• Kieumy, BOM, London

Celebrating cultures around the world: Onam, the state festival of Kerala, India

At BOM, we're all for celebrating traditions and cultures from all around the world. This month, the spotlight is on "Onam", one of the most popular festivals celebrated in Kerala, India. People in Kerala celebrate this festival by organising an elaborate feast known as Onam Sadya, with over 2 dozen plant-based dishes prepared and served on banana leaves.

Here are the dishes that are prepared for Onam:

  1. Papadam: They are thin crispy flat bread, similar to crackers, made from different types of flours.

  2. Choru: This rice is made from matta rice, which is known for its health benefits because of its outer bran.

  3. Moru curry: This dish is made by boiling yogurt till you reach the perfect consistency, topped with shallots, ginger, garlic and black sesame seeds

  4. Sambar: Cooked with many veggies, from potatoes to beans to carrots, this surely is nutritious.

  5. Rasam: This spicy tamarind soup, sprinkled with curry leaves, mustard and tomatoes, is the perfect blend to aid in digestion

  6. Parippu curry: Plain moong dal topped with ghee, black sesame seeds and red chillies

  7. Pachadi: This is a yogurt based dish, which can be made from pineapples or bitter gourd, along with grated coconut and other spices.

  8. Kichadi: Made with cucumbers in a yogurt base and topped with some spices, this dish is refreshingly cool.

  9. Thoran: Thoran is a staple dish in this cuisine and can be made with any vegetable. The most common thorans are made from cabbage, beetroot, carrot, and beans mixed with grated coconut and mustard seeds.

  10. Olan: Made with ash gourd and red beans in a coconut milk base. This curry is perfect for those who can't handle spicy food.

  11. Kootu curry: Made with raw bananas, black chickpeas and grated coconut

  12. Nendran Chips: Chips made from raw plantain and fried in coconut oil, a healthier alternative to regular chips

  13. Inji Puli: Made from ginger, tamarind and jaggery along with a host of other spices, this side dish is rich in flavour

  14. Mango pickle: Made with raw mangoes, spices and oil, this dish remains the most popular out of all the pickles

  15. Sarkara Upperi: This is a sweet version of banana chips, coated with jaggery and mixed with other herbs. One bite of this will certainly leave you wanting more

  16. Kalan: Made with raw bananas, grated coconut in a yogurt base

  17. Erissery: Made with pumpkin, red beans and a whole lot of grated coconut

  18. Avial: The perfect mixed vegetable dish, that is super healthy for you

  19. Mezhukkupuratti: This dish can be made with beans or yam, boiled with spices and fried in coconut oil

  20. Puliserry: This dish too can be made from any vegetable of your choice, from mango to cucumber, and is topped with grated coconut

  21. Sambaram: Spicy buttermilk topped with curry leaves, green chillies and ginger

  22. Paruppu Pradhaman: This dessert made with mung beans, jaggery and coconut milk, will leave you wanting for more

  23. Paal payasam: A delicious, creamy milk pudding made with rice, milk, cashews and raisins

  24. Ada pradhaman: This is variation of the payasam made with Ada rice, jaggery, nuts and raisins

It's time to start exploring different cuisines, cooking styles and new foods! You might be surprised what you will discover when you try something different and a little less familiar!

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