The Coastal state of Odisha embellishes a fascinating culinary culture since ancient times. From continuing its local practices to nourishing and appreciating the cooking styles worldwide, the state exhibits a blend of religious, aesthetic, and philosophical essence through its culinary culture. Endowed with the blessing of Lord Jagannath, the eternal divinity in the state, cuisine in Odisha has been highly influenced by the religious factor. Most dishes form a part of the ‘Prashad’s associated with Lord Jagannath. These 10 Famous Dishes of Odisha are the ones you can’t afford to miss on your visit and might regret later.
Furthermore, a lot of dishes serve as a result of the influence of the neighbouring states. Also, to be noted, many traditional dishes of Odisha have come to the turn of modification influenced by the cuisine and cooking styles of the neighbouring regions.
The article focuses on the traditional, famous dishes of Odisha that abided by the state for long ravages of time, witnessing changes in customs, style, and even cultural trends in the state.
Here are some ‘try-these’ dishes of Odisha you can’t afford to miss on your visit
What would be better than this lentil dish to start the Odia cuisine with? From being attributed to the Savaras tribe, Dalma became a dish representing the cuisine of Orissa. It is a protein-rich dish made using vegetables and lentils.
The religious, historical tales suggest that the non-Aryan Savaras tribe boiled the tribe’s harvested vegetables along with chana daal and prepare Prashad on the festive days to offer Lord Neela Mahadev and his devotees. The priests of the puri temple recount this as the first incident of Lord Jagannath’s worship. Accounts of Mahabharata narrates the tale where Bheema. The royal cook punished the second eldest Pandava to cook without oil and spices, accepting which he prepared Dalma, inspired by the Hobiso Dalma made by Draupadi for Lord Krishna.
2. Enduro Pitha
The dish you would find in every house in Odisha if you visit the state during the Prathamastmi puja, celebrated to pray for the heartiness of the eldest child in the family. The flavoured steamed cake with coconut, green gram, and sugar filling has the savouring taste to uplift your mood and health—the steamed batter, wrapped in turmeric leaves, hence, adding other medicinal values to the dish.
Along with being one of the famous 10 dishes of Odisha that you can’t afford to miss, which closely rambles similarity in cuisine culture of South (patholi); people in modern times try to establish its resemblance with the western cake. This mouth-watering dish is often served along with Ghadaghadia, Dalma, or mutton curry.
The value pakahla holds in Odia cuisine resonates with the place held by oxygen in the air. The soul of Odia cuisine, nonetheless, follows a straightforward summer recipe. Tracing the term’s origins, it derives from the Sanskrit or Pali term “prakshalana”, meaning ‘wash’. Analogous to other famous dishes of Odisha, pakahla also tails connections with Lord Jagannath. The fermented rice dish, locally called ‘Torani’, dates back to the 12th century AD.
4. Chenna Poda
This sweetmeat dish adds to the already elaborate list of baked cakes in Odisha. The sweet brown burnt flavour of sugar on the deliciously tender chhena cake base gives the word an exceptional taste. The topping of nuts and raisins takes the tang to the next level. The famous paneer cake dish of Odisha was, in truth, an accidental invention. Sudarshan Sahu of Nayagarh gets the credit of creating this cottage cheese sweet dish.
The reason for the sweet nature of Odia must have to do with the sweetness-filled cuisine of the state. Khaja, the deep-fried layered pastry, forms a part of the Sukhila prasad offered in the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Odisha. Modern chefs sometimes compare the sweet dish with the Turkish baklawa. The three-ingredient recipe possesses unprecedented popularity in the Odia household. Likewise, states like Bihar and Andhra Pradesh follow as well. They are presenting yet another sugary dish of 10 dishes from Odisha which you can’t afford to miss. However, speculated to have originated in Oudh (in Uttar Pradesh), the Odia people have moulded the dish to fit their cuisine.
6. Alu Potala Rasa
The dish strikes a perfect balance between a tastebud pleasing recipe and a healthy dish. Served as a side dish, Alu Potala Rasa has fanned out its root beyond the boundaries of Odisha, becoming an essential dish in Bengal as well. Furthermore, in contrast with the non-spicy menu of Odisha, Alu Potala Rasa stands out as a hot peppery curry. The strange concoction of potatoes and pointed gourds with lots of spices and tanginess makes the dish unique. What could be a better way to eat pointed gourd than this?
7. Macha Ghanta
Odia cuisine is incomplete without mentioning fish. ‘Macha Ghanta’, when translated, means ‘fish mix’. As the name suggests, the recipe mixes two or more types of fish and a lot of vegetables. Durga puja on Dussehra cannot be performed without Macha Ghanta. Offered to Maa Durga, the dish has a delicate religious aspect attached to it. Muri Ghonto, fondly eaten in Bengal, has been served and referred to as the Bengali cone of Macha Ghanta. Served hot with rice and salad, this crispy and delicious fish head recipe is a must in the state.
8. Kadali Manja Rai
The vegan Kadali Manja Rai recipe too found its place in the rich cuisine of Odisha. Originally from dolia village, the banana stem curry serves as a perfect side dish with a meal in Odisha. Prepared using banana stem and mustard curry, the tingly-tangy taste of the plate is hard to forget. A rich source of Fibre, Vitamin B6, and Potassium, Manja (banana stem) in the dish has more than just one health benefit; in particular, it regulates insulin, haemoglobin, and blood pressure levels, and subsequently helpful for solving the issue of kidney stones.
Steamed vegetable dish, native to Odisha since times immemorial, Santula forms a part of the main course meal in the state. Prepared in two ways- either fried (Bhaja Santula) or boiled (Sijha Santula), the dish may include any and every seasonal vegetable(s) in the recipe. The vegetarian dish with mild spices and an epitome of healthy vegetables, Santula treated it as one of the most favoured dishes in Odisha. The vegetarian curry is famous among the old as well as the youth.
10. Chingudi jhola
Seafood is a must in the list of 10 dishes of Odisha that you can’t afford to miss on your visit. The plate, cooked with prawn and coconut milk, has been one of the most loved recipes in the state. Eaten by people in the river basin and coastal regions of Odisha since ancestral times, the dish has seen an evolution in style since then. This aromatic and delectable dish has successfully attracted not only the nationals but also foreign tourists, contributing to the culinary tourism in Odisha.
The paramountcy of culture and values seems evident in the cooking style and dishes. Diversity runs in the veins of Odisha, cowling even the culinary culture of the state. You can find sweetmeat as sweet as the natives. Although mainly the Odia cuisine comprises mild spices, time and again, the spicy food dishes are mind blogging and lip-smacking. Granted that Odisha is the ‘Goa of Eastern India’.