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Food @ Trivandrum

Aalimo Restaurant: Onam Special Sadya 2022

Its Onam time again and for any foodie like me, that means only one thing – Sadya Time!!! The Sadya is the festive feast meal of Kerala and what I personally consider as the absolute best vegetarian platter of food in the world… Anyone who believes that vegetarian food is not good enough should definitely try this and I can guarantee that they would change their mind by the end of the meal… Over the past couple of years, I have been ordering the Sadya and having it delivered at home rather than how it was earlier when my mom used to be able to cook the same… This time, this process was a bit difficult since it turns out that most restaurants have stopped doing deliveries and the Sadyas are only available as dine-in or as take away… It is then that the social media promo by Aalimo Restaurant about doing the Sadya for Onam, caught my eye… When I talked to them they agreed to do home delivery and here we are with the following pic showing how the food arrived for the three of us…

According to Aalimo’s promo post, there were two version of the Sadya namely, the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian… The difference between the two wasn’t that attractive to me, plus, I have a vegetarian mom here… So, it was the vegetarian version that I placed the order for… According to the promo, the Vegetarian Sadya consists of Salt, Chips, Sharkara Varatty, Pazham, Pappadam, Ghee, Inji Curry, Manga Achar, Naranga Achar, Pachadi, Kichadi, Madhura Curry, Thoran, Aviyal, Erissery, Parippu, Sambar, Pulissery, Rasam, Pachamoru, Kuthari Choru, Ada Pradhaman, Boli and Semiya Payasam along with Banana Leaf to use serve and eat the Sadya… However, in the parcel I got, they missed one Banana Leaf and also the Ghee and Pulissery was missing… Regarding the Pulissery, they ended up giving me quite a lot extra portions of that yellow Madhura Curry… I guess it was a mistake when packing… Since I personally am not a fan of the Pulissery and also because I am indeed a fan of that Madhura Curry, no complaints 😅 The following pics show the Sadya as served for me to eat…

Now lets talk about each item… Of-course nothing needs to be said about the Salt… The Manga Achar made with raw Mango had just the right amount of spiciness, saltiness and sourness… I felt a nice flavour of Fenugreek and Mustard in it as well along with Sesame Oil… Next was the Naranga Achar made with Lemon and this was the version thats known as the White Lemon Pickle cause it doesn’t have the red color due to the fact that this recipe doesn’t use Chilly Powder… Instead this pickle uses Bird’s Eye Chillies and Garlic along with Mustard and Sesame… This pickle was more saltier being Brine based and more sour than the Mango Pickle… The last item from the pickles category was the Inji Curry which is essentially a pickle made with Ginger… As expected, there was a very strong taste of Ginger but still the amount of spiciness was well in control which was a surprise for me cause usually people end up adding a sweet component to balance the spiciness but here, it doesn’t look like anything sweet has been added and yet the flavours were balanced which tells me that whoever made this really knows what he/she is doing very well…

Next lets talk about what I call as the Pachadi section which here consists of Beetroot Pachadi, Vendakka Kichadi and the Pineapple Pachadi or what they call as the Madhura Curry… The Beetroot Pachadi has a nice flavour of Beetroot along with ground Coconut and Yogurt along with the fragrance of Coconut Oil, Curry Leaves and Mustard… It was perfectly seasoned as well for me… The same can be said about the Vendakka Kichadi as well except that instead of the Beetroot, we have Vendakka ie, Okra along with Cucumber in it… The Madhura Curry is again another Pachadi recipe but it has a sweet taste thanks to the use of Pineapple in it and it also uses Turmeric which gives it that Yellow color… The seasoning was just spot on as well…

As for the remaining side dishes, the Erissery tasted quite different from the same that I had from the other Sadyas that I have had from Trivandrum, as in I couldn’t taste the Pumpkin and instead could only taste the lentils and coconut along with coconut oil and mustard… Come to think of it, this version reminded me more of the Malabar style Kootu Curry… The Thoran was just like any other, made using Cabbage and Carrot along with Coconut, Shallots, Green Chillies and Mustard Seeds… As for the Aviyal, this one was dominated by the taste of Raw Mango, Green Chillies, Coconut, Garlic and Curry Leaves along with the vegetables used… Everything was cooked perfectly and the vegetables did retain some crunchiness as well…

The Pappadam tasted just like any other Kerala style Pappadam but unfortunately it ended up being soggy by the time we ate after receiving the parcel… The Rice was perfectly cooked and hence had a nice bite to it as I chewed it… Parippu appeared to have more of the Yellow Daal rather than mostly the Green gram as how it usually is, with the Parippu served in the Travancore area… Seasoning was perfect for this one… As for the Sambar, though it was loaded with Vegetables and Lentils, sadly it ended up being on the bland side, though it had a nice flavour of Asafoetida in it… I had to use some of the salt with it to be able to enjoy it better… The Pachamoru was very spicy for me being so loaded with spicy Green Chillies and regarding the Rasam, though it was a bit too sour for my taste, I felt that it was indeed very flavourful with the flavour of Tomatoes, Chilly Powder and Garlic with Coconut Oil Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves…

Whats left other than the dessert section are the accompaniments which most people usually eat as appetisers… These are the Upperi, which in this case is the Kerala style Plantain Chips and the sweet and caramelised version of this called Sharkara Varatty… I usually eat them along with the rice and the side dishes as the Chips provide a pleasant crispy component to bite into and the Sharkara Varatty gives a sweet and crunchy component to the bite as well… Then there is the Banana which needs no introduction as well… Its usually intended as the accompaniment to the Pradhaman Payasam but personally since I don’t like eating Bananas, I discarded the same and gave it to my mom who loves it…

Last but not the least to talk about is the dessert section… In this Sadya, we had the Ada Pradhaman Payasam and the Semiya Payasam, accompanied by a Boli.. Boli, for those who are not aware is a lentil based sweet flatbread thats a signature of the Travancore Cuisine to be accompanied by Payasam… Its basically made using Channa Dal and Sugar in the form of what looks like a Yellow Chapati as can be seen in the pic below… It can be eaten on its own but having it with milk based Payasam is the best combination… Regarding the Payasams, I felt that both Payasams were very well made with thick consistency… The Ada Pradhaman was quite sweet and the Ada (refined flour sheets) were perfectly cooked to al dente… There was a nice fragrance of Ghee as well along with the rich flavour of Coconut Milk and Jaggery… The Semiya Payasam was also very well cooked… Usually the recipe of this Payasam involves first frying the Semolina strands which they clearly didn’t do cause if they did, they it wouldn’t have stuck together resulting in the thick soufflé kind of consistency… Other than this detail, the Semiya Payasam tasted like it was done correctly which is a very rare thing to see in Payasams thats served at restaurants as they tend to use a shortcut of precooking the Semolina instead of having it get cooked in the Milk…

That’s it for now… Overall, I must say that the Sadya tasted much better than what I expected… Both me and my parents loved every bit of it… I had ordered three portions of this Sadya for the three of us and there are enough leftovers for all of us to have tomorrow… Aalimo has been a place I found good for Chinese food and this is the first time I had naadan food from them and I definitely am impressed… Hopefully I’ll get to explore that side of their regular menu very soon… 🙂

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