Deutsch: Onam / Español: Onam / Português: Onam / Français: Onam / Italiano: Onam

Onam is a major annual festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala and by Malayalee communities around the world. In the context of food, Onam is particularly renowned for its sumptuous feast known as 'Onam Sadya', a vegetarian meal that is traditionally served on a banana leaf and consists of a variety of dishes.


Onam Sadya is an integral part of the festival, symbolizing the spirit of the season and is famous for its variety and complexity. The meal typically features over 20 to 25 dishes, including rice as the main staple, accompanied by a range of side dishes such as sambar, avial, thoran, and pachadi. Desserts are an essential part of the feast, with 'payasam' (a sweet pudding made from milk, sugar, and rice or vermicelli) being the most prominent. This feast is not only a culinary delight but also a cultural emblem that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Kerala. Each dish in the Sadya is prepared using specific ingredients and methods that are believed to balance the flavors and nutrition, making it not only delicious but also wholesome.

Application Areas

Onam Sadya is specifically associated with the Onam festival and is prepared and enjoyed during this time, which usually falls in August or September, marking the start of the harvest season. It is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate, and the Sadya plays a central role in the festivities.

Well-Known Examples

Some of the standout dishes in an Onam Sadya include:

  • Avial: A thick mixture of vegetables and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves.
  • Sambar: A hearty stew made of lentils and vegetables, flavored with tamarind and spices.
  • Rasam: A spicy and tangy soup typically made from tamarind, tomatoes, and spices.
  • Payasam: A sweet dessert pudding, which can be made in several varieties, including rice, lentil, and vermicelli based preparations.


Payasam Recipe: Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rice or vermicelli
  • 1 liter milk
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (to taste)
  • Cardamom pods (crushed, to taste)
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • A handful of cashew nuts and raisins


  1. Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan, fry the cashews and raisins until golden, then remove and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the rice or vermicelli and roast until light golden.
  3. Pour in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice or vermicelli is cooked and the mixture thickens.
  4. Add sugar and crushed cardamom, and continue to cook until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Add the fried cashews and raisins, stir well.
  6. Serve hot or chilled as desired.


Onam Sadya is a feast that celebrates the bounty of nature and the culinary expertise of Kerala. It is a festive meal that brings together an array of dishes, each with its own flavor and significance, reflecting the cultural and gastronomic richness of the region.


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