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).
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