival of Onam and mounds representing Lord Vishnu and King Mahabali are placed in their courtyards.

Apart from flower decorations and other festivities, actually the highlight of Onam is the elaborate meal termed Onam Sadhya. This is a traditional feast comprising of a variety of tasty vegetarian dishes usually served on a banana leaf. Spread out the banana leaves and get cooking some of the wonderful dishes of Onam Sadhya. Apart from flower decorations and other festivities, actually the highlight of Onam is the elaborate meal termed Onam Sadhya. It is also a ‘banquet’ or a multi course vegetarian meal that features over 24 dishes on a banana eaf. The usual items in Onam Sadhya include Kaaya Varuthathu, Chena Varuthathu, Sarkara Upperi, Lime Pickle, Mango Pickle, Puli Inji, Pachadi, Kichadi, Olan, Theeyal, Avial, Erissery, Kootu Curry, Kalan, Sambar, Rasam, Spicy Buttermilk, Papad, bananas and boiled rice. This time of the year, everyone is looking to make sure they have all the items needed for an Onam Sadhya. We have it all for you, from the tangy flavored pulissery to the yummy tempting Payasam, you can enjoy all the mouth watering dishes.

Looking for Onam Sadhya Recipes? Now, here are a few that we hope would get you started preparing your wonderful Onam Sadhya. If there is something that you are looking specifically for, reach out to us and we will definitely share those Onam Sadhya recipes in another post. You can explore a few Onam Recipes now:


Avial is a delicious blend of mixed veggies in yogurt and coconut mixture. This is a traditional dish seasoned with vegetable oil and curry leaves. Try this link here :


This is a delicious and traditional styled curd based mango curry preparation that goes well with rice. Try the link here :


Erissery is a delicious combo of black eyed beans and pumpkin in a curry base. Try the link here:


Pachadi is a traditional styled delicious curd based curry dish prepared from ripe pineapple. Try the link here :


Rasam is a spicy tangy curry preparation made from ripe tomatoes. Try the link here :


Sambar is a traditional styled and delicious combo of nutritious veggies in a curry base. Try the link here :

Puli Inji

Puli Inji is a traditional dish very delicious, spicy and tangy in flavor. The dish is prepared from ginger, jaggery and other ingredients. Try the link here :


Olan is a delicious and nutritious combo of nutritious veggies in a curry base. Try the link here :


Theeyal is a delicious blend of nutritious veggies in a roasted coconut mixture. Try the link here :


Kalan is a delicious and traditional styled curry dish prepared from plantain. Try the dish here:

Ada Pradhaman

Ada Pradhaman is one of the classic desserts in a grand Sadhya and no Sadhya is ever complete without the presence of this dessert. Try this dish:

Chakkapazham (Jackfruit Ripened) Varattiyath

Chakkapazham Varattiyath is a delicious dessert with jackfruit which plays a vital role in Sadyas. Try it out this dish:

Banana Chips

Banana Chips is a favorite crunchy crispy snack, one of the indispensable dishes in Onam Sadhya. Try this dish:

Boli – Trivandrum Sadhya Delicacy

Boli – Trivandrum Sadhya Delicacy is a South Indian sweet dish prepared from Bengal gram(Kadalaparippu). Try this dish

Kerala Style Naaranga Curry

Kerala Style Naaranga Curry is a traditional styled lemon pickle usually served for Sadhya. Spicy and tangy flavored Kerala Style Naaranga Curry is the simplest of lemon pickle preparations.


Parippu Easy is a protein rich nutritious curry prepared with moong dal or cherupayar and plays a vital role in Sadyas. Try it out :

Kerala Vazhakka Thoran

Kerala Vazhakka Thoran or Banana Stir Fry is a vegetarian dish traditionally prepared from raw plantains. Try this dish:

Achinga (Payar) Thoran

Achinga (Payar) Thoran or Long Runner Beans Stir Fry is a delicious accompaniment with hot rice and is primarily termed and well known as a Sadhya dish. Try this dish :


Kerala Theeyal is an authentic traditional curry enjoyed in Kerala for the lip smacking flavor of fried coconut and tangy tamarind made with Muringakka, Achinga and Chena. Try this dish:

Moru Curry

Moru Curry with Coconut is a delicious yoghurt dish from God’s Own Country. Moru Curry with Coconut makes an excellent pair with white steamed rice for noon day meals

Serving order for Onam Sadhya:

From the tip of banana leaf : Salt, papadam, chips, puli inji, pickle, olan, kalan, erissery, pulissery, avail, kootu curry, thoran, mezhukkupuratti, pachadi, kichadi.

In the centre of the leaf: rice, parippu curry, ghee, sambar, moru curry, ulli theeyal, rasam, sambaram.

In the top corner: Payasam varieties.

Thanks for visiting this page. I wish you all a very Happy Onam in advance. Hope you will try these recipes and like it. You can post your Sadhya pictures or videos to us.

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