Readymade Onam ‘sadyas’ (traditional feast) are becoming a big hit with Keralites, who prefer it to the laborious cooking in their kitchens.
Taking advantage of this changing trend are a new brand of caterers, who have cropped up aplenty during the Onam festival season.
According to Sethu Lakshmi, a working woman, readymade sadyas are as good as the ones cooked at home, sometimes even better. “We get the ‘Kalan’, ‘Kootukari’ ‘Pachadies’ and different varieties of the feast without sweating out in the kitchen for hours together. This gives us space to celebrate the festival,” she says.
Anantharaman, owner of ‘Vinayaka’ caterers, says they offer the sadya with 22 varieties of dishes and two payasams at the rate of Rs 60 per person. The demand is so overwhelming that bookings stops 10 days before Onam.
About 2.5 lakh sadya orders were taken last year during the ten-day long Onam festivities and it has touched around 3.5 lakh this Onam, he said.
With an increasing number of women working now, many households prefer the readymade sadyas, he said.
Shabab, Executive Director of Nila Caterers, says they offer about 24-56 Onam sadya items, priced between Rs 70 to Rs 250. IT professionals were their main clients, he said.
The caterers have a food court at Infopark, Kochi, and there was good demand for their sadya varieties, he said.
It is not only the households who order the sadya complete with ‘payasams’ (sweet dish), but also various offices which celebrate the festival.
Various hotels also offer the sadyas, though the price may vary according to the rating of the hotels.
There are hotels offering at least 30 varieties of dishes and two ‘payasams’ Besides, there are other offers too.
On a single bill of four sadyas, one can take home free of cost, one litre ice cream pack. Another city hotel has promised customers 55 delicacies, including non-vegetarian and ethnic specialities.
The Karyayogam, being run by Nair Samajam, does roaring business, selling a variety of pickles, banana chips, sweet jaggery chips, sweets and savouries. Their ‘Ada’ payasam is a big hit.
The Kerala Brahmin and Tulu Brahmin communities also market a wide variety of products during Onam, which sells like hot cakes.