The legend goes that Kerala was ruled by the king Mahabali. He was an asura, but he was fair, wise and a great ruler. People lived happily under him – there was no caste discrimination, no crime, no corruption. But Lord Indra- king of Devas, was worried that Mahabali would come after his throne, approached Lord Vishnu to rescue from the imminent danger.
Lord Vishnu, took the shape of a small brahmin boy (Vamana avatar). He requested Mahabali for grant of land, as much as he can cover with three steps. The king granted the wish and soon Vamana grew big in size. With the first step, he covered the earth and the underworld. With the second he took the entire heaven.
And for the third, nothing was left.
The king, realizing that Vamana was no one other than Vishnu himself, offered Vamana to keep the third step on his head. Vamana, happy at Mahabali’s devotion, told him he can ask for a boon.
Mahabali wanted to come and see his subjects once in an year, to see how they are doing. The lord granted him this. And then Mahabali was blessed and raised to heaven.
Mahabali visits Keralam for Onam and the entire state gets ready to greet its ruler.
Like the English calender, there is a Malayalam calender as well. The Malayalam months have 30 days. And there are 27 stars or nakshathrams. Each day of the month represents a specific star (nakshathram).(When a baby is born, the Malayalam month, the day, the star under which he/she is born and the time is noted to write the child’s horoscope. )
Mahabali was granted his wish to see his subjects in the month of Chingam, on the day of Thiruvonam.
So, people start getting ready ten days before and the celebrations start on Atham (a star that falls ten days before thiruovanam). The celebrations in Trikkakara temple (believed to be Mahabali’s capital) mark the starting of the festival.
Pookalam (floral arrangement – floral carpets) are done in households to welcome the king. As you can guess, I don’t do any of that, but luckily, I have friends who still do all this :-).
So the picture above is from my friend’s place and she has given me permission to click and share her pookalam for the next ten days.
So with the countdown to Onam beginning today, lets get to some dishes/recipes.
For the letter F, its a fruit pachadi. Its also called Mathura (sweet) pachadi and is usually a mix of pineapple and grapes. Mangoes and bananas are also added, but I was out of all that except grapes and papaya.
So a papaya fruit pachadi it is!
- Consistency : Its not runny, but not too thick either. Like that of a dal, it might leave a little water, when placed on the leaf, but not too much.
- The taste is a mix of sweetness from the fruit and jaggery, tartness from the grapes, spice from the chillies, tanginess from the yogurt. This is my favorite among all the dishes for a Sadya (other than payasam, of course!)
- There many versions of this pachadi, basically its a sweet based pachadi. It can be made with tomatoes, pumpkin, a variety of fruits as well.
- Papaya/pineapple : 2 cups (one small papaya)
- Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
- Yogurt : 3/4 -1 cup
- Jaggery : 1 tbsp
- Grapes : 3/4 cup
- Coconut : 3/4 cup
- Green chillies : 2 -3
- Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
- Oil : 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Red chillies : 2
- Wash, clean and dice the fruit. Add very little water, turmeric powder and cook in a pan till its done.
- Meanwhile, grind the coconut, mustard seeds and chillies to a fine smooth paste. Again, add only as little water as possible, we don’t want a runny pachadi finally.
- Add the coconut paste and salt and let it boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the grapes and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
- Take off the heat and add the yogurt. Mix, taste test and keep aside.
- For seasoning, in a small pan, add the oil. Heat and then add the mustard seeds and red chillies. Once it splutters, add the curry leaves. Wait for it to change color. Top the pachadi with this tadka.
- Serve as a side dish for rice.
Logo courtesy : Preeti
Linking this to Valli’s Side Dish Mela too.