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3 Traditional Onam Recipes to Feast On!

Aug 09, 2018


Onam is just around the corner, and Malayalis all over the world are gearing up for the festival. Indulging in the traditional vegetarian banquet of 26 delicacies definitely serves an important part of the celebrations. Of course, looking at the lives we lead nowadays, cooking all the delicacies may get a tad difficult. Keeping this in mind, we have selected three easy Onam recipes for you to try that form an inevitable part of the traditional Onam Sadya (vegetarian platter).

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An authentic Onam Sadya dish consisting of mixed vegetables with a base of coconut and yogurt that takes comfort food up another notch.

Looks like a lot of work, right? Kozhappam onnu illya! This recipe is an easy-peasy affair.


1 long stick Drumsticks (Moringa pods) – peeled and chopped into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 Raw banana/plantain – chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 Potato – chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 small Carrot - chopped into 2 inch pieces
4 French beans - chopped
150 gm Ash gourd - chopped into 2 inch pieces
100 gm Snake gourd - chopped into 2 inch pieces
150 gm Elephant foot yam - chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 cup Grated coconut
½ cup Yogurt
4 Chillies – sliced length wise
½ tsp. Cumin seeds
2-3 sprigs Curry leaves
¼ tsp. Turmeric powder
3-4 Shallots/small onion – crushed
½ tsp. Chilli powder (optional)
2-3 tbsp Coconut oil
1 ½ Cup approx. Water
As required Salt



  • Heat water in kadhai and add the vegetables. Add green chillies, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt as well. Keep cooking on a low flame till its half cooked. Ensure that its doesn’t get overcooked.
  • Mix the coconut oil with the shallots and keep aside.
  • Grind together cumin seeds and the grated coconut into a coarse paste. Do not add too much of water in this.
  • Stir in the curry leaves and grounded paste to the half cooked vegetables and cook on a low flame for 2-3 mins.
  • Beat the yogurt and pour it into the vegetables as well. Mix it well, then turn off the flame.
  • Finally, add the crushed shallots and coconut oil mixture to the veggies and stir. Serve immediately.                                                                                 

Accompany this dish with a plate of steamed rice and a hot bowl of sambhar.


Serves: 4

This humble dish of ash gourd/cucumber and buttermilk offers a range of subtle flavours that plays on your palate, showcasing once again that simple can be phenomenal. Kalakki, right?


2 cups Buttermilk
1 cup Ash gourd / cucumber - chopped
2 Shallots/small onions - chopped
¾ cup Grated coconut
3 Green chillies
3 cloves Garlic – peeled
1 tsp. Cumin seeds
1 tsp. Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
½ tsp. Turmeric powder
1-2 Dry red chillis
¼ tsp. Red chili powder
2 sprigs Curry leaves
2-3 tsp. Coconut oil
1 cup Water
As required Salt



  • Use a quality mixer grinder to blend together the grated coconut, garlic, shallots, green chillies and cumin seeds.
  • Cook ash gourd/cucumber in ¾ cup of water on a low flame. Ensure that it doesn’t get overcooked.
  • Once the vegetable is cooked, stir in the buttermilk and coconut paste, and let it simmer on a low flame till it starts to boil. Immediately turn off the flame. Keep an eye on the boiling process, as you don’t want the buttermilk to boil for more than a couple of minutes.
  • While the vegetable is being cooked, start with the tempering process as well. Heat coconut oil in a pan, then add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once they start sputtering, add in the red chillies and curry leaves. Now, add in the turmeric powder, chilli powder and the desired quantity of salt. Keep sautéing this until it turns golden brown.
  • Finally, add the tempered spices to the cooked vegetables. Mix it all together and serve.

This again goes fantabulously with plain piping hot rice.

Paal Payasam

Serves: 4

A creamy concoction of milk and rice, served with a generous topping of cashew nuts and raisins. Serving this at the end of the meal will make anyone go ‘Aha, Adipoli Onasadhya’!’

50 gm Raw rice
1 lt Milk
5 g Cardamom powder
50 gm Cashew nuts
25-30 gm Raisins
100 gm Sugar
50 ml Ghee



  • Soak the rice in water for around 30 mins, then drain.
  • Take a wide-bottomed heavy pan and boil the milk in it. Once it boils, add the rice and keep cooking on a low flame.
  • Once the rice becomes soft, add in the cardamom powder and sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Meanwhile, start heating ghee in a pan and fry the cashew nuts till they are slightly golden. Then add in the raisins and saute them as well.
  • Finally, stir in the cashews and raisins to the payasam and serve. You can even use a pressure cooker or a rice cooker for the same.  

The perfect dessert to complete your meal for the day.                         

Simple ingredients and no-fuss cooking process of these dishes somehow imbibes the essence of this festival, that beautiful things do not have to be overly complicated.


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