Our Onam Sadhya Feast
You can take a man out of India but you can't take India out of a man.We are working folks and don't always find the time to cook ourselves,much as we would love to.At the end of the day,we yearn for home food,doesn't matter whose home.No matter how many types of international cuisine are available,the interest in regional food will always remain.In fact,I feel it's grown stronger.
Today all the papers carried stories on Onam and Sadhya so it's well known that Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala and has a special feast (Sadhya) to celebrate the coming of King Mahabali.We were five friends (Pradeep,Pramod,Sandeep,Chethana and I) and there were five others,one of whom was the bubbly Benaifar who I met at the Parsi Food Walk.
This meal was a pop-up organized by Insia Lacewala of the Small Fry Co. whose other events I have attended.Sneha Nair made the meal for us.She is actually from the finance world but loves to cook.I have friends who are Mallu and are now inspired to cook for us after hearing about this :) Pradeep very kindly found this link before we went so that we'd get an idea what was in store for us...click here
We were given a menu stating the dishes that would come on our banana leaf.We were greeted with coconut water.No alcohol.Yes,there's going to be prohibition in the state.Sneha recalled how there was a special steel cupboard just for alcohol at their wedding :) My concern is for the toddy shops that will disappear cos I have heard they serve some delectable fish items which I may never get to taste.
Sadhya for Onam is ideally vegetarian but the pop-up had a non vegetarian option which we happily took.I was wary when I saw a newspaper article mention that a restaurant had 33 items.Fortunately there weren't that many here.This was a meal where one had to sit on the floor and eat off a banana leaf.
There was of course the Poppaddum (Sneha's company is named after it),Banana,Mango pickle,Banana Chips,Sharkaraperi (yam chips coated in jaggery) and Inghzipulli which I loved a lot.The latter is a lip smacking tamarind and ginger chutney
There was Avial which was a mix of vegetables and ground coconut,Pineapple Pachadi (like a raita with the punch of mustard) and Cabbage Thoran (stir fried cabbage) which the others loved.The Manghza Perka had pumpkin and beans.
We've had sambhar at so many places but this was different.For one,it wasn't sweet.We loved it
The pineapple rasam was the only thing I didn't like cos I found it bitter.
The Chicken (with pepper,green chillies and onion) and Malabar Mutton Curry were outstanding
We ended the meal with the delicious Ada Payasam made of rice and coconut milk which was sugar free.
We all agreed it's a great concept....we are keen to try out food from other states made by home chefs.In the pipeline are Assamese,Sindhi and Bohri food.Bring it on,we say...food from all the states of India :)