This feast is arranged mainly for weddings and during Onam.
The course include boiled rice, 10 to 15 vegetarian curries(dishes), banana chips, crispy pappad, pickles, bananas, rasom (fiery pepper soup), buttermilk, one or two varieties of payasam – jaggery and coconut-milk based, and the other milk-based.
Typically sadya is served as lunch in banana leaves. People eat sadhya sitting on mats on the floor. But these days, sadya is served on dining tables considering the convenience of the diners. The sadya is eaten with hand and requires special skill to eat without spilling the food. The banana leaf is placed with its tip facing the left of the diner and there is a specific place on the plantain leaf where each item is to be served. For instance, the pickles are always served on the top left corner and banana on the bottom left corner. Thus the waiters can easily identify the items to be replenished by just looking at his leaf.
The curries are made of different vegetables and coconut dominates most of the dishes in Kerala. Coconut milk is also used for flavouring desserts and curries while seasoning and frying is done in coconut oil. Some of the curries include avial, kalan, kootu curry, sambar etc. Sadya though heavy always ensures a well balanced diet with the right mix of all possible tastes. The first item to be eaten in a sadya is flavoured lentil with ghee and pappadam.
After the meals betel leaf with lime and arecanut is chewed, which helps in digestion after a heavy meal and also cleanses the palate.