Sadhya is the feast consisting of various dishes which are traditionally served on a banana leaf. It is normally prepared during weddings, festivals and special events. Sadhya can have around 24-30 different dishes served in a single course.
The main ingredient is cooked rice served with side dishes that includes Sambar, Rasam, Parippu curry, Pulisseri, Aviyal, Kaalan, Olan, Thoran, Pachadi, Kichadi, Koottukari, Erissery, Pulinji, Moru curry, Pickles and also Papaadam, Plantain chips, Sharkara Upperi, Banana. After this, the traditional dessert known as payasam is also served. The side dishes differ in each region. This is a complete vegetarian feast using traditional and seasonal vegetables.
Sadhya is served for lunch and the preparations for the dishes starts the previous night itself. Those who make the preparations have a great time talking with each other while making the preparations. Traditionally people sit on mats on the floor, but nowadays it is served on the table as it is inconvenient for many to sit on the floor.
When the banana leaf is placed on the table, tradition insists that the tapering side of the leaf must be on the left side of the person. The dishes are served on the banana leaf in a specific order. The serving usually starts with the Plantain chips and Sharkara Upperi from the left side of the banana leaf. The various side dishes are then placed one after the other on the top portion of the leaf. The rice is served in the lower half of the leaf. There is a specific order while having the feast too. The feast starts with the parippu curry and ghee. Secondly sambar is served followed by rasam and buttermilk. The payasam is then served at last and there may be more than one payasams also.
Once the meal is finished, the banana leaf is folded and It is considered that if the leaf is folded away from you, it indicates satisfaction while the leaf folded towards you indicates that the meal was not satisfactory and that it needs improvement. It is really a true delicacy and one must have sadhya at least once in their lifetime.