The sadya that is served as a feast in Kerala to celebrate anything from a birthday to a wedding to festivals is a feat in itself. There are typically about 16-20 dishes or more and there is a subtle variation in the dishes and the way they are made, depending on which part of Kerala you are eating the sadya at. This feast is served on banana leaves and you have to sit on the floor to eat this feast. Though, people do serve sadya on the leaf on a dining table but the fun of it is to sit on the floor cross legged and enjoy this wonderfully put together feast. Be assured that by the time you get done with the sadya you are most likely to have pins and needles on your legs!

There is a certain order in which these various dishes are served on the banana leaf. Again this varies a little from region to region in Kerala. Some folks start out with salt or pickle, others start out with payasam (a sweet pudding). In the end, it doesn’t matter, as you are gonna eat it all. Also, there is no order to eating them except for the various courses that are served. But you don’t have to worry about that part, those who are serving will have to.

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Image courtesy : The Hindu

The courses are defined by the more saucier curries that are poured over the rice. All courses will still have all those vegetable sides that were initially served and you can have multiple servings of that. It of course ends with a course or sometimes multiple courses of dessert. Dessert is always payasam – how it becomes multiple courses is when there are many types of payasams made.

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Inji Puli- Puli Inji - Inji Curry - Mirch Masala - Kerala Sadya Recipes Onam Vishu

One of the main components of a sadya, that is often overlooked, but is very essential to maintain that balance is the pickle. Be it lime/lemon pickle or mango pickle or puli inji.

Whenever I talk about puli inji, a story comes to mind. This happened when I was 9 or so and I was at my cousin’s wedding. For the sadya, I had finished my rice with the curries and all that and was waiting for the payasam course. One of the servers, came with this bog bowl of brown looking thing and planted it right in the middle of my plate (banana leaf). Now, if you are familiar with Southern Indian cuisine, there is something called chakkara pongal which is a type of payasam that is made with jaggery and is one of the payasams that is not runny. It is not a very commonly served payasam for sadya, but I didn’t know any better then. I thought, whatever was served on my plate was this payasam and ate a big mouthful of it, only to realize it was a very particularly spicy inji puli! I turned red and my eyes started watering and I started getting hiccups. Everyone around me panicked and one offered some payasam, while another offered water, yet another offered bananas and others something more! I don’t remember what all I ate to get rid of the spicy heat from my body. But it sure was a lesson well learnt, to not gobbble up a huge mouthful of something just because it looks like something you love!

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Aval Payasam ~ Beaten Brown Rice (Poha) Pudding with Jaggery and Coconut Milk | Kerala Sadya Recipe

April 11, 2014
Aval Payasam ~ Beaten Brown Rice (Poha) Pudding with Jaggery and Coconut Milk - Mirch Masala - Kerala Sadya Recipes Vishu Onam

Though this may not be the most common payasams made for sadya, this can be something you veterans out there who celebrate Vishu and Onam with sadyas every year, to make something different from your regular ada pradhaman, pal payasam etc. This is also perfect as a second payasam to make (to show off, if [...]

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Pazham Pulisseri / Pazham Pulissery ~ Ripe Plantains in a Spiced Coconut Yogurt Sauce | Kerala Sadya Recipes

April 10, 2014
Pazham Pulisseri - Pazham Pulissery - Mirch Masala - Kerala Sadya, Onam, Vishu (4)

The concept of a sadya and the various different elements to it just blows my mind every time I think of it. This is in spite of growing up eating a sadya at least a few times a year – for Onam, Vishu, Birthdays and invariably some weddings. If you have been following my blog, [...]

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Makai Murgh Curry ~ Corn and Chicken Curry

April 8, 2014
Makai Chicken Curry - Corn Chicken Curry - Mirch Masala (2)

If left to the will of my laziness, I would make my go-to everyday chicken curry for AJ. Sometimes, my will power takes over that of my laziness’ and I go look up recipes in my books, on the internet and what not and make something a little more interesting like this. When I first [...]

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Little People Food–Spinach, Rice and Corn Patties

April 4, 2014
Spinach, Rice and Corn Patties - Mirch Masala - Toddler Food Recipe (2)

I know lil V does not get bored if I repeat his food every now and then and AJ keeps reminding me of that. But I just feel as if he does get bored. I mean, I get bored! I cannot eat the same thing for more than two meals. So I kinda don’t expect [...]

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Achari Aloo Chole ~ Potato and Garbanzo Bean Curry with Pickling Spices

March 30, 2014
Achari Aloo Chole - Potatoa dn Garbanzo Bean Curry with Pickling Spices - Mirch Masala (2)

It is not the first time I am writing about this and definitely will not be the last time – because that is how most of my cooking sessions end up being. I started making a Achari Chana Pulao, a Tarla Dalal recipe that I have made several times before and at the last minute, [...]

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Almond Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish

March 26, 2014
Almond Lemon Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish - Mirch Masala (4)

I don’t remember where I saw this recipe. It was either on Foodgawker or Pinterest.Wherever it was, it piqued my interest and went to the blog to look up the recipe. It took me to this lovely blog, Wanna be a Country Cleaver where there was a recipe for 20-minute Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes. The [...]

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Mambazha Pachadi ~ Ripe Mangoes in a Lightly Spiced Coconut Sauce

March 25, 2014
Mambazha Pachadi (3)

Growing up I knew of only two kind of pachadis (a sweetish curry made with a fruit and grated coconut) – plantain pachadi and mambazha pachadi. I LOVED the plantain pachadi but would not really let amma make mambazha pachadi. I always thought it was a waste of nice sweet ripe mangoes to be put [...]

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Eating Out in Seattle – Serious Pie and Serious Biscuit

March 19, 2014
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Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms and Truffle Cheese Pizza We used to go to all Tom Douglas’ restaurants as though we haunted them! We still do but it is a lot less now, especially with the lil guy around. We have tried as much to keep eating and doing everything else pretty much the same and not [...]

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