A true traveller not only becomes one with the culture they are in, they begin to enjot the staple food the locals share with them. If you are an ardent food lover then, to your delight Kerala cuisine has on offer mouth watering non vegetarian and vegetarian delights that you’d want more of. You would be able to a host of variations in the use of various herbs and spices, which would give a dish a subtle hint of an ingredient or could even make your taste buds go on an overdrive.
But for the ultimate culinary and gastronomic experience, you would have to have a ‘Sadya’. Basically, a sadya is a traditional vegetarian feast, which is served here. You could say that this is Kerala served on a platter. This feast is usually served during lunch. The meal consist of boiled rice, Pickles, Papad, side dishes usually an array of vegetable curries and desserts which include rice ‘Payasam’ served on a plantain leaf. The Curries, Pickles and savouries are arranged on the top half of the leaf and the rice is placed in the middle, which is topped off with a Papad, also commonly known as Pappadam.
Your typical sadya would begin with a serving of Parippu, a liquid curry comprising of ghee and small gram, followed by Sambar which is a stew of boiled vegetable that includes gravy of chillies, onions, lentils, turmeric and a little asafoetida. Next, Avail made out of green chillis, coconut paste and vegetables blended together, is served. Thoran and Olan are served, which are important side dishes. If this hasn’t tempted you yet, then the Upperi, Ginger pickle, Kichidi, Pachidi and Pappadam, would be sure do the trick. In case you don’t quite like the Ginger pickle, it is likely that a stock of lime or mango pickle would be available, so don’t hesitate to enquire whether it is there!
Now you would proceed to the best of the Sadya, the dessert. The desserts are usually served between your meal, which is an added bonus if you have a sweet tooth. The Payasam which is a thick liquidly which is a mixture of sweet molasses, spices and coconut, topped off with raisins and cashew nuts. There are two varieties of Payasams that are usually served, Parripu Pradhaman and Palada Pradhaman.
Well, your meal doesn’t end with the Payasam. Then Pazham, which is a golden yellow plantain, is used as an accompaniment with the Payasams. In case, you’ve not yet had your fill then another helping of rice is served along with Rasam, which is a mixture of peppercorn, tamarind juice and chilli. A fitting end to such a scrumptious meal is by having a glass of Kaalan, which is seasoned butter milk. Now, after you’ve had the Sadya you can truly say that you have experienced the true essence of Kerala.
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