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Sambhar, Avial, Paysam and more Onam recipes!

Last updated on: September 8, 2011 12:21 IST

Sambhar, Avial, Paysam and more Onam recipes!

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Heard of Onam Sadhya? The traditional harvest festival of Kerala is incomplete without feasting on Sambhar, Avail, Oalan, Kootu and Paysam.

The celebration of Onam, which falls on September 9, is incomplete without the Onam Sadhya, which is an elaborate feasting activity of the Keralites.

At the sadhya, a host of dishes are served on a banana leaf across all ten days of the festival, which climaxes on Thiruvonam, which is the tenth and most important day of Onam.

The four-course traditional meal that starts with rice and sambhar is followed by serving a combination of rice and yoghurt, rice and rasam (a spicy tamarind-based curry), eventually climaxing with a generous helping of at least two varieties of paysam, a sweet dish.

Mostly vegetarian, each of the dishes served during the festival rides high in terms of both health and popularity. Among a host of delicacies, we bring you the most popular and essential.

Sambhar

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms toor dal
  • 3 drumsticks
  • 250 gms white pumpkin
  • 100 gms red pumpkin
  • 100 gms okra (ladyfingers)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 brinjals
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 50 gms tamarind paste
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 25 gms coriander seeds
  • 10 red chillies
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 50 gms shallots
  • 50 gms onion
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 5 bay leaves

Method:

  • Pressure-cook toor dal with salt till it's completely cooked.
  • In a frying pan, heat two tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Fry the grated coconut, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies, shallots and onions separately and keep aside to cool.
  • Grind the above ingredients into a mixture of semi-thick consistency.
  • Dice all vegetables (pumpkins, okra, potatoes, brinjal) except the tomatoes and empty them into a vessel.
  • Add two cups of water, salt and turmeric and cook the vegetables for five-seven minutes.
  • When they are semi-cooked, add the chopped tomatoes.
  • After awhile, add tamarind paste.
  • When it comes to a boil, add the toor dal and mix well.
  • Next, add the ground paste of grated coconut, chillies and onions.
  • Stir well and wait till it comes to a boil. Simmer the flame.
  • To garnish, in a separate pan heat some coconut oil, add mustard seeds and bay leaves. Add sambhar and serve hot with idlis, dosas or rice.

Image: Sambhar
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Avial

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Ingredients:

  • 250 gms white pumpkin
  • 250 gms red pumpkin
  • 100 gms pointed gourd (parwal)
  • 100 gms beans
  • 100 gms carrot
  • 100 gms yams
  • 100 gms raw banana (medium-sized)
  • 100 gms black-eyed peas
  • 2 drumsticks
  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 10 green chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsps coconut oil
  • 1 cup curd
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves

Method:

  • First grind the grated coconut and green chillies into a coarse mixture. Keep this aside.
  • Now cut all vegetables (drumsticks, beans, carrot, pumpkins, yam, raw banana, padval) along their length into one and a half inch pieces.
  • In a deep vessel, pour two cups of water and steam-cook the vegetables along with the peas.
  • Add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • When the vegetables are half-cooked, add curd.
  • When the mixture comes to a boil, add the coarsely ground paste of grated coconut and green chillies and cook for 2 minutes. Mix well.
  • To garnish, in a small pan, heat two tablespoons of coconut oil and add the bay leaves.
  • Garnish the curry with bay leaves and add two tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Image: Avial

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Oalan

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Ingredients:

  • 100 gms black-eyed peas
  • 250 gms white pumpkin
  • 250 gms red pumpkin (optional)
  • Green chillies
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Method:

  • Pre-soak the black eyed peas in water for six hours.
  • Add salt and steam-cook. Keep aside.
  • Cut the green chillies along their length.
  • Slice the white pumpkin and red pumpkin into small squares of one inch each
  • In a pan, add coconut milk, salt and cook the pumpkin pieces.
  • Add the pre-cooked black-eyed peas and mix well.
  • Garnish with a generous tablespoon of coconut oil and serve hot/cold.

Image: Oalan

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Kootu

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Ingredients:

  • 250 gms chana dal
  • 1 raw banana (large)
  • 100 gms yams
  • 100 gms white pumpkin
  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 8 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Soak the chana dal in water one hour in advance.
  • Steam-cook with salt and keep aside.
  • Grind one and a half cups of coconut, pepper, six red chillies and bay leaves and keep aside.
  • Cut raw banana, yams and white pumpkin into small dices.
  • Steam-cook the above vegetables in a pan with minimal water.
  • Add salt. Also add the ground paste of coconut, pepper, red chillies and bay leaves.
  • Two minutes later, add the pre-cooked chana dal and mix well.
  • Garnish with coconut oil and serve hot with rice/roti/dosa.

Image: Kootu
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Ada Pradhaman

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Ingredients:

  • 500 gms ada
  • 4l milk
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 10 cashewnuts
  • 10 raisins

Method:

  • Wash ada thoroughly and soak in hot water for half an hour.
  • In a deep vessel, heat a litre of the milk and add ada to it.
  • Cook the ada for about 40-45 minutes.
  • Keep stirring from time to time to avoid formation of lumps.
  • As the ada gets cooked, the consistency will get thicker. Add milk and keep stirring till the ada is cooked.
  • Once the ada is fully cooked, add sugar.
  • Add the rest of the milk and stir well till colour of milk changes to pale yellow.
  • Add cardamom powder and simmer the flame.
  • In a separate pan, heat some ghee and fry the dry fruits.
  • Garnish the paysam with dry fruits and serve hot.

Image: Ada Pradhaman

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Parippu (Dal) Paysam

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Ingredients:

  • 250 gms moong dal
  • 50 gms basmati rice
  • 20 gms coconut, finely chopped
  • 20 gms raisins
  • 750 gms jaggery
  • 2 cups coconut milk (first extract)
  • 4 cups coconut milk (second extract)

Method:

To extract coconut milk:

  • Grate 300 gms of coconut and squeeze thoroughly to extract milk. Keep this aside as your first extract.
  • Now, to the same coconut, add two cups of hot water and mix well.
  • Squeeze the mixture to get a lesser consistency of coconut milk. This will be your second extract.

For paysam:

  • In a pan, heat some ghee and fry the moong dal.
  • In a vessel, pour four cups of coconut milk
  • Add basmati rice and moong dal and stir frequently for 10 minutes till it gets semi-cooked.
  • Meanwhile, in another pan, heat two tablespoons of ghee.
  • Add half cup of water and jaggery to this pan and heat well till the jaggery liquefies.
  • Sieve this mixture through a muslin cloth to clear of impurities.
  • Add the liquefied jaggery to the above mixture and stir well.
  • When it comes to a boil, add the two cups of coconut milk with thick consistency.
  • Stir and simmer. Ensure that you don't allow it to boil.
  • To garnish, in a separate pan, heat one tablespoon of ghee. Add the chopped coconut and dry fruits and fry till golden brown.
  • Garnish and serve hot/cold.

Image: Parippu (Dal) Paysam

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