Today was Onam. All over the world, wherever there is a mallu, Onam is celebrated, regardless of colour caste or creed. Onam is special. It is our festival, it is a time for gathering family and fiends together and swapping stories about how big your sadya ( feast) was..
This year, there was a big difference. We mallu muslims were faced with a big question. To celebrate onam or not to celebrate. This year , caste did come in the way of celebrations. For muslims all over, Ramzaan is happening .. we are fasting . So how can we celebrate Onam when our religion tells us to restrain from celebrations and merrymaking and concentrate on prayers?
So all of us mallu muslims were put on the spot. No Onam for us this year. And so we watched all mallus celebrate Onam without us..
Normally, every year for Onam, My family would gather at the ancestral home of my husband. Clad in traditional Mallu wear, we would be a sight for sore eyes. In cream mundus with the grand gold border, the traditional mallu costume is beyond words. The children would be wearing paavada and blouses in a variety of colours…every lady would be sporting a long strand of jasmine on her hair, and chunky gold jewellery too.
We would put the pookkalam(floral carpet). The kids would do it, with many comments and teasing from the elders..

And we would serve the traditional Kerala feast on tender plantain leaves (thooshanilaa). Steaming hot rice, Pappadam, Sambaar , Parippu, Olan, Kaalan, Aviyal, Pachadi, Achaar, Upperi, Sharkkaravaratti, …..the menu is a foodie’s delight!!
The ladies would serve the men first, then the children..and when they were finished , we ladies would sit down to be served by the men and children.
Aaah…so many things we are missing this year…
So today, in defiance of the fact that it was Onam, I made this totally non mallu like item for Iftaar( breaking fast).
Mutton Vindaloo!!



Mutton 1 kg.
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger ½ inch piece
Turmeric 1 tsp
Red chillies 10
Cumin Seeds 4tsp
Vinegar ¼ cup
Onions sliced 4
Tomatoes chopped 4
Green chillies 2
Salt 1tsp


1. Wash meat. Wipe dry.
2. Grind together red chillies, ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin. Make a paste with the vinegar.
3. Smear the paste on the meat and keep aside for 2 hours.
4. In a pressure cooker, sauté onions in 4 tbsp oil till soft ;put in meat and sauté again.
5. Throw in the tomatoes, green chillies, salt, and add enough water to just cover the meat.
6. Pressure cook for 20 minutes.
7. If it’s too watery, cook agin without covering till it is thick gravy.
8. Serve hot with rotis, or any type of bread.

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