The month of April marks the beginning of a new year for people in Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. As per the Malayalam calendar, the Kerala New Year is known as Vishu, which is the first day of the Medam month.
People in Kerala and the Malayalis around the world celebrate the day with fun, frolic and feasting. This year, Vishu will be marked on 15 April and food - as always - is a special attraction on this day.
Those celebrating this festival, feast on sadya, which is a banquet that consists of several traditional vegetarian dishes. Women across the state prepare a setting called Vishukkani that includes items like rice, coconut cut open, jack fruit, lemon, cucumber, kanmashi kajal and betel leaves. All these items are served on a banana leaf.
Here are some traditional dishes of Kerala that you must savour on the occasion of Vishu:
Vishu Katta: This dish is made using coconut milk, powdered rice and jaggery. It has all the nutritious ingredients which makes it a rich but healthy dish.
Thoran Thoran: This is one side dish, which is part of all sadyas. It is usually consumed with rice and prepared using vegetables such as cabbage, unripe jackfruit, bitter gourd, beans among others.
Vishu Kanji: This is one of the most authentic dishes on Vishu. It is prepared with rice, coconut milk and Indian spices. The tasty Vishu kanji has a porridge-like consistency and is generally eaten with papad.
Mampazhappulissery: The might be difficult to pronounce but it is considered one of the best dishes of a Vishu meal. This dish is made using mangoes that has a soup-like consistency which is why it is sweet and sour in taste.
Inchi Curry: This is ginger curry - a side dish mainly used in sadya - and is a bit spicy in taste.
Koottu Curry: This curry is a mixture of black chickpeas or chana dal and comes with a combination of green vegetables including ash gourd/winter melon, raw plantain, elephant yam with ground coconut along with spices.
Rice Payasam: This is a dessert prepared on Vishu and is similar to kheer. The sweet dish is prepared with coconut milk, rice and jaggery. It is served after the completion of a heavy meal to add sweetness to the festival.