Sadya, a traditional dish of Kerala, India

Sadya, the art of eating with fingers

By Elsie Mendez @sabormexico

Among westerners the issue of getting the fingers to food is very complicated, since children hear sentences like “don’t stick your fingers in your food!!!”, “Take the fork with your hands!” “What shall I not told you that for that are covered?” and hundreds of phrases, or even thousands more, with which we have been educated in the elegant manner of behaving at the table and carry the food to the mouth. That in India, particularly in the south and in Kerala, does not apply to anything, and it turns out that when one is in front of a dish as important and exquisite as is the Sadya can be come to feel up to ridicule for not knowing how to use your fingers to eat this delicacy.

Sadya, a traditional dish of Kerala, India

The art of eating with the fingers or hands it takes time to, well, to westerners, of course, because for the indians is a thing of every day and something that they have been taught since they were children, I think that I almost did it, but of course I will never have the dexterity of friends like Tarun Gaur or Prasad (whom I greatly recommend that you read and follow them in their blogs), in fact now that I write this review I regret not having spent more time close to them, are the things that one sees already that this back from a trip and do a retrospective of what you did well and what you are wanting to discover, and I think it would have been much more enriching to be close to both, but well, there is still the possibility of returning to India and to reconnect with this fun and interesting couple of people that I had the wonderful good fortune to meet.

The Sadya ate formally in a place called Kadappuram Beach Resort, who kindly invited us to the group of the #Keralablogexpress for the lunch hour. The heat and humidity that day were not very benevolent, so look for a table near the door to receive a little bit of breeze in addition to the fan, that was just for me, offered me. I sat down alone and that allowed me to have the manager of the hotel explaining to me only my step-by-step and because of every one of the dishes served in Sadya.

Banana leaf to serve the Sadya, a traditional dish of Kerala, India

I’ll start by explaining a little that is the Sadya, this is a dish millennial that is eaten on special occasions, ceremonies and festivities, very traditional, which is served on banana leaves, and takes between 20 and 28 dishes that are served at the same time, of course, are not the portions to which we are usually accustomed in the west, if not, imagine the tremendous indigestion, although now that I think if I have had tastings with that number of dishes, but none are as healthy, healing and vegetarian in their entirety as this. The dishes are prepared at sunrise and should be completed before ten in the morning ready for lunch, or brunch, because of course, this dish is only served mid-day by how heavy it is.

The banana leaf, I explained the manager of the Kadappuram Beach Resort, it is important to use it instead of a plate of ceramic or plastic, because the warm of the dishes causes the chlorophyll of the leaves to emerge and combine with the food there posts, and as many of you know the chlorophyll is good for many conditions. The next important element of the Sadya is rice, which is not a rice of any, is of a type called Navara, is endemic to Kerala and is a rice medicinal that is used a lot in Ayurveda, explain to me serves to prevent or cure diseases such as cancer, arthritis, digestive problems, rejuvenates muscles and tissues and even neurological disorders. Then come the pickles, Upperi , which are plantain chips, a banana whole, the rice that I mentioned, papadums and more dishes.

Sadya, a traditional dish of Kerala, India

Among the new dishes, more traditional, that are served in a Sadya in addition to the above, the Avialwhich is made with vegetables and coconut; the Thoran is basic and takes vegetables, grated coconut, chilli and turmeric; Olan is a dish of soft pumpkin and beans cooked in mild red sauce of coconut milk; Pachadi is sweet with pineapple, grapes and more coconut. Sambhar the famous stew from the south of India, which is the combination of all the vegetables available boiled in a sauce of lentils, crushed, onions, chilies, coriander, turmeric and with a pinch of asafetida, Rasam a mixture of pepper powder diluted in tamarind juice boiled, and that as much of the other dishes, we help to good digestion (and good, is that with so much food even if it is vegetarian makes us feel like a puerquito in grow-out).

The dessert is a kind of rice pudding made with coconut milk, cardamom, less sweet than we are used to westerners, so-called Payasam

Payasam, the traditional dessert of Kerala, India

To drink, I explain that in addition to the coconut that have given us practically all sides because it is a diuretic and helps the dehydration, it is ideal to take tea, and not cold, but at the time, or hot, because that helps the temperature of the stomach that this client doing the digestion does not have thermal shock that are not good with this type of meals, and in general with all, and that is, that this habit that we have to take water or soft drinks with lots of ice the only thing that causes is that our poor digestive system working at a feverish pace.

Let me explain to you that eating with hands is much better and more advisable to do it with the cutlery for the simple reason that we eat more slowly, which makes us to eat less, because the message from the stomach to the brain that we are full to arrive on time to not end up eating more as usually happens with silverware, in addition to, eating with your fingers allows you to carry the mouth only the amount of food that we can chew in a correct way.

Enjoy, learn and above all be carried away by the pleasure of putting their fingers in the food and at the end suck me one by one fingers, was the best that I have experienced in my life.

If you want to know as it is the technique of eating with the hands can visit the blog of my good friend Tarun Gaur that explains it very well here.