Sadya (Malayalam: സദ്യ, Sanskrit: सग्धिः, Sagdhiḥ) is a variety of vegetarian dishes traditionally served on a banana leaf in Kerala, India. Sadya means banquet in Malayalam. It is a Hindu feast prepared mainly by men, especially when needed in large quantities, for weddings and other special events.
During a traditional Sadya celebration people are seated cross-legged on mats. Food is eaten with the right hand, without cutlery. The fingers are cupped to form a ladle. A normal Sadya can have about 24-28 dishes served as a single course. In cases where it is a much larger one it can over 64 items in a in a Sadya like the Sadya for Aranmula Boatrace (Valla Sadya).
The main dish is plain boiled rice, served along with other dishes collectively called Kootan(കൂട്ടാന്) which include curries like Parippu, Sambar, Rasam, Pulisseri and others like Kaalan, Avial,Thoran, Olan, Pachadi, Mango pickle, Naranga curry, as well as Papadum, Banana, plain Yogurtor Buttermilk, and plantain chips. The traditional dessert called Payasam served at the end of the meal is of many kinds and usually three or more are served. The ‘Kootan’ are made with different vegetables and have different flavours; some say the reason for including so many dishes in the Sadya is to ensure that the diners will like at least two or three dishes.
The dishes are served on specific places on the banana leaf in specific order. For example, the pickles are served on the top left corner and the banana on the bottom left corner, which helps the waiters to easily identify and decide on offering additional servings. The most common ingredients in all the dishes are rice, coconut and coconut oil as they are abundant in Kerala. Coconut milk is used in some dishes and coconut oil is used for frying and also as an ingredient in others.
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