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We are in the middle of the festive season, when our fitness resolutions are put to test. Mine at least…..
Starting from the excellent food at the Ganapati pandals (GSB being my favourite) to the Durga Pujo pandals to Dussehra,Diwali, Christmas… Oh and I forgot Onam, my latest love after having an amazing Onasadya in Kochi. Sadyas are traditional banquets in Kerala. Food is cooked in Giant urlis and served on a banana leaf.
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Here are a few interesting protocols that I found out after eating a lot of sadya.The banana leaf is placed so that its narrow part always points to the left side. Sadya is served from the top left corner of the leaf, on which is placed in order, a small yellow banana, sarkara upperi (shakkar paras) and papad. Then the mango pickle, injipuli (a thick ginger tamarind curry), lime pickle, and the thoran, olan, avial, pachadi, kichadi, Erissery (a pumpkin chori bean combination like no other) and salt are placed in order. Here’s where I lose patience and focus and delve deep into awesome food!

This Onasadya was special for two things that I learnt. One — payasam and crushed papad (Apallam) is an amazing combination because it gives you the sweet and salty balance that is so “in” (and it soaks up the milk so that you can eat payasam with your fingers just like the pros) and two Palada is the best dessert ever, hence I am sharing a must-try recipe with you.
Well now that I am done expressing my immense new love for Sadya, allow me a few gyan lines on eating in the festive times. Almost all our festivals accompany change of seasons and hence a change of produce. All our traditional festive fare is based food being essential to how we feel and having a certain effect on our mind and body, whether it’s the gajak and til laddu in the chilly Lohri to warm our body or the Thandai in Holi to cool it down, food is meant to sync the change outside with what’s happening Inside us. To sum it up this gyan conversation — eat seasonal and local… and this festive season might initiate a very healthy phase in your life. Eat traditional because that’s what will sync with you. Try and remember what your grand-mother used to cook as special festive dishes, dig out these “well-being” recipes this festive season, cook them (and please share them with me). Wishing you a healthy happy eating!!!
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figuring out the sadya kitchen
Palada Payasam
300 gms Unakkalari / uncooked rice
2 tsp coconut oil
4 litres milk
50 gms sugar
800 gms sugar
1. Wash the rice well and grind it with water. Add sugar and coconut oil to it, and mix it till it is becomes thinner than the dosa batter consistency, but thick enough to be spread on a leaf.
2. Tear the banana leaves into five portions and remove the fibers. Spread the batter on each leaf, flatten and smoothen it out, steam it.
3. Gently separate each ada from the leaf when it cools. Cut each of the adas into very small pieces.
4. Into an urli pour some milk and when it boils add the sugar and continue boiling until it thickens.
5. Add the ada pieces into it when the solution is well reduced / thickened. Serve warm.


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