Onam 2022: 5 Vegetarian Curries You Must Add To The Sadya Spread
Image Credit: Onam Sadya

It’s festive season almost all year round in India. And among the several region-specific festivals is Kerala’s Onam. In order to mark the harvest season, Malayalis celebrate this time with utmost fervour and an elaborate feast, called Onam Sadya.

Preparations are made for a lavish vegetarian meal days in advance, so that it can be ready by the time it is the festival day. The authentic South Indian meal is served on banana leaves and the method of serving each and eating them holds as much significance as the dishes themselves. From papadam and pickles to curries, dry vegetables, rice, and dessert, it is one elaborate meal. A combination of 26 dishes, including condiments and sweet dishes, is served in traditional households which is meant to be eaten by hand.

This year, the 10-day Onam festival will continue until September 8 and the celebrations are already happening in full swing. To prepare the sadya, here are a few vegetarian curries that cannot be missed.  

1.  Parippu Curry 

Another popular curry that commonly features in the sadya is parippu. The dish is made with moong dal, that is ground and turned into a creamy gravy with the addition of coconut milk. The onion and tomato mixture is dunked into it and stirred continuously. It is spiced up with green chillies, mustard seeds and red chillies and can be served with rice and roti.

2.  Ulli Theeyal

An authentic Kerala-style curry, this is very simple and basic yet tastes delicious. Tiny onions or shallots are sliced. The gravy is prepared along with grated coconut and curry leaves. The roasted coconut lends the gravy a distinct taste. Made tangy with tamarind extract, the Ulli Theeyal is a perfect pairing for rice. 

3.  Pachadi

Coconut is an intrinsic part of most Kerala-style curry preparations, be it a lentil or a vegetable. This curry is an interesting dish as it is made with bitter gourd. The finely chopped veggie is dunked in a coconut-based gravy that is made smooth and creamy with the addition of yoghurt. A comforting dish, the curry is yellow in colour because of turmeric powder.

4.  Kaalan Curry

If you’re planning an Onam sadya, it would be a sin to skip this dish. The signature dish of Kerala, this curry is made with raw bananas that are indigenous to the state. The curry is prepared with yoghurt and coconut in which the bananas are dipped. The creaminess of the curry is a treat to the tastebuds. Tossed with fenugreek powder, the dish is perfect for Onam.

5.   Olan

This is a very popular curry of Sadya meal. White gourd or ash gourd is sliced and dunked into a pool of coconut milk, along with ginger. To this, black-eyed peas are added and the gravy is cooked in coconut oil. The creaminess of the dish, paired with the nutrients like protein and iron, serves well as a healthy yet delectable curry.