Their stay with us by the Mararikulam beach went beyond the comforts of their villas. There was definitely a stop by the kitchen because don’t we all travel the world plate by plate? Only that the plates and cutlery were on a little holiday of their own this time. A plantain (banana) leaf met the couple at the table and, well, they had to put their best hands forward. It was the call of the Sadya.
The archetypal Kerala meal, sadya marks celebrations like Onam and Vishu. And is the stuff a vegetarian’s dreams are made of. Usually had sitting on the floor, the feast toes the fine art of balance; savory and sweet dishes, accompaniments served on one side of the leaf’s spine and rice on the other; solids and liquids. We brought in a table for the couple but chef Ramar and his team got to work the traditional way.
Pots, pans and skillets went on the fire as mustard spluttered and coconuts were scraped. The traditional sadya features a whopping 26 dishes and we picked a few of these for our guests: avial (a preparation of mixed vegetables, coconut and curd, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves), banana chips, thoran (stir fried vegetables), theeyal (a blend of shallots, coconut and spices), inji puli (sweet and sour ginger pickle), pachadi (a combination of a vegetable, coconut and yogurt), kaalan (a coconut and yogurt based dish using raw bananas or yam), dal (lentil) sambar (vegetable stew with a hint of tamarind) and rasam (tamarind-based curry using lentils, tomatoes and spices). The sweet notes included, semiya payasam (a dish using milk, sugar, vermicelli and nuts) and ada pradhaman (a dessert using rice flour parcels stuffed with feelings, coconut milk and jaggery). And if you are wondering about the amount of coconut used in the entire sadya, you are not the only one!
We hear the couple also tried their hand at making Marari fish curry and hand-mixed our “Marari Spice” blended garam masala to spice up their meals back home. As for how the sadya ended, as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”…