Onam 2022: 5 Traditional Desserts From Kerala You Must Try
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It's that time of the year again when festivals galore across India. While the northern, western, and parts of the southern regions celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with enthusiasm, the state of Kerala has begun with Onam celebrations. Onam is a 10-day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of Mahabali, the mythical king whose reign was considered the golden era in the history of the state. Thus, it is the time to bring out giant banana leaves and enjoy sumptuous vegetarian dishes. This year, Onam festivities began on August 30 and will continue until September 8, the final day being celebrated as Thiruvonam, meaning 'Sacred Onam Day'. 

While Onam festivities include many traditions like beautiful flower decorations at home, playing various games, performing several traditional dances, boat race competition, and elephant processions, feasting is one of the most popular and integral aspects of Onam celebrations. And why not? It involves a nine-course grand meal. It involves an elaborate meal - Onam Sadya. Food is served on a banana leaf, with the spread comprising about 26 dishes, including four to five vegetables, along with rice, pickles, papad, and the traditional dessert, called payasam. 

While Onasadya is prime to the festival, one can prepare many different mouth-watering dishes apart from it during the festival, especially sweet treats. After all, an Indian festival cannot be celebrated without some traditional sweets making its way to the platter, isn’t it? 

So, if you are wondering what traditional desserts you can prepare at home this year, we've got you covered. Here’s a list of delectable dishes you can try. 

1. Ada Pradhaman 

A variation of the classic payasam, ada pradhaman is a rice flour-based payasam flavoured with the richness of ghee and jaggery. It turns out to be so smooth and ambrosial that you won’t be able to resist. Made with ada rice, jaggery, and coconut besides nuts and dry fruits - including cashews and raisins stirred in coconut milk - ada pradhaman is a staple on the occasion of Onam. 

2. Paal Payasam 

Payasam is one of the most important parts of the traditional Onasadya, but many variations of it are served during the festival. It is basically an irresistible kheer dish that is offered as prasadam at temples and festive events as well. With rice, cardamom, cashews, and raisins cooked together in milk, paal payasam makes for a creamy, luscious dessert which you simply can’t miss out on.  

3. Ney Appam 

The name ney appam comes from the words ney, meaning ghee, and appam, which means pancake. This rice-based fried fritter dish from the state of Kerala is made with raw rice, jaggery, banana, coconut, and cardamom, and is fried till crispy and crunchy. While ney appam is quite an important treat at most of the important festivals in the south, it is a perfect sweet treat for Onam since it is easy and quick to prepare at home. 

4. Banana Halwa 

Bananas are one of the sweetest and the mushiest fruits around, and are hence a great ingredient for desserts. And if halwa is your favourite sweet treat, skip making it with flour and try bananas this time. Full of nutrients and a great energy-booster, bananas make for a great ingredient for halwas. Top it up with nuts and dry fruits and you’ll have a great festive dessert to binge on this Onam. 

5. Rava Ladoo 

Who can say no to laddoos? Rava ladoo is a simple, easy, and quick Indian sweet to prepare for festive occasions like Onam. Ground and roasted rava or semolina combined with sugar, cardamom, ghee, and dry fruits, and made into ladoos spell decadence at each bite. Add to it the garnishing of nuts, and you have a delightful dessert.