Onam is an auspicious occasion for people who hail from the very southern corner of India. The festival of Onam is celebrated by Malayalis all around the world. It is a secular festival celebrated with equality. Onam reminds me of my childhood days both in North India and Kerala. My whole family used to participate in the Onam programs while we were in North India. I vaguely remember the practice sessions conducted at our home for the drama my Mom and Dad were part of and later the Air force group competed against HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) group and won the price. For us kids, it was the time of merriment, get together and special occasion to get new South Indian style attires. When we moved back to Kerala, the celebration was different. We used to put flower arrangement in our Veranda and we celebrated Onam with a huge vegetarian feast at my grand parent's house with all other family members. Women looked prettier than ever with their golden bordered off white sarees called 'Settu Saree/Settu Mundu' and fresh jasmine flowers on their hair. Men in their 'Mundu/Dhotis' adds the zeal to the occasion. We would spend the whole day from dawn to dusk at my grand parents house.
Time flew by and I am here in another corner of the world writing about my childhood memories of Onam. We have a small community of Malayalis here and there is Onam celebration every year which we all take pride of. We do participate in many activities with our kids and it is such a joy to see everyone in their keralite attire come together as one big family. The sumptuous vegetarian meal will be the highlight of the day. I try to prepare the Onam Sadhya at home and we feast them on banana leaves ( we adjust with the frozen leaves).
Since Onam is around the corner, I want to share a simple recipe that is part of 'Onam Sadhya'. The traditional dish is made with cucumber, but there are tons of variations to this recipe. I had prepared the dish with green apples that I picked the other day. Little Noah was my helper to pick few from a small apple tree from his school. The apples were not too sour and not sweet either, so it was a perfect pachadi when paired with some steaming rice and mango pickle.
The traditional recipe calls for crushed mustard seeds, but I omit that because I don't like that taste. Feel free to add 1/4 tsp crushed mustard seeds with fenugreek powder if you like it.
1/2 cup - peeled and chopped green apple ( Granny smith)
1 clove - garlic finely chopped
1 tsp - finely chopped ginger
1/4 cup - chopped shallots or red onions
1 - green chili chopped
1 - dry red chili broken into 2 pieces
1/4 tsp - mustard seeds
1/8 tsp - roasted fenugreek powder
1 1/2 tsp - oil
1 - sprig curry leaves
2 cups - plain low fat yogurt
salt to taste
- Splutter 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds in 1 1/2 tsp oil. Add chopped garlic and ginger and cook till golden yellow. Add chopped onions, salt, red and green chili and cook for 2 - 3 minutes on low heat.
- Now add the chopped green apple and saute till apple pieces and soft. Add fenugreek powder and curry leaves and give a good stir. Turn off the heat.
- Finally add the plain yogurt to the tadka mix and enjoy with steaming plain rice.