"Maveli nadu vanidum kalam manusharellarum onnupole
amodathode vassikkum kalam apathangarkkumottilla thanum
adhikal vyadhikal onnumilla bala maranangal kelkkanilla
kallavumilla chathiyumilla ellolamilla poli vachanam
kallapparayum cheru naziyum kallatharangal mattonumilla "[translation]
Onam is one of the most important festivals in Kerala and is celebrated every year with lots of grandeur.The celebrations of Onam start on Atham day, 10 days before Thiruvonam. The 10 days are part of the traditional Onam celebrations and each day has its own importance in various rituals and traditions. Earthen mounds, which look somewhat like square pyramids, representing Mahabali and Vamanan(an Avatar of Vishnu) are placed in the dung-plastered courtyards in front of the house and beautifully decorated with flowers. Known as ‘Onapookkalam’, it is a carpet made out of the gathered blossoms with one or two varieties of foliage of differing tints pinched up into little pieces to serve the decorator's purpose.[Source]
I have grown up singing the song or memorizing rather,since the song was part of our curriculum.Somehow,just listening to that song transports me back to my schooldays where we celebrated Onam with such enthusiasm.Choosing the flowers for the Pookkalam and bargaining with the flower vendor and eagerly looking forward to the payasam being served after the celebration,it was such a great time.
After coming to Chennai,Onam has reduced [sadly] to sms wishes and ready made Onam sadya,the latter not so sad,hehe.Traditional Onam sadya is truly a feast with more than 20-25 dishes each unique and delicious.Preparations starts the day before,on Uthradam Naal,or more popularly known as Onnam Onam.Of course,to prepare the whole sadya,one would need more than two days!!
This Onam is extra special because we have three celebrations in one.Onam,SuthanPunav[Avani Avittam] and Raksha Bandhan.I have here today,one of the first payasams I ever learnt to make.The very simple and delicious Semiya Payasam.
Semiya Payasam / Vermicelli Kheer
Semiya - 100 gms [1/2 cup]
Milk - 1 ltr
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts - a handful
Cardamom Powder - 1 tsp
In a kadai,add ghee and roast the cashewnuts till golden brown.Drain and keep aside.
In the same pan,roast the semiya till golden brown.
In another pan,boil the milk.
When the semiya becomes sufficiently brown,mix in the milk and cook till the semiya becomes soft.
Mix in the sugar and let it come to boil.
Simmer and cook the payasam for 20-25 minutes.
Add the cardamom powder and roasted cashewnuts.
Serve hot or cold.
Once again,wishing all my readers a very Happy Onam!!