Sadya refers to the traditional banquet of vegetarian dishes, served in Kerala. Give a Malayalee a chance to talk on it and he will chew your ear off with his take on the who/what/when/wheres related to the sadya. 

So what are the bullet points you need to know about this most gastronomic delight?

What are the traditional items served in the Kerala Onam Sadya?


  • The word 'Sadya' means 'banquet' in Malayalam.
  • A sadya is prepared not just as a feast during Onam but also during weddings and other events.
  • A traditional sadya is served on a banana leaf and eaten without cutlery.
  • During a traditional sadya, we do not count calories... we count dishes. An Onam sadya will normally have more than 24 items in a single course.
  • There is an order and even direction in which the dishes must be served onto the banana leaf. 
  • While it is traditionally vegetarian, in many parts of North Kerala, you will find non-vegetarian versions which include seafood and chicken in the sadya.

The List of Food Items Served in a Kerala Sadya are:


01. Kaaya varuthatha (Regular banana chips)
02. Chena varuthatha (Yam chips)
03. Sarkara upperi (Jaggery coated banana chips)
04. Maanga achaar (Mango pickle)
05. Naaranga achaar (Lime pickle)
06. Puli inji (Tamarind & Ginger chutney)
07. Inji thayir (Ginger in yoghurt)
08. Beetroot kichadi (Beetroot in spiced yoghurt)
09. Kichadi (Gourd in spiced yoghurt)
10. Pachadi (Pineapple in yoghurt)
11. Olan ( ash gourd/pumpkin with black eyed beans in coconut milk gravy)
12. Thoran (stir-fried vegetables with grated coconut)
13. Kaalan (yam and raw banana in yoghurt)
14. Muzhuka varutty (long beans stir fried)
15. Theeyal (mixed vegetable gravy)
16. Masala curry
17. Erissery (pumpkin & red beans with coconut gravy)
18. Avial (veggies including plantains, ash gourd, yam, carrots, beans etc with curd & grated coconut)
19. Puliserry (curd based curry - can be made with ripe mangoes/yam)
20. Kootu curry (black chickpeas, plantains, yam et al)
21. Parippu curry (Lentil curry)
22. Sambhar (Really? You don't know sambhar? REALLY?)
23. Sambaram (spiced buttermilk)
24. Rasam (Sour & spicy thin 'soup')
25. Bananas (as in 'monkeys eat...')
26. Papaddums
27. Boiled rice (+/- ghee)
28. Ada pradhamam (rice ada/pasta pudding)
29. Pazha pradhamam (banana and jaggery pudding)

The full list for Onam Sadya in Kerala
You can save this image on Pinterest to help you have the complete list at your fingertips.

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P.S. Have you checked out flower carpet decorations that are also a big part of our festival of Onam? Do click here.
Godyears Onam Kerala festival Roshan
Onam Ashamsakal, everyone!

38 Comments

  1. This post left me eagerly waiting for Mom to come back from India, so I could celebrate Onam with the proper Sadya and payasam. :D

    And Onashamsakal... Have a great day with loads of Payasams. :) And NO!... Don't dare to post the pics here or in FB!

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    1. Onashamsakal to you too :)
      Will try to resist the urge to share pics... no promises :p

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  2. All of the above, and wondering where the nearest thing like this is in my upstate New York City. Thanks for sharing! Alana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked... surely there will be places everywhere during this week catering to the Malayalee crowd within that country :)

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  3. All of the above, definitely! I am realizing more and more that I NEED to visit India!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. See the dishes associated with the various festivals... choose your festival and plan accordingly :)

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  4. I'm thinking "How am I going to cook all these alone!!" :( Sadya is terrifying :P Appetizing post, though :)

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    1. Haha... the main nightmare faced by every Mallu housewife who needs to cater to the demands of her hubby during Onam :)

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  5. So, when are you calling me to your home? My mouth is watering early in the morning :).

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  6. That was fun to read. Being in Kerala, I get to have a sadya on a regular basis. The order of the dishes on the banana leaf varies from district to district! You did not mention boli and palpayasam. So I am assuming you are not from Trivandrum or haven't been here. Any sadya is incomplete here without the boli-payasam routine :)

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    1. Hi Shail... I literally had to check online to see what you meant. No, I have never had this boli-payasam combo...it appears to be something like the Dakshin Kannada holige, is it?
      Anyway, I think it would make an awesome combo. I really should try it out at home.
      Happy Onam :)

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    2. Yes, it is very similar to holige, and had with palpayasam. You must definitely try it :)
      Happy Onam.

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  7. Awesome... now I am wondering where to begin , reminded me of the awesome sadya I had at a home stay in Wayanad...

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    1. As the main traveller I see in my blog timeline, I demand that you come down to Kerala and have the sadya :D

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  8. Roshan, my answer is D :) I was in Chennai recently and had this kind of sadhya at the wedding lunch. I lived in Kochi for 12 years before moving to Delhi and have fond memories of Onam Sadhyas there. Brought back some lovely memories, thanks. This is the most informative and mouthwatering post on sadhya I have ever come across :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. yes... it is also served as a traditional wedding feast :)
      And it differs from region to region, I guess. Did you feel there was anything different between this list and the ones you had in Kochi?

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  9. c) hungry & hunting for the nearest sadya. ...:D

    And now I see soo many kerala veg delights in contrast to your prev post :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The difference is that was many dishes over many days... this is one shot nirvana :D

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  10. Onamashamsakal :) Enjoy the gastronomic delight :)

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  11. C... it's C. Seriously 24 items?? The cooks must be going crazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprised it wasnt 'D' :)
      As you can, its 29 just in that list...

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  12. haha..The apartment community I lived in earlier celebrated Onam in a grand way and hence I was a part of the great Onam Sadya. This year though, I have moved and hence my answer is C :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that you've had the fun of it all... Yes, we do celebrate this part wholeheartedly whereever we go

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  13. C C C... hungry and hunting.. hunting for food, and hunting for you who put up such yummyl list

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    1. haha... search for wherever there is food and you will find me nearby

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  14. Answer to your MCQ is "d" obviously! Now where's the sadhya? :)
    Onam ashamsagal Roshan :)

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    Replies
    1. Haha... I'm surprised everyone went with C when I myself thought D was the obvious choice :)

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  15. I want this feast. **Warning** I will finish it all or die trying ...

    Hats off to the ladies who cook this.

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    Replies
    1. trust me... you will finish it. We wont let you leave until you do!

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  16. Hungry & hunting for the nearest Sadya. By the way one query - Is there no non - veg in an Onam Sadya? :D

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    1. While the traditional sadya is pure veg, my area (the Northern Malabar region of the state) nowadays does add in fish/chicken/meat as per their wish. Hey, I ain't complaining :)

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  17. Today for the sadya our menu was almost the same. Thanks for sharing. Happy happy onam!

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    1. Glad it was of help and hope you had a great time :)

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  18. Happy Onam!!! The picture was drool worthy :)

    P.S. How do I get your notifications on my dashboard? Right now it's all coming to my mail. Can't see the follow widget anywhere :(

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    1. Happy Onam to you too :)
      I have added the feature now.. please do check :)

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  19. It's D for me. But I love only the eating Sadya part. Every year me and my mom-in-law prepare sadya. But due to age issue on her side and lack of culinary skills on my side, we prepare only the favourites. Missing my mom now who is in Kerala who used to cook all this single handedly.

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So what do you think ?