An Onam that was….


I am not a fan of festivals. No, let me rephrase that! I am not a fan of the festivals when I have to do all the work! There , I said it. Nothing new. Laziness is something that people in my life have accepted me with. A golden trait that hasn’t changed much since I was a young thing. An advantage of being the youngest of three sisters is that I rarely have to make any Sadhya on my own. I generally go to their homes and enjoy the feast. And if mom is around to cook the Sadhya in a way only she can, there is nothing to match the festivities of an authentic Onam or Vishu.

I try, I really do, most of the times when the sisters are out of town, to make an honest attempt at copying my mom’s recipes. This time because of the aches and pains, I had opted out of doing all the cooking and even Pookalam (Floral Carpet) was just a “may be I will” possibility up until around 7pm on the eve of Onam 2012.

Kalyan Silks has an outlet here in Dubai too. We went to buy the Onakodi from there for a change. On an impulse, I made the decision to make the Sadhya too. Off we went to Lulu Hypermarket to do the Onam Shopping. Everything is made easily available to recreate the feeling of Onam in this foreign land. It has been so for many years now. The restaurants deliver Sadhya home too. One never misses much, except the extended families (or families in some cases).

The cooking process is a tedious one. We get fresh grated coconut in packets here, so a major job is already dealt with. Then there is the vegetable cutting job that takes up a lot of time. This time it was just the four of us, so the quantity required was very less and hence this wasn’t a mammoth task either. But it is time consuming. I made the Pulinjhi (Recipe coming soon on my Recipe blog) too at home for the first time. I generally buy the pickles from the shop otherwise. I also attempted to make Paalada (Recipe coming soon on my Recipe blog) all by myself this time.

All in all , a small family version of the Sadhya was on the table by 2 pm Dubai Time. Believe it or not, it was almost like my mom’s Sadhya. Even if I do say so myself. Naah…. my second sister’s sadhya and my elder sister’s maid’s Sadhya is nowhere even close to my mom’s sadhya in taste. Yeah, I know I am a mean soul. But since no one is there to celebrate my success, I am doing it myself. Anything wrong in it??? Tell me tell me? No, don’t shake your heads in disgust. Please… 😦

Anyways, this Onam ended up being a good one after all. I was kind of depressed the day before Onam. But we managed to pull it off. The kids helped with the pookalam and the Paayasams and the hubby helped with the dishes. So I guess it was a combined effort . Onam is all about celebrating as a family. And that we accomplished. How can one ask for more than that? No one knows what tomorrow will bring about. Today is all we have. Right?


21 thoughts on “An Onam that was….

    • Yes, we do get Banana leaves here regularly. And we get in abundance during Onam and Vishu. Fresh Flowers too.

      I was brought up here in Dubai. Onam or Vishu were not always on a weekend, but mom always made the Sadhya whichever way possible. At that time things were not available so easily here and she had to plan for it days ahead and go shopping at different places. And I am glad she did.She didn’t let the tradition die off and neither will I. 🙂


  1. Jyothi,

    Beautiful Pookkalam and elaborate onam sadhya…every thing looks delicious and authentic…I celebrate onam after marriage, this year I too pulled myself to make floral rangoli and few onam dishes…it was too hectic but at the end it was very satisfying …my post is still in the draft.

    Thanks for sharing your onam celebration…Happy onam. 🙂


  2. V have always celebrated Onam bcoz v had a lot many keralite friends. So it has always been special. Especially bcoz my mom delivered me after she had the Sadya. Till then I refused to come out I believe 😉
    This year had a grand feast at the temple on friday. Inji chutney I love and also the stew . Ur spread looks delicious


    • No wonder you like Sadhyas. 🙂 In different parts of Kerala the Sadhya Vattoms or items differ. We generally don’t serve Stew with Sadhya. A similar curry called “Olan” is served which is also made of coconut milk. 🙂

      The dish with curd, ginger, green chillies is called “Inghi Thairu”. It is always added as the +1 dish. Symbolic of the 101 items to be served for the feast. I wonder how the Banana leaf will look with 101 curries! Must research on this more. 🙂

      Thank you. 🙂


  3. wow that floral rangoli is lovely…i loved the color combo…
    And that food looks yummy…You know I alwaye feel that festivals are special and even if we can do a little traditional thing it becomes all the more better….

    And u did all this in such a short time and in ur present health…wow!!!!

    Belated Onam wishes my dear 🙂


    • Thank You Smita. 🙂 I am not much of an artist. Pookkalam for me , just happens according to the availability of the flowers. The idea is to use up every petal bought in the best way possible. 😀 Sometimes it works out well. Sometimes it doesn’t. 😀


  4. during my stay at Port Blair i used to go to my south Indian friends and enjoy these dishes on the eve of Onam…..but now while staying in Bihar i miss those….

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post, you reminded me of my South Indian friends….
    Thank you 🙂


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