Happy Solar New Year

Now several people in a major part of India are oblivious to the fact that south India is made up of five states (Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) with distinct languages, cultures and celebrations. While Ugadi marks the new lunisolar year in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the same is celebrated as Vishu in Kerala and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Apart from the lunisolar cycles, being an agrarian country, the crops harvested in each region also makes the food very different for each celebration. April 14th is celebrated as Vishu/Puthandu and here are two food platters from the two states. As you notice; there is a variety of pachedi (chutneys), Kootu (gravied veggies), salads and vegetables on offer. The leaf is very balanced on your pallate, there is something sour, tangy, sweet, spicy, raw, soothing and filling; marking the very existence of how one’s life should be. A noticeable difference between the two plates is the presence of bananas (whole and as fried chips on the platter) in a Kerala Sadya. Sadyas are an elaborate preparation during Onam, which is the harvest festival in Kerala (which happens in the second half of the year). The Tamil virumb is usually seen during Pongal (which happens in January every year), the harvest festival of the state. There is a fixed place for every item on the banana leaf; pickles on the top left corner and the banana, fried stuff (like varathua peri, vadas etc) on the bottom left corner, and the sweet on the bottom right, which helps the servers to decide what is missing on the plantain leaf. The dishes served include rice, vegetables, sweet, pickles, fryums, sweets, curd and salt.

P.S.: The miniature feast plates are made by this phenomenal artist Shilpa (check out her incredible work here: sueno souvenir)

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