Malayalis all over the world celebrate the harvest festival -  a 10-day festival of ritualistic games, merriment and lots of special foods - which ends with Onam. The main event is the grand sadhya (banquet) where people gather together and eat food served on a banana leaf. A traditional sadhya consists of at least 26 vegetarian dishes that include both savoury and sweet preparations. Since these dishes are made with vegetables and nutritious grains, most of the Onam food is healthy to begin with, but we’ve figured a few better ways to start and end this celebration on a healthier note. Also Read: Fusion Ladoos for a Modern-Day Ganesh Chaturthi Feast


Banana chips A traditional feast begins with the serving of our most beloved snack, upperi, or banana chips. A handful of these are served at the start of the meal and then followed by the other dishes. However, if you’re keeping away from this snack because of the way it’s deep fried, here’s a healthier way to make this delicious snack in an air fryer, using only one teaspoon of oil.


1 Large raw plantain banana 1 tsp Coconut oil 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp Salt Pinch chilli powder


Pre-heat the air fryer at 180 Celsius. Peel the banana cut into thin slices. Take note that you shouldn’t make it wafer thin though, or the chips will start flying into the coils when they start getting crisper. In a bowl, toss in coconut oil and turmeric powder. Place the slices in the basket of pre-heated air fryer. Set the timer to 7-8 minutes. Remove the basket every 2 minutes or so, give it a good shake and continue air frying. They will turn lightly golden brown and crisp when done. Cool the chips for 2 minutes or so to make them crisper. Also Read: 5 Ways to Make Your Favourite Foods Healthier  

Semiya payasam

Payasam If Onam sadhya begins with a salty staple like upperi, it always ends on a sweet note with a dish like the payasam. To make this much-loved dessert healthy, we give you this semiya payasam recipe that uses coconut milk instead of dairy milk, which is healthier and lactose-free.  This recipe also replaces processed sugar with powdered jaggery, thus cutting down your intake of refined sugar.


1 litre Coconut Milk 1 cup Vermicelli 1 cup Jaggery powder 1 tbsp gGhee 10 – 12 Cashew nuts (halved) 2 – 4 Cardamom (crushed) Raisins- a handful 6 – 7 Almonds


Pour the coconut milk in a deep-bottomed pan and boil it on medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, till the milk thickens. Keeping stirring so that the milk doesn’t stick to the pan. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a skillet and roast the vermicelli. Fry the vermicelli till it becomes golden brown. Place it on a plate after it is roasted. In the same pan, roast almonds, raisins and cashew nuts. Fry till the cashew nuts and almonds become golden brown and the raisins become a little plump. Take out the roasted ingredients in another plate. Add the semiya (vermicelli) to the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer on medium heat till the vermicelli soaks milk. Add jaggery powder and stir well. Continue to boil till it dissolves. Add more jaggery if required. Put the pan off the heat. Sprinkle cardamom powder and mix. The Semiya payasam is ready. Garnish this traditional Onam dessert with roasted dry fruits like cashew nuts and almonds. Also Read: Everything You Need In Your Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Cover Image Courtesy:; Image Courtesy: