One of the Manevedaan school teachers, the lovely Jyothi and her husband Balabaskar asked us round for lunch on Sunday. They live in a beautiful and secluded part of Nilambur and Jyothi promised to serve us the famous sadhya - how could we refuse! Sadhya is the Keralan feast saved for special occasions such as weddings and consists of a small selection of different dishes served together on a banana leaf. The placement of each dish on the leaf is set and this leads how the meal is eaten; starting with the top left and working round. I can't tell you all the details of the meal - only that it was very tasty - thankfully wikipedia can help out http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadya. The appearance seems to be almost as important as the taste and it was certainly spectacular to look at.
For afters we were served a thick sweet drink called payasam, which traditionally you would drink out of the used banana leaves. Thankfully Jyothi realised this may have caused a bit of a mess and she served it in glasses instead. The main ingredients are milk, rice, cardamom, saffron and pistachios and what tasted like a few hundred grams of sugar! It was delicious though, tasting like warm carnation milk with rice noodles, nuts and fruit mixed in.
After lunch we headed down to the river for a quick paddle and I discovered the wonder of the churidar - while the sun was beating down I could wrap the shawl around my neck and head while still keeping cool. Perfect - roll on the uk Indian summer!