Deciphering India | The Mannerism,How To Fold Banana Leaf After Eating | Kerala Sadya
shared by Tarun Gaur
My recent tour Kerala Blog Express of Kerala : The Gods Own Country courtesy Kerala Tourism is not yet concluded , or may be i am not letting it to get over. The memories of this tour are still lingering in my mind like they happened yesterday only,parties , that hectic schedule and those lovely 26 bloggers from 14 countries , i am missing all.
Things have totally changed now, for me Kerala was like a most sought after Honey Moon destination of India, but this perspective has changed a lot and has taken a U-Turn now, culture of kerala , their happy faces , fishermans of kerala and their fight for lively hood has taken the deepest and permanent corner of both my heart and mind. The more opportunity i am getting to know more about Kerala , the more i am willing to skip my other priorities of life.
Same thing happened with me, when on just gone Saturday i got the invitation to attend the first Birthday of a child , whose father owns a South Indian Restaurant in my Village. We have been knowing him from my childhood , has been brought up eating Idli , Dosa and Sambhar bought from his Restaurant , which i still remember South Indian food was our favourite breakfast on Sundays and eagerly waited for it , as that gave us the chance to skip the National Breakfast of most part of Northern India ” Aloo Paranthas ( Potato Stuffed wheat Bread cooked in lot of Oil )”.
DADA , which we call him , called me in the morning to invite me for his sons Birthday. Though his conversation started with a much obvious line , which any keralite would say on knowing that to whom they are talking has recently came from Kerala Tour.
DADA : Hello Tarun , Still Missing Kerala ? Thinking of Going back ?
ME : No DADA , its not possible , atleast till the time i am not over with all my blogs of Kerala , it keeps me thinking about kerala.
DADA : Wow, Tarun then relive your kerala days again, tomorrow is my sons first Bday and i am inviting you for SADYA.
ME : SADYA , don’t tell me DADA , you are great , but prepare the food for two people as i am going to starve whole day or atleast i am going to skip my dinner today like a true Brahmin, to enjoy the Flavour of Kerala food to the most.
DADA : Sure Tarun , I would be waiting for you ( He was laughing out loud after hearing my these lines.
My conversation on phone was over and the waiting period had started, toughest part of life is waiting and i had to face to more than 24 hours , the toughest 24 hour in near past i have gone through. Finaly the time had arrived and i was at his place at right time for SADYA. Things were all ready , Banana leaf was ready and was waiting for food and i was waiting for it to be filled so that i could click the pic of fully loaded Banana leaf.
Wow , SADYA had been served , and i was waiting for DADA to come join me and get started.
By the time DADA comes , i think this is the time i should you all about SADYA , though the way we are going to eat has already been told in the previous blog of mine(CLICK HERE : Why Eat With Hand And How) , so here i would give you a list of food items which are generally prepared for SADYA , i had asked DADA about this food list and he had prepared it for me and given me a written note which i am putting here, recipe you guys can find in a kerala recipe book , i don’t know how to cook all these.
Parippu Curry (Simmered lentils enhanced with ghee)
Pachadi (Preserved cucumber in Yoghurt)
Inchi Puli (An emulsion of tamarind, jaggery and ginger)
Kichadi (Coconut enriched gravy with pineapple)
Erissery (Mashed Pumpkins and red beans in coconut)
Kaalan (Raw banana cooked in mildly spiced coarse coconut)
Olan (White pumpkin simmered with beans in coconut milk)
Avial (Ethnic vegetable cooked dry with coarsely ground coconut and yoghurt)
Thoran (Any local vegetable cooked dry with coarsely ground coconut)
Kootu Curry (Assortment of vegetables and spices)
Sambhar (Stew of lentil and vegetables)
Pulissery (Tempered yoghurt with turmeric with curry leaf infusion)
Pachamoru (Spiced butter milk)
Banana Payasam (Dessert with jaggery, coconut milk flavored with cardamom)
So atlast DADA has arrived now , Bon Appetite and lets get started.
I was once again going through the same dilemma , ” Whether I Would Be Able To Finish This Food Or Not ” , as it is sacred and is cooked on special days , like that day it was his Sons Birthday which is one of the most special day for any father. Any person having SADYA is suppose to consume the whole food , atleast try to finish the max the possible. Though you are not breaking any Indian Law , but yes you would scratch somebody’s heart a bit , who is in this point of time is your Host. It might be bit annoying for him and he might not like it.
I generally never leave food in my plate , and even try to tell others also who joined me that time , Just telling them one line ” Its A God’s Blessing That You Have So Much In Your Plate That You Can Eat And Waste Both , But Think Of Those Starving People On Earth Who Gets A Single Meal A Day After Lot Of Hard Work ( A social Message For All My Readers, spread it) “.
It took i think 15 minutes to finish my food , but as it happens in SADYA , somebody would be watching your food standing somewhere and would guide his helpers to come with that specific item which is not visible on the Banana leaf. Same was happening here and as i am North Indian , here we just raise our hand above the plate to stop the waiter to refill our plate, but in Kerala its different way which i came to know that day.
DADA was just sitting adjacent to me , he noticed me saying NO again and again whenever his wife came to ask me, if i needed something. He very smartly asked me , ” So the Both of Tarun are full , they don’t want any more ” , i knew he was pointing towards our phone conversation , so i replied ” Yes DADA both are full now , no space in stomach now to put in even a single rice “.
Then came the surprise part , he got up from his seat and folded my Banana Leaf.
I was curious to know why DADA did this , I waited for him to finish his food to ask about this whole thing.
Why Did You Folded My Banana Leaf DADA ? , I wanted to know about this, i knew there would be something special in it “How To Fold Banana Leaf After Eating”. First thing he asked me was ” Are You Going To Write This also ” , i Replied ” Yes DADA sure , if it would sound something interesting and Unique “.
So then he started telling me ” Look Tarun , i saw you raising your hand again and again to say NO , i have seen this many a people doing in my restaurant as well , but there i serve in plate , but here at my home and even when i am in kerala we to like this , its the simplest way to show your gesture that you are done with your food and you don’t want anymore “.
Then he went on much detail about it , which was the most interesting part
” Tarun did you noticed the way i folded your banana leaf , it was from Top to Bottom , this is the way we fold Banana leaf when we have gone for SADYA on a happy day , like its my sons Birthday today , its a happy day for me and i think for you as well , and same would be repeated if you came for my Marriage Anniversary party or any other occasion which is celebrated , But do remember Tarun , as you would be writing about it most probaboly , you must inform this also that its the other way when SADYA is for some sad occasions, like somebody has died in family and somebody arranges SADYA for society members , that day they would be folding the Banana Leaf from Bottom to Up”.
And one more thing Tarun , “This custom is not followed in all parts of kerala, in some parts they don’t bother which way they are folding , but yes folding the Banana leaf is must after finishing your meal”.
I was seriously awestruck after knowing all this , Kerala and its deep rooted culture is surprising me every now and then, whenever i am looking for more about kerala , may be that’s the reason which forced me to launch this series of blog of mine , ” DECIPHERING INDIA ” , though one more reason is behind it , The Doubts of my Fellow bloggers which they used to ask on my Kerala Blog Express tour , either to me or to our Guide Manoj Vasudevan Nair.