The traditional harvest festival of Onam, celebrated in Kerala, is a great occasion to indulge in some delectable Onam Sadhya or Onam fast.
A choice selection of pachhadi, avial, pickles, and payasam ( a rice-in-sweet milk dessert) amidst other offerings make their presence felt to mark the Asura King Mahabali's annual visit from the netherworld. While there is no dearth of goodies, one has to start somewhere. Here are five succulent recipes that will make any home (and kitchen) feel like an Onam-celebrating home anywhere in the world.
2 to 2.5 cups Pumpkin (peeled and chopped)
1/2 cup Fresh Coconut
6 - 8 Shallots
3 - 4 Green Chillies
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Sprig Curry Leaves
1 Dried Red Chilli
1 tbsp Oil / Coconut Oil
In a vessel, add the chopped pumpkin, salt, turmeric and water and cook until pieces are tender. Drain and set aside.
Grind the shallots, cumin seeds and green chillies into a paste and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal and let them splutter. Add the curry leaves and broken red chilli and fry for a couple of seconds.
Then add the ground coconut mixture to it and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the cooked pumpkin pieces and combine well.
Adjust the salt and fry for a minute.
Switch off the flame and serve with rice.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Pineapple,chopped- 1 Cup
Green chilies,sliced- 1 ( or according to taste)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Sugar /grated Jaggery- 1 or 2 tsp( or according to taste)
Yogurt - 3/4 cup
Mustard seeds- 1/8 tsp
Salt- to taste
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Dry red chilies- 1 or 2
Oil- as required
In a blender combine together grated coconut ,cumin seeds and water ,grind to form a smooth paste.Keep aside.
In a pan,add pineapple ,green chilies ,turmeric powder ,salt and sufficient quantity of water.Cook until it turns soft .Next add the coconut-cumin paste and sugar/jaggery ( if using),mix well and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.Make sure that the water is completely absorbed and mixture is thick. Crush 1/8 tsp mustard seeds using a mortar and pestle.Add this to the curry and mix well.Switch off the stove and allow this to cool slightly. Add yogurt and mix well until combined.Add more salt ,if required. Heat oil in a pan,add mustard seeds and let it splutter.Add curry leaves and dry red chilies and saute for few seconds.Add this to the curry and mix well.
Note: Adjust the quantity of sugar /jaggery according to the sweetness of the pineapple used.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3 to 5
Kumbalanga / Ashgourd- 1 cup or less
Padavalanga / Snake gourd- 1/3 of 1 whole
Chena /Elephant yam-3/4 cup ( u can use frozen suran)
Muringakkai / drumstick-2 (u can use frozen)
Neelan payar / String beans-5 or 6
Kaya / Raw banana-1/2 of 1 whole( do not discard the green peel)
Kovaka / Tindora- 5 or 6 (u can use frozen tindora)
Vazhuthanga / Brinjal- 2 if small
Raw mango - 1/3 of 1 whole (depending on tartness)(peeled)
Coconut grated -1 1/2 cup
Jeerakam/ cumin- 1/4 tsp
Green chili -2 ( more if u can stand the heat)
Chili powder - 1/2 - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste- 1/4 - 1/3 tsp (reduce if mango is tart)
Salt to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Cut all the veggies into 1/4 inch thickness and 1 1/2 inch long pieces. Very coarsely grind the coconut and the rest of the ingredients (given in to grind). Heat a wide mouth heavy bottom pan pouring a glass of water add Suran/Chena first and after few minutes add all the rest of the vegetables cover and cook .Check in between to ensure the water has not dried up completely if so then add little water.When 1/2 cooked add the mango , brinjal mix well then spread the coarsely ground coconut and a green chili on top put the lid back and cook for 3-4 minutes.
(Aim is to cook all veggies evenly so always add veggies which need longer cooking time first) Mix the aviyal gently without crumbling the pieces cook for a few minutes until all the water has dried up and the coconut coats all the veggies well .Level the top of aviyal with spatula and spread some curry leaves lightly crushed with fingertips finally drizzle coconut oil .Level the oil on top don't mix immediately.Let it rest keep it covered (This is known as patrapaakam) and before serving mix again gently .
Serve along with other feast dishes and rice.
Banana (Ripe): 1/2 kg.
Cherupayar Parippu: 1/2 cup.
Thick Coconut Milk: 2 1/2 cups (about 1/2 liter).
Thin Coconut Milk: 4-5 cups
Jaggery (Sharkara): 1/2 kg.
Jeera: 1/2 tsp.
Dry Ginger: 1/4 inch piece.
Finely Sliced Coconut Pieces: 3 tbsp.
Cashewnuts: 2 tbsp, broken.
Kismis (Raisins): 2 tbsp.
Ghee: 3 tbsp plus 1 tbsp for tempering.
Blend the bananas in a blender or mixie. You can mash with fork too. Melt jaggery with little water (about 1/4 cup), when cooled strain and keep aside.
Heat a large heavy bottom pan with ghee, add in the mashed bananas. Mix well, and let it cook for 5 min. Add in the melted jaggery and mix into the bananas and simmer for 15 minutes.
While it is simmering, put the cleaned dal (cherupayar parippu) into a pressure cook and cook for 3-4 whistles, keep aside. Grind cardamon, dry ginger, and jeera; keep aside.
Add the cooked dal (cherupayar parippu into the banana-jaggery and mix well. Simmer and mix for 5 minutes.
Add in the thin coconut milk and mix everything together and allow it to boil. Once it starts to boil put the flame in medium or low flame and allow it to simmer until it becomes thick (about 15-20 minutes.
Add in the thick coconut milk, and the ground spices. When about to boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Heat a tadka pan with 1 tbsp ghee and add in thinly sliced coconut; once it starts to brown add in cashewnuts, and then lastly kismis.
Pour this over the payasam, mix well and serve.
Use 200 ml cup for measuring.
Thick coconut milk is otherwise known as "onnam pal" and thin coconut milk is otherwise known as "randam pal".
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Flavours Of Mumbai
Ingredients (used american measuring cup, 1 cup = 250 ml):
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup oil
1 cup rice (soaked in water fr 2 hrs)
½ cup jaggery powder + 1 tbsp water ( I used organic)
2-3 green cardamom
1 cup fresh grated coconut
4-5 or 1 cup of small mashed bananas
12-14 chopped cashew nuts (optional)
A pinch of baking soda (optional)
A pinch of salt
Firstly soak rice in water overnight or for 2 hrs. Mix jaggery powder in hot water. Boil for 2 mins. Check if there are any impurities.
Strain the water and ground the rice until smooth. Add little water if required. Now add the jaggery-water mixture, cardamom and bananas. Grind everything even if bananas are coarsely grounded it's okay. Finally add salt, chopped cashews, ghee and fresh grated coconut. Mix all nicely. The mixture needs to be of idli batter consistency. If the consistency is thin then add some more mashed bananas or grated coconut.
Allow the batter to rest for an hour or add a pinch of cooking soda, mix and you are ready to make. Place the appam pan / ebelskiver pan over the fire. Add few drops of oil over each mould.
Once oil is hot add scoop of each batter over each mould.
Allow to cook for a minute. Invert them with a skewer or a knife.
Allow to cook again.
Again invert and cook until golden brown from both sides.
Your Unniyappam 's are ready serve them hot with tea or coffee.
The batter should be of medium consistency just like a idli batter
If you don't have a appam pan or ebelskiver then just fry them like pan cakes.
Prep time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
This popular Punjabi festival is celebrated around the winter solstice to mark the longest night of the year. It is also a spring harvest festival.
The festival is a simple one: a bonfire ceremony is held, around which there is much song and dance till the fire dies out. Sesame seeds, popcorn, peanuts, jaggery and crystal suggar (gachchak) are thrown in the fire, and offered to people around the fire as a mark of respect to the fire itself.
PUNIT PARANJPE via Getty Images
Celebrated in January, this Tamilian festival marks the winter harvest. The first rice, a staple grain in the south, is boiled in honour of the Sun God, the Surya Maangalyam in milk with cardamom, jiggery, raisins, gram and cashew nuts. It also coincides with Makar Sankranti where children buy kites of varying sizes, shapes and hues and engage in kite fights.
Traditionally, women cook outside on an open courtyard in the sun, in a clay or steel pot, preparing one sweet, and one savoury concoction. Both are served on banana leaves, that are also used to decorate the home along with mango leaves and colourful rangoli – rice flour hand strewn in intricate patterns. The sky on this day is ablaze with colourful kites in different hues, shapes and sizes.
Intellistudies via Getty Images
The festival of colours, like most festivals across India celebrates the triumph of good over evil. A night before Holi, Holika or Choti Holi is celebrated – people dance and sing around a bonfire before retiring for bed. The next morning sees a burst of colour across the country with plenty of song and dance thrown in. A popular drink, Bhang, a mixture curried from cannabis leaves is also mixed in milk and drunk.
The festival has gained popularity across the world to celebrate love, and is also a mark of spring. It is celebrated in March every year.
A declining community in India, the Parsis, or Zoroastrians as they are also known celebrate this day as their New Year. Nowruz is celebrated as an ode to the sun.
RAVEENDRAN via Getty Images
Easter is celebrated as an important festival in India, as is Christmas, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Celebrated in early April, Mahavir Jayanti is the most important festival for the Jain community. It is celebrated to mark the birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Jain tirthankara (person who has conquered the cycle of death and rebirth). On this day, his statues are carried out in a procession, accompanied by song and dance. Devotees also celebrate his birthday by donating to charity, praying and meditating.
There are three types of cultural festivals , however Rongali Bihu that is celebrated in April is possibly the most famous. It announces the arrival of spring with a plethora of cultural song and dance activities. Bihu itself denotes peace, humanity and brotherhood amidst all races.
This simple, yet meaningful festival is celebrated to strengthen the bond between sisters and brothers. A sacred threat is tied by a woman on her brother's wrist symbolising her love for her sibling, and the brother's life-long vow to protect her against any harm.
DIBYANGSHU SARKAR via Getty Images
Also known as Vesakha, Buddha Purnima is a prominent festival of Buddhists. It celebrates the birth, attaining enlightenment and passing of Lord Buddha, and falls on a full moon day.
The biggest festival in Kerala, Onam is a four-day event that celebrates the homecoming of the King Mahabali, an Asura ruler known and loved for his peacefful reign. During this time, one can really acquire a feel of Kerala's rich cultural heritage: colourful dances such as kathakali and pulikali (tiger dance) are performed. Another vital feature of the festival is the famous snake boat race, where approximately 100 oarsmen row sinuous, narrow boats (hence the name).
Celebrated by the Sindhi community, this festival pays tribute to the Sindhi's god Varuna for saving their lives and religious choices from an evil ruler.
Eidh-Al-Adha, commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's will, though in the end God provides him a sheep to sacrifice instead. On the start of Eidh- Al-Adha, Muslims slaughter sheep, cattle and other livestock, and give part of the meat to the poor.
Of the many gods that prevail in Hindu religion, Lord Ganesha is a fascinating deity with his curling trunk, and pot-bellied stomach. During the month of September, ten days are devoted to this remover of obstacles, and collectively called Ganesh Chaturthi. Giant shrines of the god are built and showcased in local societies and communities for people to come and pay their respects with garlands, flowers, milk and grass shoots. On the last day of the festival, the statues of the god are immersed in large bodies of water amidst much dance, and celebration. The festival is most popular in Maharashtra, and southern parts of India.
NOAH SEELAM via Getty Images
The month of Ramadan involves 30 days of rigorous fasting and abstinence from any activities that could be interpreted as sinful — including alcohol, smoking, swearing or coitus. Eidh-Al-Fitr marks the end of this fast with a prayer. All across the world, Muslims greet each other and exchange three hugs in succession. The festival usually falls in the month of October.
Celebrated between September – October, this Bengali festival gained prominence as a community celebration post independence to unite people against the British Raj. Although the festival is celebrated over ten days, the last four days are the most important and celebrated with much gaiety. Durga was created by the combined efforts of Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva to slay an evil demon that could otherwise not be killed created the ten-armed goddess.
Impressive, dominating statues of the goddess decorate every community housed in pandals (a temporary fabricated structure) that are specially built and decorated for the occasion: the pungent aromas of incense sticks are accentuated by flowers and the continuous beating of the dhak along with several mantras chanted. The idol, like with Ganesh Chaturthi, is also immersed in water at the end of the festival.
CHANDAN KHANNA via Getty Images
This Hindu festival signals the onset of Diwali, and is a culmination of the Navratri festival where people worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga over nine days. Several people fast on these nine days or abstain from meat and alcohol. Dussehra is celebrated as the tenth day, marking Lord Rama’s triumph over Ravana, as well as Goddess Durga’s victory (also celebrated as Durga Puja). During the ten days, several plays (Ramlila) depicting the entire tale of Ramayana are performed. On the final day, giant effigies of Ravana, and his brother Kumbhakarna and Meghanand are burned.
Soumen Nath Photography via Getty Images
The Indian festival of lights, Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness. Every home is beautifully lit up with clay lamps (diyas), people buy new clothes, and decorate their homes. Sweetmeats and presents are exchanged in abundance, and displays of fireworks light the country.
Even though christianity is a minor community in India, Christmas is celebrated here, although Diwali and Holi still rank over most of the festivals.