Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Feast of Sleebo, Second Coming of Jesus, Onam
Volume 6 No. 374 Sept 12, 2016

IV. Onam Recipes

Onam Special: Recipe for Tomato Rasam

by Maya Akhil


Ripe Tomatoes – 2 medium-large, chopped
Pearl (small) onion – 5 – 6, chopped
Garlic – 6 – 7 cloves
Green chilies – 2 – 3, slit
Whole pepper corns – 15 – 20
Tamarind – Goose-berry sized or to taste
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
Asafetida – 2 pinches
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2 – 3
Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp, chopped
Oil – As required
Salt – To taste


1. Crush the pearl onion, whole pepper corns, garlic, 3 – 4 curry leaves and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle or mixer. Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract its juice.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds and fry dry red chillies. Then add the crushed pearl onion, crushed garlic, pepper corn and cumin seed mixture. Saute for 30 seconds, add the green chillies and chopped tomato. Mix well and cook for 2 – 3 minutes stirring in between, at medium heat.

3. Now add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder and asafetida. Mix well and add the tamarind extract and around 3 – 3.5 cups of water. Add enough salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for 6 – 8 mts.

4. Add the chopped coriander leaves and a few curry leaves.

5. Add a pinch each of fenugreek powder and asafetida. Close the pan with its lid. Keep aside for at least 10 mts for the flavors to set.

6. Serve hot with rice or have it as a soup.

Onam Special: Pavakka Theeyal / Bitter Gourd Theeyal

by Maya Akhil


1. Bitter gourd / Pavakka – 2 medium, cut into two lengthwise and thinly sliced
Pearl onions (kunjulli) – 1/2 cup, halved

2. Grated coconut – 1.5 – 2 cups

3. Chilly Powder – 2 tsp
Coriander Powder – 2 – 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp

4. Green chilies – 3 – 4, slit

5. Curry leaves – 1 – 2 sprigs

6. Tamarind – lemon-sized or to taste

7. Salt - To taste

8. Coconut oil – 1.5 – 2 tbsp

For the Seasoning

9. Coconut oil – 1.5 tsp

10. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

11. Few curry leaves

12. Dry red chilies – 2


1. Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Extract its juice and keep aside.

2. Fry the grated coconut in a pan till it becomes brown, stirring continuously, at medium heat. Lower the heat and add the spice powders, numbered 3, and stir for a few seconds. Make sure not to burn them. Set aside to cool. Grind to a very fine paste without adding water (If its really difficult to grind, you can add a little water). Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan, at medium heat. Add the sliced pavakka pieces, sliced pearl onions, green chilies, few curry leaves and saute until the pavakka pieces are half done or until its raw taste is gone. Add tamarind extract, enough water (just to cover the bitter gourd pieces) and salt. Bring to a boil and then add roasted coconut paste. Lower the heat and cook until the pavakka is done and the gravy thickens.

4. In a small pan, heat coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds. Fry dry red chillies and curry leaves. Pour this over the curry. Mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes. Serve hot with rice.


1. Bitter gourd can be replaced with egg plant for egg plant theeyal (slice them into 1” pieces). You could also prepare theeyal with snake gourd (padavalanga), pearl onions (ulli), drumstick (muringakka), elephant yam (chena) etc. In case of snake gourd, drumstick and chena theeyal, you don’t need to saute the pieces in oil. Just cook the pieces in enough water, sliced pearl onions, turmeric powder, salt, tamarind extract, curry leaves etc and add ground coconut paste when done and pour the seasoning.

2. You can avoid pearl onions if you are preparing it for Onam sadya.

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