Here is why pappadams are the star of Onam season

Poppadums with riati and spicy dip. Indian food from the Indian subcontinent served with dips and curries

Crispy pappadam dons a major position in the plantain leaf while serving the elaborate and rich Onam sadya (feast). It is crumbled into piping hot rice, dal and ghee and also adds a perfect flavour contrast with the sweet payasam (dessert). The pappadam-making industry has become active in the wake of the upcoming Onam celebrations. They are available in small, medium and big sizes as well.

A bundle of 100 big pappadams cost Rs 140, while a bundle of small ones is sold for Rs 120. Special pappadams too are available in the market which costs up to Rs 200 for a bundle of 100 pieces. Most people buy pappadams sold in printed packets. The price of the pappadams would vary depending upon the number of pieces in the packet. Industrialization has reached the pappadam making industry as well, due to shortage of skilled labourers and unfavourable weather conditions.

In the olden days a bundle or two of homemade pappadams were bought from the houses in the neighbourhood itself. These houses functioned as pappadam-making units as well where high quality urad dal was powdered and mixed into dough by adding salt as required. This dough was then rolled and dabbed in pappadam flour and placed on straw mats to be dried under the sun. The pappadams which were sold from these homes had distinct taste and flavour and were the favourite during the Onam season.

However, in the course of time, it became extremely difficult to make handmade pappadams and many were turned into small pappadam-making units where machines are used for production. Though the demand for pappadams hasn’t gone down, this industry faces severe shortage of skilled workers. The recurrent rains and the severe weather conditions have affected the pappadam production during the Onam season. Most producers now prefer drying pappadams by placing them on sacks. However, the makers are confident that they would be able to supply enough pappadams to make Keralites onasadya extra special and delicious.