Palada Pradhamam

Palada Pradhamam in Onam Sadhya

Palada Pradhamam is a rich and sweet delicious porridge made during the festival of Onam. It is a fitting finale to the Onam Sadhya meal, Made with rice flakes, milk and jaggery, the taste will linger much after the bowl is empty.

Palada Pradhamam
Palada Pradhamam

What is Onam?

Onam is an annual holiday and an official festival celebrated in Kerala, a southern state in India. It is also a harvest festival, and falls on the 22nd nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam, which in Gregorian calendar overlaps with August–September.

This year, it falls on August 31st, 2020.

The 10-day harvest festival began on 22nd August, and ends on 2nd September, 2020. 

What is the significance of the festival of Onam?

During this period, people in Kerala commemorate the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali,who was considered a great ruler from the underworld, to which he was banished to.

It is said that the great king was sent to the underworld by Maha Vishnu (or Vamana), but was given an allowance to visit his people once a year, hence Onam.

Legend has it that when Mahabali ruled, there was no discrimination based on caste, and there was no corruption or crime. Hence the people of Kerala celebrate it with much joy and enthusiasm.

How do the people of Kerala celebrate Onam?

Onam is celebrated by the people of Kerala with….

Traditional performances

Tradtional performances like Kummati Kali (a colorful mask-dance) and Theyyam performers (ritual dance)

Theyyam performer
(Image courtesy -The Net)

or by Pulikali performers (a colorful recreational folk art, where artists are painted like tigers and hunters) are part of Onam Celebrations.

Image courtesy -The Net)

Food,People and Culture

Apart from gorgeous fresh flower decorations and traditional Kasavu saree that women wear on this special occasion….

Fresh Flower Decorations
(Image courtesy : The Net)

…..and power-packed snake boats lined up on the shores for the boat races,

Traditional Boat Races
(Image courtesy : The Net)

……the highlight of the festival is an elaborate meal called the Onam Sadhya.

Onam Sadhya
(Picture courtesy- The Net)

What is Onam Sadhya?

Onam Sadhya, which in the South Indian language of Malayalam means ‘banquet’ . It is a sensational multi-course vegetarian meal that features over 24 dishes on a plantain leaf.  

Onam Sadhya is enjoyed without any cutlery and is usually eaten while sitting on the floor, where food is served on plantain leaves.

What does the traditional Onam Sadhya include?

The usual items in a traditional Onam Sadhya include:

  • Kaaya varuthatha (banana chips) 
  • Chena varuthatha (yam chips) 
  • Sarkara upperi (Jaggery coated banana chips)
  • Mango pickle
  • Lime pickle 
  • Puli inji (tamarind & ginger chutney) 
  • Kichadi (Gourd in mildly spiced yoghurt) 
  • Pachadi (Pineapple in yoghurt)
  • Olan ( ash gourd with black beans in a coconut milk gravy)
  • stir-fried vegetables with grated coconut
  • Theeyal (mixed vegetable gravy) 
  • Erissery (mashed beans and pumpkin with coconut gravy) 
  • Avial 
  • Puliserry (yogurt based curry) 
  • kootu curry (chick peas curry) 
  • Sambar 
  • Rasam
  • Spicy buttermilk
  • Bananas 
  • Papad 
  • boiled rice
  • Palada Pradhamam, a sweet dish made of milk
  • Jeera Vellam ( cumin water)

The Back story

Student days are full of happy memories.Along with pursuing professional education, I also made life long friends during this phase of my life.Many of my friends traveled from this state of Kerala, to seek education in the same school I went to.

Our dormitory life soon became our second home. We celebrated every festival that happened around us with vigor and zeal.Laughter echoed along the corridors of our dormitories, little did we know then that those were precious life long memories we were making to hold and cherish for years to come.

So when this festival rolls around each year, I am teleported to a time in life, where I hear laughter and smell jasmine flowers along the corridor of our dormitories. Our friends from Kerala were traditionally dressed in kasavu sarees and Chandana kuri/sandal wood paste on their forehead and greeted us with elaborate ‘pookolams’/fresh flower decorations.

Years later we traveled together to their homes in Kerala, during breaks only to taste all the wonderful food that was served to us in the Onam Sadhya . To me, they will always remain among my fondest memories of growing up together, happy, joyful and young with so much dreams and hope for the future.

It was during one such trips, that I tasted this dish called the Palada Pradhamam at my friends and fell in love with the deliciousness of this sweet dish.We did not stop with just one helping (days when the weighing scale did not exist in our minds).

Years later, when I moved to this country, during one such festive times, I was stuck with nostalgia. I searched high and low for the ada/rice flakes ( that specifically go into this dish) in the Indian stores around and finally found it in a store, which was run by a Malayali. Needless to say, I came home with ada/rice flakes and fish pickles and a heart full of joy that day.

Now all I had to do was stir in the palada pradhamam to make the delicious sweet memories come back to life all over again.I could hear the laughter in the corridors, smell the jasmines once again, feel the rustling of the kasavu sarees .Festivals in India, is all about celebrating life and celebrate we did.

Palada Pradhamam in Onam Sadhya

Palada Pradhamam in Onam Sadhya

Recipe by Maya Shetty
0.0 from 0 votes

Prep time

Cooking time



Total time



  • 1 packet Rice flakes/Ada

  • 3/4 cup Powdered Jaggery

  • 1 tin Coconut Milk

  • 1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 4 tbsp Ghee

  • 2 -3 Cardamom

  • 3 -4 Cashew nuts

  • 3 -4 Almonds

  • 2 cups Water


  • Boil water in a pan .To this add the ada/rice flakes. Allow it to cook, Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the rice flakes from sticking to each other and forming lumps.
  • Next, switch off the heat and keep covered for 20minutes.
  • Next, drain the hot water and rinse with cold water. This helps prevent the rice flakes from sticking to each other .Set aside.
  • Now, in a thick bottomed vessel/pan, add the jaggery with a few tablespoons of water, and stir it till it melts completely,
  • To this, then add the coconut milk and condensed milk and keep stirring. Next add the cooled ada to the milk and jaggery mix . Gently bring it to a boil after stirring occasionally.
  • Switch off the heat and add the powdered cardamom to it. Keep covered and set aside.
  • Now fry the almonds & the cashew nuts in a little ghee and garnish the Pradhamam.
  • Allow it to sit, it will thicken gradually. Serve it hot or cold.


  • Once you add the coconut milk, do not let it boil for too long.
  • Savor the palada pradhamam one sip at a time, and do complete justice to the ‘King of the feast’ 🙂

Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per ServingCalories1073
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 77g 119%
    • Saturated Fat 46g 230%
  • Cholesterol 206mg 69%
  • Sodium 221mg 10%
  • Potassium 612mg 18%
  • Total Carbohydrate 88g 30%
    • Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
    • Sugars 84g
  • Protein 14g 29%

  • Vitamin A 8%
  • Vitamin C 6%
  • Calcium 46%
  • Iron 6%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

List of some of my festive food from India

Check out some of my other sweet dishes, prepared during festivals or during celebrations.Click on any of the sweet dishes below to be taken to my blog post directly.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know all about the festival of Onam, are you going to try making some palada pradhamam in celebration?

Onam Ashamshakal!

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3 years ago

Sounds like a fun celebration with the added bonus of delicious food.

3 years ago

Sounds yummy! I love your descriptions and reasons for each dish.

3 years ago

Great festival! Wonderful photos and recipe! Thanks for sharing!

Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life
Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life
3 years ago

I love the colorful background on these festivals…and the food looks scrumptious as well 🙂

Jill DeMasi
Jill DeMasi
3 years ago

4 stars
Thanks for sharing your heritage and delicious recipes!

3 years ago

Very interesting cuisine and culture!

3 years ago

I love seeing the traditions like the fresh flower displays! And isn’t it funny how food can ignite memories? I’m glad the Palada Pradhamam brought back the happy memories you were seeking. It sounds tasty and comforting!

Alexis Farmer
3 years ago

Happy Festival day!

3 years ago

5 stars
What a fun festival and great culture experience, especially those with great recipes! Thank you for sharing.. I love learning new things!

3 years ago

Such colorful performers! Nice!

Sabrina DeWalt
3 years ago

I love when food takes you back in time. Always such a pleasant memory.

Sydney Delong
3 years ago

5 stars
What a fun festival! And the Palada Pradhamam looks delicios!!

Lisa Manderino
Lisa Manderino
3 years ago

Happy Festival Day! This looks like such a fun celebration!

3 years ago

Thanks for sharing. We love trying new recipes from other countries.

3 years ago

It’s so fun to learn about another culture! Thank you for sharing and the recipe sounds delicious too!

3 years ago

This sounds like an amazing festival!

3 years ago

Onam Sadhya looks delicious! Thanks for teaching, it’s so interesting hearing about different holidays from other countries!

3 years ago

Those traditional foods for the feast sound amazing. Very unique!