Two contrasting events fall on the same day. April 15th is Good Friday – a day to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus for the Christian community. Coincidently, the same day has a jubilation twist attached to it this year for those from Kerala, India. The harvest festival of Vishu is celebrated today in Kerala. In fact, a few other states in India also celebrate harvest festivals these days. Today I will talk about Vishu Sadya.
In Kerala, Vishu marks the beginning of the New Year as per the Malayalam Calendar. The festival also welcomes the advent of the harvest season. The Hindu mythology narrates the tale of Lord Krishna killing a demon on this day thereby making it an auspicious day. The significance of the day becomes more prominent in Hindu households. As they revere the day worshipping Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu.
The day is dotted with several religious and festive activities. The grand feast or ‘Vishu Sadya' associated with it lights up the day for everyone.
This year, awkwardly, a section of the households in Kerala will be in the mood of Good Friday while another will be indulging in festivity. No doing away with the reality and the people of Kerala accept it wholeheartedly. And those inclined, irrespective of their religious sentiments, enjoy the Vishu Sadya despite it being Good Friday.
With the inputs from my friend, Vidya insta@foodn_foodonly, a Vishu Sadya platter is presented in front of you. A completely vegetarian menu; authentically South Indian and enticingly flavorsome. And the best part is, the Vishu Sadya is prepared by her.
Akin to Onam sadya, Vishu sadya also is served on plantain leaf. The dishes served are more or less the same. Here is the Vishu sadya menu:
This dish is prepared differently in different parts of Kerala. A Palakkad version is prepared by Vidya. Mixed vegetables such as elephant yam, carrot, drumstick, beans, plantain, ash gourd, etc. make it wholesome. By adding curds, grated coconut, spices, and salt, the dish becomes a delicious part of Vishu Sadya.
Thick yellow gravy attracts you first up. Elephant yam and raw plantain are the major ingredients. Vegetables cooked with turmeric powder and black pepper powder are then sautéed nicely in butter. Beaten curds, coconut paste made using coconut, green chilies, and cumin seed are added into it before boiling until the gravy becomes slightly thick. The final touch is done with fenugreek powder, mustard seeds, black gram, curry leaves, and dry red chili.
Kootukari (mixed veg curry)
Elephant yam, raw plantain, and black gram are cooked with spices. Coconut, curry leaves, cumin seed, and green chili are ground to a coarse consistency and added to it. Like a secret ingredient, jaggery syrup is also added. Roasted coconut and dry red chilies complete the formalities.
Another Vishu special delicacy with a touch of sweetness. Cooked red beans, pumpkin, shallots, and green chilies combine to relish you. Coconut milk is added to boil the pumpkin until it is cooked. Once cooked well, with a dash of coconut oil and curry leaves, you can enjoy Olan.
The color can just entice you. Yes, it is beets after all. Cooked Beetroot is pulsed in a mixer jar until it is grainy. The taste is multiplied with a blend of coconut, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, green chilies, and curry leaves. Thick curd is poured into this after switching off the flame. A bit of seasoning with coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dry red chilies do it well.
Dry veg curry
Usually cabbage it is. Finely chopped cabbage is added to coconut oil, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Then cooked by adding salt, red chili powder, and turmeric powder until cooked well.
Vegetables such as ash gourd, pumpkin, drumstick, yam, potato, ladyfinger, etc. constitute sambar. How nourishing, ain't it? Along with shallots, tomato and green chilies, legume, tamarind water, and salt further enrich it. Not over yet. Spices like coriander & mustard seeds, red chilies, turmeric, asafoetida, and fenugreek powder enhance the taste.
Imagine the perfect blend of tomatoes, green chilies, tamarind pulp, water, salt, curry leaves, and coriander leaves. And rasam mix (made by grinding coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder, curry leaves, and garlic). Finally, garnish the dish with coconut oil, mustard seeds, dry red chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida, and fenugreek powder. A sip and it is pure bliss.
Inchicurry/ Inji Puli
Inji (ginger) and puli (tamarind) are the key ingredients for Inchicurry/Inji puli hence the name. Different regions have different names but the sweet, tangy, and spicy tastes remain the same.
Slightly thick tamarind water made by soaked tamarind pulp is the base. Then go for finely chopped ginger and green chilies roasted in sesame oil. Adding jaggery, red chili, turmeric powder, and salt, the mixture is boiled until it becomes thick. The final touch is given with mustard seeds, split black gram, chickpea, and curry leaves.
Green chilies, ginger, curry leaves and salt blended into buttermilk gives a nourishing feel to this drink.
Thinly cut mango pieces are pickled in red chili powder, ginger, green chilies, fenugreek & asafoetida powder, curry leaves, vinegar, coconut oil, and salt. Unlike other mango pickles, this pickle can be kept only for about a week (refrigerated). It is spicy and tangy and can be enjoyed with rice.
Vishu Sadya is not about spicy food if you assumed so.
The yellow, round banana chips are common these days. Salted raw plantain fried in coconut oil never goes out of demand.
Sharkkara Upperi is a unique Kerala delicacy. It is fried raw plantains dipped in a syrup made of jaggery, cardamom powder, cumin powder, and dry ginger powder.
A common side dish. But a combination of pappad and banana with payasam is so mouthwatering. A must try at Vishu Sadya.
By slow-cooking milk and sugar, you prepare the base for this sweet delicacy. Sugar is caramelized to get the pink shade.
Ada is made of rice. Cooked Ada is added to this milk and boiled until it achieves a rich and fragrant consistency. Tempting?
Small verities of bananas are served at Vishu Sadya. The fruit gives the final touch.
Have you been served? Is there any flavor missing in your Vishu Sadya? 😋 Do let us know.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers