Kerala Cuisines Sadhya
Kerala Cuisine
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Sadya means banquet in Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala, India).It is also known Virundhu Sappadu in Tamil.

A Sadya is a big feast associated with a special occasion, such as a marriage, birthday, childbirth etc. A Sadya is traditionally a vegetarian meal served on a plantain or banana leaf; people eat sitting cross-legged on the floor. Sadhya can have 24 - 28 dishes served in it.

The dishes are plain boiled rice, many curries, papadum, plain yogurt or buttermilk, banana or plantain chips, and two or more sweet dishes. The curries are made of different vegetables and have different flavourings. They can be made of yogurt, bitter gourd, mango, jaggery, etc. The reason for including so many dishes in the Sadya is to ensure that the diners will like at least two or three dishes.[4]

Coconut, being abundant in Kerala, is used in almost all dishes. Coconut milk also finds various uses in cooking. Coconut oil is used for frying.

There is a specific place for each item on the plantain leaf. For example, the pickles are served on the top left corner and banana on the bottom left corner. Thus, the waiters can easily identify the requirement of the diner by just looking at his leaf.

There are variations in the menu according to the place and the religion. Some communities include non-vegetarian dishes in the sadya. Although custom was to use traditional and seasonal vegetables, it has become common practice to include vegetables such as carrots, pineapples, beans in the dishes. Onion and garlic are not typically used in the sadya.

The sadya is usually served as lunch. Preparations begin the night before, and the dishes are prepared before ten o" clock in the morning on the day of the celebration. On many occasions, sadya is served on dining tables, as people no longer find it convenient to sit on the floor.

All the dishes are served on the plantain leaf; it requires a special skill to eat the food. The food is eaten with the hands without use of any cutlery. The fingers are cupped to form a laddle.

Traditionally, the people of the neighbourhood spent the night helping the cooks in works like scraping coconut and cutting vegetables. These people also volunteered to serve the food to the guests. This lent a personal touch to the occasion. Enterprise and urban demands on time and space have now made it possible for the work to be contracted to professional catering services.

Conventionally, the meal may be followed by vettila murukkan, chewing of betel leaf with lime and arecanut. This helps digestion of the meal and also cleanses the palate
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