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Onam Sadhya : The ideal meal for diabetics

If you are a Malayali you most likely know what we are talking about, if not then read on.

Onam is an ancient festival celebrated in the month of ‘Chingam’.It is the annual celebration of the visit of the Asura King ‘Mahabali’. The era of Mahabali was considered the golden time of Kerala.Onam is celebrated over 10 days starting from Attham. The most important day is Thiru Onam- which celebrates the birthday of Sri Padhmanabhan, the ruling deity of Thiruvananthapuram.

This year onam is on 27th August, and no onam celebration is complete without the Onam Sadhya. 

It is a feast of 26 dishes spread across a banana leaf. It is a 3 course meal comprising of a main dish, dry side dish and pickles and a dessert.

The Sadya is a complete meal that has some of the healthiest dishes. All the Onam dishes have some ingredient that have a number of health benefits, turning Sadya into power house of nutrients.

Making 26 could be a task and therefore we bring you a Mini Sadhya with 3 items from a list of 26 that are easy to prepare and healthy at the same time.

  • Morru Kachiyatha : If you’re a Malayali, then you know it’s one of those healthy, comfort food you are bound to love.

To prepare this you’ll need: 

  • Buttermilk: 500 ml
  • 4-5 small onions/pearl onion ( you can get this at any malayali store)
  • Chopped ginger: 2 tsp
  • Green chilli slit: 3-4
  • Dry red chilli : 2
  • Turmeric: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard: 1/4 tsp
  • A pinch of Fenugreek
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

How to prepare: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan.
  2. Add mustard and fenugreek seeds and let it splutter.
  3. Add red chilli, small onions chopped, ginger, green chilli and curry leaves.
  4. Fry it for 1-2 minutes
  5. Add turmeric powder and salt as per taste. Mix well.
  6. Add buttermilk and stir.
  7. Stir this continuously, do not let it boil.
  8. Remove from gas, stir for a few more minutes. And that’s it you are done!
  • Thoran: A staple in every Malayali household, this is usually made with cabbage and carrots with grated coconut.

To prepare this you’ll need: 

  • 1 medium sized cabbage
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds, also called rai
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 or 2 tblsp coconut oil
  • Salt as per taste

How to prepare: 

  1. Rinse the cabbage and shred it.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Add mustard seeds and saute till they crackle.
  4. Next add in the cumin and saute.
  5. Add the chopped onions, green chilli and curry leaves. Saute for about a minute or so.
  6. Add in the turmeric powder and asafoetida. Mix well.
  7. Finally add it the shredded cabbage and salt.
  8. Saute for a minute and then cover this on low flame.
  9. Steam cook till cabbage is tender and once the mix gets a bit dry add the coconut and stir.
  10. Cook this for another 2-3 mins and garnish with coriander leaves in the end.
  • Kichadi: Spiced yogurt with a vegetable – okra, bitter gourd or cucumber.

To prepare this you’ll need: 

  • Okra,also called Bhindi : 1/2 kg ( uniformly chopped round slices)
  • Green chillies: 4-5 finely chopped
  • Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Oil: 3 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies: 2
  • Curry leaves: a few

How to prepare: 

  1. Wash and pat dry the okra. Cut the ends and chop into round slices.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped okra. Add in the green chilli and fry on medium flame.
  3. When the okra turns slightly brown toss it periodically so that it does not burn.
  4. Once done, keep this aside.
  5. In a small pan, add oil and temper it with mustard seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves.
  6. Mix this a while and then add in the cooled and cooked okra.
  7. Cover this mix and set it aside for 10 mins so that the flavors blend.
  8. Finally serve with steamed rice.


All the above preparations go along with some brown rice and papadam ( papad).

Though all these preparations are high in terms of health and nutritional value, it is still advised to keep a track of your blood sugar levels using a glucometer. 

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