Every year, the state of Kerala gears up for Onam, the Malayali harvest festival. A major event for Keralites across the country it remembers the golden rule of Mahabali a king from myth who led the state through an age of prosperity. The legend says that the devas and gods were jealous of Mahabalo’s reign and conspired against him sending Lord Vishu to earth in the form of Vamana – a Brahmin dwarf – who trampled Mahabali to the netherworld. There, Vamana asked the king for three feet of land in return for a wish. In the first two feet, Vamana then measured out the entire universe leaving nowhere for the third foot to be granted. The generous king offered his own head as the third foot of space to appease the god. In response, Lord Vishnu granted the king’s only wish – to return to his beloved land once a year and at that time when Mahabali visits Kerala, crops and fields flourish.

Many traditions surround the celebration of Onam but one of the most beloved (and delicious) is the tradition of the Onam Sadhya. The Sadhya or Onasadhya – as it’s also known – literally translates to ‘banquet’ in Malayali. It usually consists of 26 different dishes made with over 60 ingredients that include curries, vegetables, sweets, savouries and more. The feast is served on a banana leaf laid on the floor and reflects how we are all equal in the eyes of the universe. 

Also Read: Banana Chips: The Staple From Kerala We Can’t Resist

Though every part of the Sadhya is delectable in its own way, there are a few fan favourites that people look forward to and one of those is definitely the Chena Varuthupperi or crunchy Yam Chips that are served almost like an appetiser. Thinly sliced elephant foot yam is marinated in spices and then deep fried until crisp. For anyone who loves potato chips, this is sure to be a favourite snack 

Elephant foot yam is widely used in Kerala and is a carbohydrate with lots of minerals and nutrients like potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, phosphorous and calcium which makes for a much healthier form of snacking. So even if you can’t dig into your own Onam Sadhya this year, try whipping up a big batch of these tasty treats and snacks as if you were in God’s Own Country.

Image Credits: Swaad Of Kerala/YouTube

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yam
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut oil
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ⅙ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 15 garlic cloves with skin, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Wash, peel and cube the yam into 1-inch pieces. 
  • Next, chop each of the cubes into slices so you’re left with lots of equally sized squares ready for frying.
  • Heat some water in a pot and add ½ tsp turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and yam cubes. 
  • Boil for 15 minutes till fork tender but not completely cooked through.
  • Drain off the water. Sprinkle the yam with a pinch of salt, asafoetida, ¼ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp of chilli powder, crushed garlic and curry leaves onto the yam and mix.
  • Shallow fry in coconut oil and transfer onto absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot as a snack or as an accompaniment with rice.