Onam 2022: An Authentic Taste Of Kerala Sadya In Hyderabad
Image Credit: Onam Sadya at Gaurang's Kitchen

Onam, the largest harvest celebration observed in Kerala, represents the return of King Mahabali. In 2022, the ten-day long festival began on August 30 and will run through September 8. The tenth or last day has the highest preeminence. Locals believe that the soul of King Mahabali visits Kerala to see his subjects. Early in the morning, a lavish feast kicks off the revelries. And the grand sadya takes centre stage. It is a gastronomic extravaganza of this state's cuisine. 

While on the fifth or Anizham, Kerala was gearing up for the Vallamkali or snake boat race on Pamba River's bank, the Hyderabadis were seen indulging in a grand sadya spread. The capital city of Telangana is home to food lovers, and their passion for festive grub is always on the rise. It was again evident when I reached the city's exquisite eatery, Gaurang's Kitchen, a brainchild of the renowned fashion designer, Gaurang Shah. The Onam Sadya here drew epicures from the length and breadth of Hyderabad.  

The two-day food fest took place on 3 and 4 September 2022. This pure vegetarian Sadya platter has as many as 26 dishes and gives the most authentic flavour of Kerala in its purest form. 

What's on the platter

Giving the closest experience of a typical Sadya platter, it has Puli Inji, red chutney, white chutney, lemon pickle, banana chips, banana, Upperi, Pazham Pori, Uzhunnu Vada, papadam, Kadal, Avial, Thoran, Koottukari, Kaalan, Kuthari Choru (Keralan matta rice), Thayir Sadam, Moru Curry, Rasam, Ada Payasam, Parippu Pradhaman, Malabar Paratha and Appam. Before serving the elaborate assortment, fresh tender coconut water reached as a welcome drink. Even before you can finish it, the jumbo sadya arrives on the table. Your eyes twinkle, and your mouth salivates at its sight. 

Appealing presentation

 Tender coconut water @Gaurang's Kitchen

Here the food is plated on a kansa (bronze) thali layered with a banana leaf, keeping the tradition of serving on banana leaves. The red Kerala rice, curries, desserts and water are also served in kansa utensils. It isn't just about preparing and dishing out the delicacies, but an effort to keep the tradition alive. For the best experience, I suggest ditching cutleries and eating with your hands instead. 

Authentic flavours of Kerala

Spices, Matta rice and several main ingredients for the Sadya dishes are sourced from Kerala to preserve the original taste. And it reflects in every starter, chutney, entree and dessert. Unlike the food served in most commercial eateries, these preparations felt heavenly to my tastebuds and gentle on my tummy. I didn't sense any uneasiness despite devouring all the items.  


Sadya platter

The show stealer

Thayir Sadam has a distinct aroma of camphor, leaving a refreshing aftertaste. Likewise, each morsel of Kuthari Choru with Moru Curry, Avial and Thoran, Koottukari is a burst of flavours. For someone like me with a sweet tooth, Upperi, Parippu Pradhaman and Ada Payasam satiate cravings. Despite being made with mung daal and coconut milk, Parippu Pradhaman didn't feel heavy on the stomach. I helped myself with another serving. I was told that for those who want a pure vegan experience, Ada Payasam and Moru Curry could be tweaked with soy milk instead of dairy. 

If someone wants to experience this Sadya spread at Gaurang's kitchen on the last day of Onam, they need to inform the eatery an hour in advance. The same elaborate spread will be prepared by the passionate chefs here.