Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

If you like what you see, do leave a comment. If you don't, please leave a suggestion to help me make this better.

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Happy cooking!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ona Sadya Part 1 - Aviyal

In my last post, I promised to share my Onam special recipes with you, so here goes...
Onam, one of the most important festivals of Kerala - the other one being Vishu, commemorates a Golden age when the land was ruled by the benevolent asura king, Mahabali. King Mahabali, the legend says, secured a blessing from Lord Vishnu that he could come back from nether world to visit his land and people once every year. It is Mahabali's visit that is celebrated as Onam. Onam begis in the month of 'chingam' (august/september) and therefore it is also a time for harvest celebrations.
Kerala of the yesteryears was the land of farmers (which brings to mind the apathetic attitude of the present day rulers towards land filling the fields of yester years and playing havoc with the famous once -luxuriant ecosystem of the state) and people celebrated the end of the ravaging rainy month of karkidakam and the begining of pleasant chingam.
'Onasadya' or the traditional luncheon feast is an integral part of Onam. And, to most of us expats, who cannot indulge in the traditional village games, cannot let our hair loose on the rustic swings hitched on to trees in courtyards, or decorate our porches with Pookalam (rangoli with fresh flowers), Onasadya is the only indulgence still possible :-) Ona sadya is traditionally served on Vazha ilas (banana leaves) which adds an extra zing to the tasty treats.
My hubby and I made Inji curry, Olan, Kootu kari, Thoran, Kichadi,Aviyal, Paruppu, Sambhar, Kalan,and Ada Pradhaman. The off the shelf additions where pappadams,pickle, banana chips, and sharkkaravaratti (jaggery coated chips).

Our sadya on the leaf

I will be sharing the recipes of each of these yummy recipes, one by one. For starters, it is Aviyal that lovely medley of all kinds of vegetables in an aromatic masala of coconut, cumin, and shallots.


Beans - 50 gms
String beans - 50 gms
Snake gourd (padavalam) - 100gms
Carrot - 1 large
Potato - 1 large
Yam (chena) - 100 gms
Ash gourd (kumbalanga) - 100 gms
Malabar cucumber (vellarikka) - 100 gms (skip it if you don't find it)Green tomatoes - 2 Nos
Green mangoes - 1 (use the sour ones)
Green chillies - 3 Nos

For the masala
Grated coconut - 150 gms
Small onions (shallots/scallions) - 3 Nos
Cumin (jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Green chillies - 4 Nos (less for less heat)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut oil - A teaspoon
Curry leaves - a liberal handfull
Salt to taste

Peel and cut vegetables into even sized pieces (traditionally appoximately 2" juliennes). Place all veggies, except raw mangoes, in a thick bottomed vessel, add water just about enough to cook vegetables in, add the chilli powder and turmeric powder and cook covered. When 3/4 th done , add in the mangoes and cook. If you don't find raw mangoes, use a teaspoon of tamarind extract.
Grind the ingredients for masala into a coarse paste. Add to cooking vegetables. Saute well for the masala to cook and blend with vegetables.Add salt. Before taking off the flame add the dash of coconut oil and the curry leaves. Cover and set aside for a few minutes before use.

PS: Some regions in Kerala use yoghurt instead of green mangoes to add the soury tang to Aviyal. People who prefer less heat in their food can try that. My family prefers the green mangoes and if unavailable a strong dash of tamarind.

Sending this along to Asankhana's Festive food event - Onam celebrations. The event is on till september 22nd at http://asankhana.blogspot.com/2008/09/after-successful-celebration-of-krishna.html

The Wylde Women award has come back to me this time passed on by my blogger buddy, EC of simpleindianfood . Thank you, EC.
The purpose of this award is to send love and acknowledgement to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.
The rules of this award are:
1.You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it's up to you.
2.Make sure you link to their site in your post
3. Link back to this blog site http://tammyvitale.typepad.com/ so that Tammy, the originator of this award, can go visit all these wonderful women.

I in turn pass this onto...
Jaishree of jaisrecepieblog
Priti of indiankhanna
Vaishali of earthvegan
VP of vegetableplatter
my new visitor, Vandana of cookingupsomethingnice


notyet100 said...


Usha said...

This is one of my favorites...looks good :)

Priyanka said...

thats quite an elaborate feast that you have prepared. looks delicious. Happy Onam to you and your family......went thru your middle-eastern recipes....you must have become a pro at whipping them up....lucky you got to stay in Lebanon for some time.

srikars kitchen said...

Nice entry... we dont add onion.. new for me. i will try ... thxs for sharing..

Myviews said...

This is one of my favorites...looks good :)Thanks dearfor passing me this award:)

Yasmeen said...

Have an exciting Onam Dershana:) The sadya on banana leaf looks inviting.

Priti said...

Happy Onam dear...the feast looks so authentic..lovely pics..Congrats on your award and thanks a lot for sharing with me :)

Vaishali said...

Dershana, Lovely aviyal recipe: it is certainly one of my most favorite Kerala dishes, and yours sounds absolutely delicious.
Thanks for the award: it is kind of you to think of me, and I really appreciate it!

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