Kerala Sadhya Serving Order and Etiquette

The great Kerala sadhya is served on freshly cut banana leaves and is eaten on the floor with legs crossed. The leaf should end at the guest’s left side.

This meal is to be savored with the hands! Its believed that the hands have a warmth which brings out the flavor while mixing the dishes.

Sadhya serving order:

The entire meal begins with the serving of a pinch of salt at the left most corner. Then, the fried snack items or upperis are placed along with the pappad at the left top side. Next, all the curries are dolloped onto the banana leaf. Last comes the rice.


Initially, 2 large spoons of rice is served which is eaten with dhal and ghee. In the next round, rice is added again with a lavish topping of sambhar. Following that is serving of rice with kaalan or rasam.

After the rice is over, the payasam is poured into the centre of the banana leaf. You must then crush pappad and banana into it, and then eat it.

After the sadhya, you must fold the leaf towards you (the side facing away from you should be brought towards you) and can leave to wash your hands.

Kerala sadhya is the staple meal of traditional Kerala Hindu weddings and during festival times. During weddings, the sadhya is served on large tables, not on the floor.

Tradition says that all the sadhya items must be prepared at home. But now, many of the sides are available in shops, so work is easier! Using clay utensils and wooden spoons for cooking is said to enhance the flavor of the food.


Boli – served with the payasam in some places

There are many regional differences which come into play while serving sadhya. However, these ground rules are more or less the same. For some areas, instead of pappad with payasam, boli (a thick chana dhal sweet with jaggery filling) is given.

Some people even prepare fish curry gravy without the cooked fish piece for sadhya. Of course, that does take away the pristine vegetarianism for this divine meal!

What are the 26 dishes the sadhya comprises of? Click here to know!

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1 Response

  1. April 19, 2017

    […] Kerala sadhya serving style and etiquette […]

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