With the coming of April, many regions in India celebrate their New Year. Be it Baisakhi for Punjabis or Vishu in South or Bengalis too, people in these regions celebrate prosperity and happiness. In our nation where God too has their stories with food; every festival has associated to it special preparations that are made from the fresh-local produce and taste most authentic.
An important festival celebrated down south in Kerala is Vishu. It is the beginning of Malayalese New Year. Zambar this year has curated an exceptionally delightful culinary experience for you to take you through the beats of Vishu. With its enchanting ambience and a traditional sadhya or feast curated by Chef Remya and Chef Vettari, Zambar is all set to bring the essence of this festival to your plates.
Before I start with explaining each element on this sadhya let me tell you it was an extravagant meal with 20 dishes. The staff humbly placed the banana leaves in front of us and then the trail started. First came a tangy Tomato Rasam which was very comforting and indeed prepared us for the feast that awaited us. Then came the condiments- salt, mango pickle and Sarkara Varatti which was mango coated jaggery. We all were already getting excited as we very ready to eat our hearts out. It is rarely that you get a pure vegan meal which so exotic and delectable. Then came the most familiar part of the sadhya- banana chips and a small ripe banana. Also, I relished on their traditional Poppadam – I lost count of how many I had.
Then came Inji Puli which was a pickle that got its spicy note from chillies, ginger and sweetness from jaggery and tartness from tamarind. Then came the digestives like Thayir which is a ginger yogurt and Beetroot Pachdi that is cooked beetroot grounded with spices and then mixed in yogurt to give you a pinkish delight.
Hope you are keeping up!
Now, came the main course. All the dishes had few common ingredients like shredded coconut, curry leaves and rai; these are used in abundance as these are native to Southern part of India. I loved the Kottu Curry which was a preparation of yam, black chana and raw bananas cooked with mild spices. They also serve Carrot Beans Thoran and Vishu Thoran- these are basically vegetables cooked with coconut and go extremely well with the Parippu Curry which is a simple moong dal preparation. Then came the 2 dishes that bring the whole sadhya together; the brown rice and sambhar. Once you start eating they drizzle some ghee to pamper you and your taste buds.
In the morning when puja is done they prepare Unniyappam which is a fried preparation of rice flour, banana, jaggery, cardamom and is given to all as a Prasad. For dessert, they serve Semiya Payasam which is actually vermicelli. The traditional way to eat it, as told by chef is to mash the ripe banana into it and relish.
Finally, spiced buttermilk is served in a shot glass that acts as a digestive. As we politely folded our banana leaves, we all were blown by the variety and the simplicity of this meal.
Zambar on the 14th of April will open its doors to treat you with their delightful Vishu Sadhya. Ditch those forks and knife as it is time for you to go totally traditional, dig in with your hands and I assure that you will be licking those fingers at the end of this meal.
Ps: For all those who love their mocktails, go for Coconut Mojito!
Coverage By : Ritika Dhawan for Foodmaniacs
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