Why do I cook at Sadya at home?
My father who was an excellent cook made our Onam sadya every year he was at home. It was a ritual he picked up from his father.So Amma and we (my brother and I) were roped in as his assistants.
He started the evening before, setting aside the vegetables for each dish. He was very particular about the proportions. And once we had a refrigerator at home our parents would cut the vegetables the night before.
However, all cooking was begun early in the morning. Breakfast on Onam day was just nendran banana steamed. We were all too busy to eat. Both burners would be on, the kitchen counter and dining table would be full with vegetables and grated coconut. Once the final prathaman was done 'pakarpu' would go to friends or neighbours who didn't do an elaborate sadya. It was much awaited as Achan's reputation as a cook was well known in our circles.
The first few years away from home I didn’t dare attempt it and slowly I began with mini Sadyas. Then I went all out doing the sadya except the chips and pickles at home (making these was simply beyond my capacity) .
What convinced me was that the couple of times I tried Sadyas outside the home, it seemed very alienating for me and R to sit amongst strangers and eat a very ordinary sadya cooked by an unknown person/s. I decided then that it was far better to make what we could, invite a few friends and enjoy the food.
Since I began working with farmers 17 years back it also became a way to honour the farmers. If they can sow, tend and harvest crops for us season after season, the least I can do is to cook during the harvest festival valorising the crops they have grown and honouring the farmers who have grown them.
So, if you have been thinking that a sadya is beyond you, and haven't booked a sadya yet, a few quick tips. You can get your chips, inji puli , banana , pappadum etc from outside. Target one payasam, sambar, aviyal, olan and thoran/poriyal and a pachadi. Get a delicious table rice and you will find yourself enjoying yourself! Don't hesitate, go for it!
Bio Basics has a delicious inji puli, chips, delicious jaggery, coconuts and most of the ingredients you need for a sadya!
Happy Onam to all of you who are celebrating!
Co-founder, Bio Basics