According to the Hindu calendar, Ugadi Festival is celebrated as the New Year with much fervor in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and even some parts of Goa in the western region of India. This day is also referred to as Yugadi or Samvatsaradi, which falls on March 22 in 2023. It is one of the most important festivals as well for these states. Just like food is a unifying and integral part of any celebration in India, the same goes for the festival of Ugadi too. So, here’s a personalized collection of 55 Ugadi Special Food Recipes that you can make easily at your home.
About Ugadi Festival
Like I mentioned in the beginning, Ugadi Festival is celebrated as the day that is the new year for the people of Telugu and Kannada communities in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
In Maharashtra, this new year festival is known as Gudi Padwa. For the Sindhi community, it is Cheti Chand.
The Telugu people call it as the Ugadi Festival, whereas the festival is popular by its other term Yugadi for the Kannadigas or the people of Karnataka.
‘Yugadi or Ugadi,’ is a word that is composed of the Sanskrit words ‘yuga’ meaning ‘age’ and ‘adi’ meaning ‘beginning.’ So, ‘beginning of a new age’ is what the actual meaning is. Thus, a new year or new beginnings.
Some of the common traditions that are followed during the festival of Ugadi are buying new clothes, cleaning homes, offering prayers, making beautiful rangolis with rice powder/paste, sand, flowers, etc., feasting on delish Ugadi Food Recipes and participating in other festivities.
Ugadi Pachadi is one of the classic examples of the Ugadi Special Food recipe that is a specialty traditionally made during this day. The way it is composed, it symbolizes the multi-layered experiences that life has in store for us. Sharing more on this in the coming sections. Do give it a read.
Significance Of Ugadi Festival
Apart from it being the New Year, there are many folklore which explains the mythological significance of the Ugadi Festival. So, before you head on to the compilation of Ugadi Special Food Recipes, read on to know some of them:
- It is believed that Yugadi was the day when Lord Brahma began to create this universe. Once he had completed his 100 years of meditation, his divine origin was realised. Following this awakening, he also recognized his purpose to design the universe. Thus, becoming the architect of the universe.
- Another legend says that Ugadi was the day when Lord Rama of the Hindu epic Ramayana, was officially crowned as the king of Ayodhya. The citizens of Ayodhya commemorated the victory of good over evil by crowning him the king on this day.
- According to some, the day of Ugadi is also recognized as the day when the ultimate form and source of Divine, Lord Krishna ended his time on Earth. Thus, flagging off the beginning of a new ‘yuga’ or ‘age’ called as the Kali Yuga. The departure of Krishna is actually considered inauspicious. But the positive impacts of Kali Yuga, had more than made up for it.
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the most important Ugadi Recipes that is prepared during Ugadi Festival is the Ugadi Pachadi. The Ugadi pachadi signifies all the 6 tastes – sweet, salty, spicy, sour, astringent and bitter. Thus, also signifying the main essence of this festival and how life should be a balance of sweet, sour and bitter.
The 6 ingredients included in making this unique pachadi have one of these tastes in each one of them. These 6 tastes correspond to the 6 emotions of life which everyone goes through – joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise.
In Karnataka, a mixture of neem leaves and jaggery is consumed. This is known as bevu bella, where the Kannada word ‘bevu’ means ‘neem flowers’ and ‘bella’ means ‘jaggery.’ This is one of the unique Ugadi special food item that is famous in this part of South India.
In addition to this pachadi, other sweets and snacks are also made as common Ugadi Food Recipes. Here, in this collection, I have shared recipes that you can easily make on Ugadi Festival. I have divided the list into popular Ugadi recipes, sweets, snacks, and finally and lunch and dinner ideas.
Remember some of these recipes may have onion and garlic. Omit adding them, if you are making a satvik meal or if you plan to offer the food to the deities.
Most of these recipes for Ugadi are simple, fuss-free, yet delicious. I have some of the most famous and classic recipes as well as others in sweets/desserts, snacks/savories and lunch and dinner options too. Many of them are nutritious, even vegan too.
Life’s a mélange of sweet (jaggery), sour (raw mango), bitter (neem). Make it a balanced one! So, here’s wishing all my readers, a very Happy Ugadi!
55 Ugadi Special Food Recipes
Below are some of the essential and popular recipes for Ugadi Festival. This section includes sweets, savories as well as rice-based dishes.
Ugadi pachadi is one of the most important dish that is made during Ugadi festival. It is a festive food drink containing six ingredients having the six tastes. Ugadi pachadi comprises of six tastes that correspond with the six emotions of life.
Poornam boorelu also known as Poornalu is a deep fried snack made with a stuffing of chana dal+jaggery and coated with rice+urad dal batter.
Lemon Rice also referred to as Chitranna or Nimmakaya Pulihora is a crunchy, flavorful and tangy rice dish that is easy to make and tastes so good. Fresh lemon juice, fried nuts, fragrant herbs and spices combine perfectly to give this steamed rice an amazing spicy, tangy and nutty flavor.
Curd Rice also called Thayir Sadam or Daddojanam is a popular and traditional South Indian preparation where cooked rice is mixed with curd (yogurt) and tempered with spices, herbs. It is a staple in many South Indian households and is also made during Hindu festivals.
Sweet Pongal also called Sakkarai Pongal or Chakkara Pongal in South Indian languages, is a creamy, sweet festive preparation of rice, moong lentils, jaggery and flavored with green cardamoms, cashews, raisins and ghee.
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.
Delicious creamy moong dal payasam made with yellow moong lentils, jaggery and coconut milk.
Puliyodharai is a popular South Indian recipe of sour and spiced rice.
Rava Kesari is a popular South Indian pudding like sweet that is made with rava or suji (semolina), ghee, cashews, raisins, sugar, water and saffron. This Kesari recipe gives you a really delicious melt in the mouth sweet that can be made in less time.
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.
Kesari Bath is a rich sweet made with rava (cream of wheat), sugar, nuts, saffron, water and ghee. This popular sweet from the Karnataka cuisine is quick and easy to prepare. It has rava (also called sooji or suji in Hindi and semolina or cream of wheat in English) as its main ingredient.
Panakam also known as Panagam or Panaka is a traditional cooling drink from South India and is especially made during the Sri Rama Navami festival. Preparing panakam is super easy and it is made with lemon juice, jaggery, ginger powder, green cardamom powder and black pepper.
Kosambari is a simple and easy to assemble South Indian salad variant from the state of Karnataka. This tempered Moong Dal Salad, is made with moong lentils, cucumber, coconut, lemon juice, herbs with a tempering of basic South Indian spices and curry leaves.
Ugadi Sweets Recipes
We all love to have sweets during festivals. Right? So, there a variety of sweet dishes that you can make for Ugadi Festival too. Here, I have compiled some of the well-known South Indian recipes of sweets and desserts.
While some are a breeze to make, some take more time and are not so easy. Depending on your schedule and availability of the ingredients, choose any recipe that is the perfect fit for you.
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.
Make coconut ladoo with three recipes. The first one is a quick 3 ingredient recipe made with fresh coconut, milkmaid and cardamom powder. The second recipe has 2 ingredients – desiccated coconut and condensed milk. The third recipe is made with desiccated coconut and sugar.
An easy peasy method to make Rava Laddu for Diwali or any festival. This Rava Ladoo also known as Suji ke Laddu are sweet balls made with rava (sooji or semolina), coconut, powdered sugar, dry fruits, nuts and ghee.
7 cup burfi is a easy and delicious South Indian sweet made with gram flour, ghee, fresh coconut, milk and sugar. It is also known as 7 cup cake or 7 cups sweet as it is made with 7 measures of ingredients.
This Coconut Burfi is a delish, melt in the mouth fudge made with sweetened condensed milk, milk, and desiccated coconut.
Mysore pak is a popular and super delicious Indian sweet from the city of Mysore in the Karnataka state in South India. Mysore pak is made with only three ingredients – gram flour, ghee and sugar. It is rich, luxurious and melt in the mouth sweet.
Boondi laddu is a popular Indian sweet made by combining lovely little bits of fried and sugar-soaked batter (made with gram flour) with seeds and fragrant spices. Each bite is a delightful blend of smooth, soft, and melt-in-the mouth texture.
Badam ka halwa is a rich, luxuruous and popular South Indian style delicious halwa made with blanched almonds, ghee and sugar. This recipe gives you one of best almond halwa that you can make.
Aval laddu also called Poha Laddu are delicious ladoo or sweet balls made with thick poha or aval (flattened rice or parched rice), jaggery, cashews, raisins, milk and ghee. They make for an easy festive sweet.
Maladu or Maa Laddu (Pottukadalai Ladoo) is quick South Indian recipe of ladoo made from roasted gram or roasted chana dal flour. Maladu is made with just 3 main ingredients – roasted gram flour, ghee and sugar.
Sabudana Kheer is a sweet, creamy pudding made with tapioca pearls or sago pearls (called sabudana in Hindi), milk, sugar, nuts and flavored with cardamom & saffron. Sabudana Kheer is also a popular pick as fasting food during the Hindu Navratri festival. It is simple and easy to make, and tastes absolutely delicious.
Puran Poli is a sweet flatbread stuffed with a sweet lentil filling made from hulled and spilt bengal gram/chana dal, jaggery and ground spices. This traditional recipe is from the Maharashtrian cuisine.
Bobbatlu also called Holige or Obbattu is a South Indian festive treat of sweetened flat breads. These flat breads are stuffed with cooked and finely ground mixture of chana dal, jaggery, cardamom powder and ground nutmeg. This Bobbatlu Recipe makes for one of the best Bobbatlu made with a sweet chana dal stuffing.
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.
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.
Delicious poha kheer or payasam made with flattened rice, ghee and milk.
Easy Dry fruits laddu recipe without any added sugar or fats like ghee or oil. Packed with nutrients, good fats and fibre, these energy balls are made with dates, figs and various nuts. Dry fruit laddu recipe gets done quickly and comes together under 20 minutes.
Snacks & Savories
Some of the snacks listed below can be made a day ahead. Like murukku, thattai, kara boondi, ribbon pakoda and mixture.
Punugulu (or Punukulu) are spiced, savory, crispy deep fried fritters made from leftover or extra idli batter or dosa batter that is flavored with onions, green chillies, cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves and coriander leaves. These are a quick to make snack from the Andhra cuisine and popular there.
Murukku is a popular South Indian crunchy and crispy snack made with rice flour and lentil flour. It is also known as murukulu, chakralu and jantikalu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Butter Murukku is a South Indian fried snack made with butter and rice flour. It can also be called Butter Chakli. This recipe is surely for the win as it is scrumptious and tasty.
Thattai or Thattu Vadai are deep-fried crispy rice crackers served as a snack and made during festivals like Krishna Jayanthi (Gokulashtmi) or Diwali. Thattai are made with rice flour, spices and herbs having a spiced, crunchy and crispy taste.
Kara boondi is a spiced version of boondi and a mixture consisting of boondi, peanuts, cashews, curry leaves and a few spices.
One of the popular South Indian snacks made during Diwali is this Madras Mixture Recipe which is basically a mix of various edible ingredients, nuts and dry fruits. It is also called as Omapodi Mixture.
Ribbon Pakoda or Ribbon Murukku are fried crisp ribbon shaped savory snack from South India. They are easy to prepare and tastes good too. They are also known as ola pakoda or nada thenkuzhal.
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.
Sabudana Vada is a popular savory deep fried snack made during Hindu fasting days, featuring tapioca pearls (sago), potatoes, peanuts and herbs. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan. This fool proof sabudana vada recipe gives you a super delicious crispy vada with a soft and light interior.
Mysore bonda also known as Mysore Bajji is a popular South Indian snack made with lentils, fresh herbs and vibrant spices. The ingredients are combined to create a thick batter, and are then deep fried to make crisp, soft and fluffy fritters.
Sundal is a stir-fried dish made with different types of lentils, legumes even grains from the cuisine of Tamil Nadu. This Channa Sundal has white chickpeas, spices and a good dose of freshly grated coconut. This dish is vegan and quite healthy too.
This mtr style khara bath is a savory, smooth and soft khara bhath made with mix veggies.
Semiya upma is a delicious upma variant made with vermicelli, aromatics, spices, cashews and herbs. This easy vermicelli recipe is also called as vermicelli upma and has unique flavors and textures.
Lunch & Dinner Ideas
Listed below are some traditional South Indian recipes that are made during Ugadi Festival as well as others.
This Mango Rice recipe (also called as Mavinakayi Chitranna in Kannada) is tangy, comforting and loaded with flavors. It is made with unripe green mangoes, coconut, spices, peanuts, sesame seeds and herbs.
Coconut rice is a light, tasty, savory South Indian rice variant made with fresh grated coconut, lentils, cashews, herbs and spices. This nutty and mild rice based dish is also known as Thengai Sadam in Tamil language. The recipe is vegan and for a gluten-free version, easily skip adding asafetida.
Bisi Bele Bath recipe is a delicious, hearty and healthy meal of rice, lentils and vegetables that is tempered with spices and nuts. Bisibelebath is one of the popular recipes from the Karnataka cuisine.
Vangi bath is a delicious recipe of brinjal rice from the Karnataka cuisine. This Vangi bath recipe makes use of vangi bath masala powder and tamarind pulp as two of the main ingredients.
Sambar Rice also called Sambar Sadam in Tamil is a delicious, comforting meal of both sambar and rice cooked together. This South Indian lentil, rice and vegetable preparation is healthy and filling as well.
Coconut Milk Rice (also called Thengai Paal Sadam in Tamil) is a mild, fragrant rice based dish made with coconut milk, onions, herbs, spices and mixed vegetables. What’s best is the fact that it’s not just vegetarian, but a vegan-friendly recipe too.
Gutti vankaya is a stuffed eggplant curry from the Andhra cuisine.
Mysore Rasam is a spiced and delicious rasam variety from the Karnataka cuisine – made with lentils, ground spices and coconut. Here I share both the recipes for mysore rasam and the mysore rasam powder that you can easily scale up and make a large batch to store and refrigerate/freeze.
Mamidikaya Pappu is an Andhra Mango Dal recipe made with raw, green unripe sour mangoes, pigeon pea lentils, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices.
This Tomato bath is a delicious, tangy and spiced rice based dish from the Karnataka cuisine. The recipe is made with a ground paste of tomatoes, coconut, spices and herbs. Addition of this ground masala makes the rice really delicious and flavorful.
Peanut rice is a tasty South Indian rice variety made with roasted peanut powder, lentils and spices.
Sesame rice is an easy and delicious rice recipe made with ground sesame seeds. It is also known as ellu sadam in tamil language where ellu means sesame seeds and sadam means rice.
This Ugadi Food Recipes post for the Ugadi Festival from the archives first published on March 2017 has been updated and republished on March 2023.