Onam Sadya Recipes Preparation | How to plan for Onam Sadya

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This is part of my Onam Sadya I prepared for Mega BM for Indian States
On the day I planned, Konda was away on a school tour and I very badly missed her help. I started my preparation at 9 in the morning, with interludes of breakfast preparation happening, I completed it by 12.30 pm. Amma said she will help me, however seeing the way I looked, with four, plus a MW going, she said she better just sit and assist if needed.
We are not new to Kerala food, infact I must say that its almost like our home food. Amma always has the pure cooking coconut oil with her as well. I don’t use much as Hubby dear is not very fond of the oil. However I know he loves the dishes minus the oil. So decided I would cook with regular one.
I also had some dietary restrictions that I had to follow and that meant I include dishes that can be eaten by all. I decided on my menu based on what could be feasible with the given time frame. Initially I was looking at making some 5 – 6 dishes. Finally I ended up making about 10 dishes.
Infact I was planning on a bigger menu was in a better position. Still I was quite happy with the end result.
This Sadya Menu does not cover all the dishes that is prepared as part of Onam Sadya. However its my humble attempt at making all the dishes in one shot. I made about 12 dishes and the time frame given below is more for my own reference than anything else!
My Onam Sadya recipes are heavily adapted from Sangeetha and Rajani. I was drooling and feasting over their pages for several days and this is the end result. I would like to thank them for being so generous in sharing their knowledge and wonderful pictures of Sadya dishes.
All the dishes are very simple to make, provided you understand what goes in first and what needs to be prepped ahead of time.
Since this feast is going to be a Neivedyam, everything has to be fresh. So there is no question of you chopping or cutting the previous night. Serving has to be on a Banana leaf, so ensure you visit your market early morning to get fresh leaves.
Menu Selection
Since I had some of the Sadya dishes already done, I didn’t pick them up.
I decided on making two Thorans, Kootu Curry, Paruppu curry, Olan, Sambar, Rasam and Payasam
For Thoran, I was making Indian Broad Beans and Potato
For the Kootu curry I was using Raw Banana and Pumpkin
For Sambar I was using Lady’s Finger, Drumstick, Potato
For Olan its Black Eyed Peas and Pumpkin

Preparation for Cooking:

Previous Night
Soak Brown Channa and Black eyed Peas overnight. Change water couple of times and pressure cook separately.

On the day of cooking:

Have two coconut grated. I got about 4 cups of grated coconut.

Soak the Sambar, which uses Shallots, onions are not used mostly, unless mentioned.
Soak the Tamarind for Sambar and Rasam

Rice Soaking

Since I was planning on cooking Chemba Rice, this needs more washing and soaking. So did that in the beginning itself.

Soak Ponni Rice separately for those who don’t’ eat Chemba Rice.

Prepare the ground paste:

Take 2 and 1/2 cup of grated Coconut and grind it along with 10 – 12 green chilies with 2 tsp of Cumin. Grind to an almost smooth paste without adding water.

Boiling the Vegetables

Since I was choosy on the vegetables used, I ended using Pumpkin, Raw Banana. Pressure cook these vegetables separately for 1 whistle each. Drain and rinse

Boiling the Dried beans

Change the soaked chickpea and Black eyed peas couple of times and pressure cook with enough water for 3 whistles.

Prepping the Vegetables.


I was making two dry vegetable dishes. So chopped them first and make the thoran. Since these need to be cooked on simmer, you can start with these two.

For Sambar

Chop Drumstick and Potato, MW each for 5 – 7 mins.

Peel and chop Onions required for Potato fry and Sambar.

Cooking the rice

Chemba Rice takes a long time to soak, so soak this the beginning itself. You will have to wash it nearly some 6 -7 times, till you get a clear water. Rice is cooked by draining method and not absorption method, so bring a big pot of water to boil. I soaked it for nearly 40 – 45 mins. Then in a big Pressure cooker, I cooked the rice.

As the rice was getting cooked, I got the regular rice soaked and pressure cooked as well.

Extracting Coconut Milk

Coconut was ground for the Milk required for Olan.

Once all the vegetables are cooked, you can start the preparation right away.

This is the order in which I cooked

I started with the stir fries,
Pressure cooked Brown Channa and Black Eyed Peas
Pressure cooked Raw Plantain and Pumpkin
MW Split moong dal
Next went on to make Kootu Curry and Paruppu Curry.
Had the milk boiling for Payasam
Then prepared podis for Sambar and Rasam
MW vegetables for Sambar.
Rasam on the cooker, Samabar on the pan
Once done, tempering for all dishes.
Fried Papad and Appalam.

All the dishes require tempering at the end, so the best way to make is to cook the vegetables and take whats needed for which recipe and add the ground paste, bring to boil and finally temper in one shot.

As with all traditional thalis, serving on the Banana leaf follows a rule.

You start with serving the salt on the left narrow spot.
Next the Banana Chips, Sarkara Varatti (both store bought)
On the top left corner, place the pickles. Puli Inji is an important dish that I didn’t make. I just served Mango pickle
Next comes the Thorans/ Dry Vegetable Stir Fries
Next are the Pachadis and Khichadis –  Cucumber Pachadi
Next the side dishes with vegetables
I made Kootu Curry, Olan,
What I missed are the Erissery, Aviyal,
Next on the plate goes the Rice
Plain Rice
Chemba Rice
Paruppu Curry
then you have Kalan, Pulissery, Moor curry ( didn’t make any of this)
Next goes the Sambar/ Rasam
Varutharacha Sambar
Garlic Rasam
then you have buttermilk and curd served

Finally you have the Payasam/Kheer
Palada Payasam

Even this small feast was so heavy for us and my family enjoyed as expected. I was very glad that I managed to make it.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56

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  1. This is a very good and helpful post for beginners like us..really it shall help. I remember when I made the Sadya, I took help from Rajani and my daughter Barkha, who was versed with South cuisine.

  2. Valli reading your post itself is making me dizzy. How on earth did you manage. Must appreciate your dedication to making the thali and must appreciate the help you get. I am coming back to read your post later. Its needs concentration which I lack now.

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