Onam Sadhya Recipes | Onam Sadya 2023

Falling in the month of ‘Chingam,’ Malayalam Calendar’s first month, Onam is celebrated by the Hindus of Kerala in South India. Onam Festival too has huge amounts of food involved in its festivities, the most special being the all-vegetarian Onam Sadhya. Here, I have shared a signature compilation of Onam Recipes that are also a part of the lavish feast sadya. Most of these recipes are easy and can easily made at home.

onam sadhya served on a banana leaf with text layover.

The significance of Onam Festival is varied, of which some important ones are – one, that it is the annual harvest festival and second, that it celebrates the homecoming of the asura king Mahabali from paatal lok (the netherworlds) followed from the subsequent appearance of an avatar of Lord Vishnu, Vamana. In 2023, the main day of Onam Festival is on August 29.

Significance of Onam

Onam Festival is a 10-day festival. The last day being the main day of celebrations. Like I mentioned in the beginning, it is the rice harvest festival and is also celebrated to welcome back one of the most loved kings of Kerala, King Mahabali.  

The kind of prosperity and happiness that was witnessed in his reign remains unmatched. He was banished to the netherworld by Lord Vishnu’s avatar Vamana (a short Brahmin), yet he got a boon that he could visit his subjects once a year.

Thus, Onam becomes a festival of welcoming the king back, and the ambience of the festival is the same as it was during his reign.

Feasting with the magnificent spread of the Onam Sadhya, along with other special Onam Recipes and much merriment marks the day, in Kerala and in any part of the world a Malayali resides.

The most significant part about this Malayalam festival is that it spread the message of peace and solidarity, and is a unifying factor for not just all Malayalis residing in the picturesque state of Kerala but also for people of all other religions there.  

Onam Rituals

Although the last day of Onam Festival is considered the most noteworthy, but still all the other 9 days also hold some or the other importance and significance.

The most interesting part about the festivities is the ‘pookkalam’ – the typical designs and patterns made with flowers on the ground by women – very symbolic of Onam Festival.

Next most specific thing that symbolizes this festival is the delicious, hearty and a completely vegetarian feast of ‘Onam Sadya’ served on plantain or banana leaves.

A variety of Onam Recipes, comprising of curries, dry veggie dishes, rice, accompaniments and desserts are prepared and served in this meal.

In addition to these, people adorn themselves with new clothes and also gift each other the same in a customary tradition known as the ‘onakkodi.’

Then, there is the famous snake boat race or ‘vallamkali,’ which is a huge event organized in Kerala during this festival.

More of rituals include the decoration of elephants with ornaments, various cultural activities like music, art, Kathakali and the iconic Pulikali dance.

The Pulikali dance is a traditional form of folk-dance form in which dancers represent tigers by painting themselves in yellow and black.  

Onam Sadhya

In Malayalam language, ‘sadhya’ or ‘sadya’ means a ‘banquet.’ So, a classic Onam Sadhya is essentially a 9-course vegetarian meal with about 26 to 28 dishes that is served on a banana leaf during the Onam Festival as well as other religious occasions and weddings too.

The Onam Recipes that make up the sadya actually depict all flavours of food, and is savoured by everyone, without any barriers.

I have had the opportunity of relishing a full-fledged Onam Sadhya meal, a couple of times. In this collection, I have shared Onam Recipes that are made for the sadya during Onam Festival.

There are variations and some or the other dishes may be interchanged, depending from individual to individual. But the essence remains the same. The dishes are also served in a particular order and not randomly.

Onam Recipes

Also, before the recipes, here’s this mighty food spread, decoded for you:

  • Parippu Vadai – Fried lentil patties also commonly called Dal Vada
  • Ulundu Vadai – Donut shaped fried lentil fritters popularly known as Medu Vada
  • Parippu Curry – Moong lentils curry with coconut, pearl onions and spices
  • Moru Curry – Also referred to as Kachiya Moru is tempered buttermilk made with or without veggies.
  • Thoran – A delicious sautéed or stir-fried preparation of vegetables made in coconut oil with plenty of coconut.
  • Malli Chammanthi – Herby coriander chutney made with coconut and some more spices.
  • Thakkali Chammanthi – Tangy and spiced tomato chutney.
  • Thenga Chammanthi – Thick coconut chutney
  • Ulli Theeyal – Pearl onions or small shallots in spiced coconut-tamarind sauce.
  • Avial – Mixed vegetables in a coconut and yogurt sauce
  • Mangai Pachadi – Sweet and sour mango relish
  • Kootu Curry – Various mixed vegetables and lentils made with coconut and spices.
  • Pachadi – Tempered raita made with curd or yogurt with or without vegetables.
  • Pappadum or papad
  • Mulaku Kondattum – Curd and salt soaked and sun-dried red chilies which are deep fried.
  • Kalan – Yam or plantain or both cooked with yogurt and coconut.
  • Sambar – Lentils and vegetable stew.
  • Olan –  Simple yet delicious curry that is made with ash gourd a.k.a white pumpkin and red cowpeas in a base of coconut milk, a few spices and herbs.
  • Steamed red rice
  • Pal Payasam – Creamy rice kheer made with milk.
  • Sakrai Upperi – Jaggery coated fried sweet banana chips
  • Chakka Upperi – Fried jackfruit chips
  • Pazham Upperi – Salted banana chips made with the variety of banana called nendram pazham in Malayalam.
  • Unniyappam – Sweet appam made with jaggery and wheat flour.
  • Naranga Achar – Salty and spicy lemon pickle
  • Inji curry – Spiced tangy ginger curry
  • Manga Achar – Mango pickle
  • Ghee or nei/ney
  • Uppu or salt
  • Pazham or banana


Preparing all Onam Recipes for any sadya takes a lot of time. So, you can start the day before, chop the vegetables required for the various dishes and refrigerate them.

Grate coconut and keep in the freezer. In some of the recipes, ground paste of coconut, cumin and green chilies is used. So, you can grind this together and then use it in parts for the required recipe.

If possible, do take help while preparing the Onam Sadhya, as it does take a lot of time. Also make small portions if you are a family of 3 to 4 people, as there will be leftovers the next day.

In a few recipes I have used onion and garlic. But if you don’t use them, you can skip them or skip making the recipes where onion is the hero ingredient.

There are sambar recipes which will require a sambar powder. I would suggest to refer this Sambar Powder to make your own at home and use it in these Onam Recipes for an enhanced flavor.

If you have some of the leftover pachadi from this Onam Sadya, then you can have it with some steamed rice paired with Rasam or parippu, the next day.

Payasams or South Indian style kheers is what dominates this Onam Recipes list. And most of them require coconut milk as one of the main ingredients.

So, the best thing to do is to refer this How To Make Coconut Milk post and use the homemade one in your recipes. If at all, you can’t, then use a good branded one.

kootu curry recipe
Moderate 40 minutes

Kootu Curry | Koottukari Recipe

Kootu curry also known as koottukari or kootu kari is a curry based dish with a few veggies and legumes. it is one of the important dishes of onam sadhya.
parippu curry recipe, moong dal curry recipe
Moderate 25 minutes

Parippu Curry | Lentil Curry

Parippu Curry is simply a Moong Lentil Curry that is delicious and comforting. This lentil curry is also one of the popular ones that feature in the all-vegetarian festive feast called ‘Sadya,’ during Onam celebrations in Kerala.
olan recipe
Moderate 40 minutes

Olan Recipe

Olan is a delicious curry made with white pumpkin (ash gourd), cowpeas (red lobia or chawli) and coconut milk. Olan recipe comes from the Kerala cuisine. 
kalan recipe, kerala kalan recipe
Moderate 30 minutes

Kalan Recipe | Kerala Kalan Curry

Kalan is a tasty preparation of curd or buttermilk made with vegetables like yam and raw banana or plantain. The subtly spiced Kalan Recipe from the Kerala cuisine is not just delicious, but very soothing and comforting. It is also one of the dishes that is served in the grand feast of the Onam sadya.
cabbage thoran in an dark earthen bowl
Moderate 30 minutes

Cabbage Thoran | Cabbage Fry

Cabbage Thoran or Cabbage Fry is a dry vegetable dish from Kerala. Thoran is basically finely chopped or grated vegetables cooked with shallots, chilies, fresh grated coconut and spices.
varutharacha sambar recipe
45 minutes

Varutharacha Sambar

Kerala varutharacha sambar is a delicious variety of sambar made with mix veggies, lentils, roasted spices & coconut. Roasted coconut is one of the highlights of this sambar. 
sambar recipe kerala style, kerala sambar recipe
Moderate 1 hour 5 minutes

Kerala Sambar

This Kerala Sambar is a delicious and tasty variation of sambar made with mix vegetables, lentils, and a roasted coconut and spices ground paste. Tastes best with piping hot steamed rice or Idli or Dosa.
pepper rasam recipe, milagu rasam recipe, spicy rasam recipe
Moderate 45 minutes

Milagu Rasam | Pepper Rasam

Pepper Rasam also called Milagu Rasam is a variation of spicy rasam made with black pepper, tamarind, tomatoes and other spices. Good for cough and cold.
avial recipe, aviyal recipe
Moderate 1 hour

Avial Recipe

Avial is a healthy, flavorful dish of mix vegetables in a coconut and yogurt sauce with a finishing of coconut oil and curry leaves. It is a popular traditional recipe from the Kerala cuisine.
ulli theeyal recipe, small onion curry recipe
Moderate 50 minutes

Ulli Theeyal

Kerala ulli Theeyal is is one of the delicious gravy based dish that is served in Onam Sadya. It has a sour and spiced taste with complex flavors.
mathanga erissery served in a ceramic bowl.
Moderate 50 minutes

Mathanga Erissery | Pumpkin Erissery Recipe

Pumpkin Erissery is a mild and tempered curry with light sweet tones made with pumpkin, cowpeas and coconut. A Kerala traditional dish served during onam sadya.
kerala moru curry in a white bowl on a white marble table
Easy 25 minutes

Moru Curry | Pulissery

This delicious Kerala Moru Curry recipe is a favorite in our household. Try my Mom's famous recipe for this traditional Pulissery today.
Beetroot Thoran Recipe
Moderate 35 minutes

Beetroot Thoran

Beetroot thoran is a dry and delectable mildly spiced preparation made with beetroots, curry leaves, pearl onions, coconut and some spices and herbs. This dish has sweet notes from the beetroot as well as the coconut.
neer moru recipe, spiced buttermilk recipe, neer mor recipe
Moderate 10 minutes

Majjiga | Sambaram | Neer Mor

Majjiga or Sambaram or Neer Mor a.k.a Neer Moru or Neer Majjige is a delicious variant of a spiced and salty buttermilk well-known across South India. This recipe variant is made with curd (yogurt) and water, which is later spiced and then tempered. It makes for an equally refreshing summer drink with digestive properties.
pineapple pachadi
Moderate 20 minutes

Pineapple Pachadi

Pineapple Pachadi is a deliciously sweet, sour and spiced dish made with fresh pineapple cubes, coconut, curd (yogurt) and plenty of spices and herbs. It is one of the side dish served in the Onam Sadya which is a vegetarian feast.
vazhakkai fry recipe, raw banana fry recipe
Moderate 30 minutes

Banana Fry | Aratikaya Fry

Banana Fry or Aratikaya Fry is a mildly spiced and slightly crispy South Indian style banana preparation made with unripe bananas or plantains, spices and herbs
ash gourd thoran served in a white bowl.
Moderate 35 minutes

Ash Gourd Recipe | Ash Gourd Thoran

This Ash Gourd Recipe is a dish from the Kerala Cuisine called Ash Gourd Thoran. It is simply ash gourd cooked in coconut oil with onions, spices, herbs and finished with coconut.
beans thoran recipe
Moderate 30 minutes

Beans Thoran Recipe

Beans Thoran is a delicious beans recipe made with french beans (green beans) from the Kerala cuisine. Apart from the fewer spices used, both fresh grated coconut and coconut oil gives this dish a remarkable flavor and taste – not to forget the taste & flavor of beans that also merges well with the coconut flavors. 
medu vada stacked neatly in green lined beige colored plate
Moderate 4 hours 40 minutes

Medu Vada Recipe | Sambar Vada

Medu vada are crisp and fried doughnut shaped fritters made with black gram (urad dal), herbs and spices. These urad dal vada are also known as Garelu in Andhra, Uzhunnu Vada in Kerala, Uddina Vada in Kannada and Medhu Vadai, Ulundu Vadai in Tamil.
dal vada arranged neatly on a white plate next to a small white bowl of red chutney.
Moderate 2 hours 35 minutes

Dal Vada | Masala Vada | Parippu Vada

Dal Vada also known as Parippu Vada or Chana Dal Vada or Masala Vada are savory, spiced, crunchy fritters that are a popular street food in South India. Gluten-free and vegan.
Nurukku Manga Achar
Moderate 12 minutes

Instant Mango Pickle | Manga Achar | Kadumanga Achar

This Nurukku Manga Achar is a 15 minute tempered Kerala Style Instant Mango Pickle prepared with green mangoes for Onam Sadya. This pickle also doesn't require any sunlight or much of cooking process.
naranga achar recipe, kerala style lemon pickle recipe
Moderate 25 minutes

Naranga Achar (Kerala Lemon Pickle)

Naranga Achar is a tangy and spiced Kerala style pickle made with lemons or limes, sesame oil, spices and herbs. Naranga Achar is also served in the Onam Sadya meal.
vellarikka pachadi recipe, cucumber pachadi recipe
Moderate 15 minutes

Vellarikka pachadi | Cucumber pachadi

Cucumber pachadi is a simple but very delicious Kerala style raita made with ground coconut & mustard seeds paste, fresh curd and cucumber. 

Sweets and Snacks

banana appam recipe, banana paniyaram recipe
Moderate 50 minutes

Sweet Appam | Banana Appam

Sweet appam recipe made with ripe bananas, rice flour and jaggery. Also known as the Banana Appam or Banana Paniyaram these are an easy to make South Indian sweet snack.
unniyappam recipe, unni appam recipe
Moderate 3 hours 50 minutes

Unniyappam Recipe | Unni Appam

Unniyappam are sweet fritters from the Kerala cuisine and are made with rice, banana, a few spices and coconut.
kerala banana chips
55 minutes

Kerala Banana Chips

These Kerala banana chips are crispy and tasty chips made with unripe nendran bananas and coconut oil.
paal payasam garnished with dried rose petal chiffonade in a brass bowl with text layovers.
Moderate 1 hour

Paal Payasam | Rice Payasam

Paal Payasam is a simple South Indian variant of a slow cooked rice pudding made with only 4 ingredients. This recipe is of a typical Tamil style Rice Payasam that is creamy and delicious.
Moderate 20 minutes

Paruppu Payasam | Moong Dal Payasam

Paruppu Payasam is simply a Moong Dal Payasam. It is a creamy, decadent pudding of yellow moong lentils, jaggery, coconut milk and flavored with cardamom. This South Indian sweet treat is also called Pasi Paruppu Payasam.
20 minutes

Aval Payasam

Delicious poha kheer or payasam made with flattened rice, ghee and milk.
chana dal payasam recipe
Moderate 2 hours 35 minutes

Chana Dal Payasam | Kadalai Paruppu Payasam

Chana Dal Payasam also called Kadalai Paruppu Payasam or Kadala Parippu Payasam in South Indian languages is a delicious sweet pudding made with chana dal, coconut milk, dry fruits, jaggery and some flavorings.
semiya payasam garnished with cashews and raisins in a brass bowl
Easy 20 minutes

Semiya Payasam Recipe

Semiya payasam is a creamy, sweet vermicelli pudding from the South Indian cuisine. This cardamom scented vermicelli payasam recipe comes together in 20 minutes and can be made by beginners too.
jackfruit payasam recipe, chakka payasam recipe, palapazham payasam recipe
Moderate 30 minutes

Jackfruit Payasam | Chakka Payasam

This jackfruit payasam is from the Kerala cuisine. The payasam has the aroma and taste of jackfruit coupled with the flavors of coconut milk.

This collection of Onam Sadhya recipes from the archives, originally published in September 2017 has been updated and republished on February 2023.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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  1. Good site… I use to refer your site whenever i try any new dish. But this app is not that much easily accessible… While reading some recipe suddenly page goes up… Not a single time it’s happening every time when i opens the app. Plz look after this matter and rectify it. Otherwise we have only option from laptop…

    1. Thanks Vani for your positive feedback on recipes. Will look into the App issue. Could you tell whether you are using android app or iOS App. and is the latest updated version of App?

  2. good information about onam recipes. I like this, because very yummy and delicious.

  3. Very useful recipes.thanks for sharing. little more explanation needed for some of the dishes.

    1. Kimberly, when you get an update then on the update icon, there is a small settings icon. click on it and it will show all your websites subscription list. you can block from there. this is for chrome. for other browsers you have to search in google.