Despite being rich in culture, traditions, and history, people do not pay that much attention to this beautiful state of India. On the other hand, Odia cuisines have not been able to capture people’s imagination. But the unique cooking style of Odisha makes it a major food destination in eastern India. Through this blog, we will try to understand one of the oldest culinary heritage of India. So, let’s go to explore some of the mouth-watering delicious foods of Odisha.
Mahaprasad- Precious Food of Odisha
Mahaprasad is one of the greatest foods of every Odia delicacy. It is the offerings to Lord Jagannath prepared at Puri Jagannath temple. Mahaprasad includes 56 items, so it is also famous as Chhapan bhog. It has a history, that when Lord Krishna saved a village from a great storm by holding the Govardhan mountain, he missed eight meals, for seven days. So his mother, Yashoda, gave him all the 56 meals in a single day. Mahaprasad is like nectar for the people of Odisha. Mahaprasad includes almost every food from the cuisine of Odisha.
Pakhala Bhata- Best Summer Food
Pakhala bhata (water rice) is a popular food of Odisha that almost every Odia household cook this in the summer season. It is mainly prepared by soaking the leftover rice in water and sour curd. Other food served with Pakhala like Fried potatoes, fried fish, and badi choora further enhances the taste of the dish. The temple of Lord Jagannath is the main source of the recipe for this dish. Nowadays, this dish has several variations like Dahi pakhala, Jeera pakhala, Saja pakhala, and Basi pakhala.
Other than Odisha, this dish is also famous in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam, and Tamil Nadu. This food has different names in different areas like Pazhaiya Sadam in Tamil Nadu, Panta Bhat in West Bengal, Bore Bhat in Chhattisgarh, in Jharkhand, linguistic communities call this as Paani Bhat, and Assamese people call this Poita Bhat. Odia people celebrate 20th March as Pakhala Dibas to welcome the summer with Odisha’s best traditional dish. If you come to Odisha in the summer season, then it is a must-try dish.
Dalma- Traditional Food of Odisha
Discussion about the food of Odisha without Dalma seems incomplete. Dalma is one of those staple foods which provides a unique taste. Dalma was first served in 1161 when the Jagannath temple was built and is still part of the Mahaprasad today.
This unique cuisine of Odisha is cooked with Arhar dal and a good amount of vegetables like papaya, pumpkin, brinjal, yam, etc. Dalma is famous among the Odias and as well as the tourists. This mouth-watering dish perfectly pairs with hot rice.
Kanika is a traditional sweet pulao of Odisha, which is one of the dishes of Chhapan bhog of Lord Jagannath. Aromatic basmati rice, ghee, cashew, and raisins are the main ingredients to cook this delicious food. This is mostly prepared in temples as an offering. Its texture, fragrance, and taste are so amazing that can beat fried rice and biriyani.
Khatta is one of the sweet and tangy chutneys of Odisha. Several varieties of khatta can be tasted in Odisha, like Tomato khatta, Aamba (raw mango) khatta, Oou (elephant apple) khatta, which are different in their taste and texture. Khatta is mostly consumed in lunch, which works best in balancing the heavy meal with it’s sweet and tangy taste. Even though it can be taken with every meal, but its combination with rice and Dalma is the best.
Dahi Baigana is another sweet, yet tangy dish of Odisha. The main ingredients of this dish are brinjal (eggplant) and curd. Apart from these, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, dry chili, curry leaves add extra flavor to this dish. There is no need for onion and garlic to prepare this delicious item.
Besara- Simple and Authentic food
Besara is another vegetarian food of Odisha, which is very healthy and nutritious. This is one of the simplest food of Odisha includes potato, pumpkin, banana, and papaya. The mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, and dry chili further enhance the taste of the dish. It is an authentic Odia food from the cuisine of Odisha.
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Aloo Potala Rasa
Aloo Potala rasa is another popular dish of Odisha prepared with potato and pointed gourd (parwal). A bit of cashew paste or onion/garlic paste enhances the taste of this food. Like other Odia foods, it is also served to Lord Jagannath in Mahabhog at puri temple.
Chhatu rai or Chhatu Besar is one of the traditional and healthy foods of Odisha. This popular dish is full of vegetables and high in nutrition. Tomatoes, loads of mushrooms, turmeric powder, and tangy mustard paste mostly play a key role in enhancing the taste of this food. It is famous not only in Odisha but also all over India. If you are planning to visit Odisha, then you should try this tangy, delicious dish.
Kadali Manja Rai
Kadali Manja rai is another lip-smacking dish from Odisha, which is famous for its unique taste. Banana stem, cardamom, cumin, garlic cloves, and mustard paste mainly plays the key role to cook this delicious dish. The aroma of this dish is so amazing and it is one of the perfect side dishes to enjoy with rice.
Chingudi Malai- A Delicious Seafood
Chingudi malai is one of the popular non-vegetarian food of Odisha, cooked with prawn and coconut milk. The coconut milk helps in providing a creamy gravy to this delicacy. Light and mild local spices further enrich the flavor of this dish. This delightful, flavorsome, and lip-smacking dish is best served with steamed hot basmati rice. If you are a seafood lover, then you must try this one.
As a coastal state, fish is one of the famous staple food of Odisha. The delightful and mouth-watering Macha ghanta is extremely popular in Odisha, as almost every Odia household is familiar to this one. This traditional food of Odisha is an offering to Maa Durga on Dusshera. This delicious curry consists of the fried head of the fish, and it is a perfect blend of onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, and other local spices. It pairs best with hot rice and salad. If you are a fish lover and especially you are from Bengal, then it must be your first choice in Odisha.
Mudhi Mansa is one of the traditional foods of Odisha. The invention of this mouth-licking dish goes to the Baripada district of Odisha. It is a perfect combination of puffed rice with meat. The goat’s meat is properly marinated in mustard oil and loads of spices. Then the meat is added to a tasty gravy made with tomatoes, onions, and other spices. This delicious curry with crunchy mudhi or puffed rice is one of the best snack options.
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Chaula bara (Rice vada) is another lip-smacking delicacy that makes you fall in love with the foods of Odisha. These light, fluffy, and crispy balls are mainly made with rice and urad dal. 4 parts of rice and 1 part of urad dal are soaked overnight and blended into a coarse paste. Other ingredients like carom seeds, cumin seeds, salt, pepper, coriander leaves, and a pinch of baking soda provide an extra taste to this dish. The fresh and deep-fried Chaula bara always tastes better with spicy and tangy chutney.
Dahi Bara-Aloo Dum
Dahi Bara Aloo Dum is one of the best street foods of Odisha. Though it is found in every nook and corner of the state, Cuttack is the perfect place to have Dahi bara aloo dum. It is the combination of three different foods that is Dahi Vada, ghuguni, and aloo dum. Other parts of the country sell these food items separately, but Odisha is the only place where you can find these in a combination, and that is the specialty of this dish. You can find a large number of vendors selling Dahi bara in every street of the city, keeping Dahi bara in a big pot and aloo dum in a small pot. The spiciness of aloo dum and the tangy flavor of Dahi bara gives you a relishing taste.
Chakuli Pitha- Softer version of Dosa
Every Odia is familiar to Chakuli pitha as it is a popular food of Odisha. It is one of the famous foods of Odisha which looks like a dosa, but it is the softer version of dosa. A thick batter is prepared by mixing black grams and rice, which are soaked overnight, and then by adding little oil, the batter is poured on the pan and is cooked from both sides. Chakuli with Ghuguni (curry) and chutney seems to be a perfect breakfast meal. If you are in Odisha, then it will be the best breakfast option for you.
Podo pitha is another famous sweet delicacy of Odisha. It is a slow-cooked pitha consists of fermented rice, black gram, cardamom, and coconut as the main ingredients. The outer portion of this pitha is slightly burnt, while the inner side is soft and white. It is one of the major foods during Raja parba. It is also served to Lord Jagannath and his siblings at Mausi Maa temple while returning to Jagannath temple from the Gundicha temple during Rath Jatra.
Kakara pitha is another sweet, deep-fried pitha, especially found in Odisha. This pitha has a crispy outside, and the inner side is filled with sweet coconut stuffing. The main ingredients of this pitha are wheat flour, semolina, coconut, sugar, and black pepper. Almost every Odia family prepare this cake during festivals.
Enduri Pitha is one of the most popular pithas in Odisha. Black gram, rice flour, coconut, jaggery, black pepper are the main ingredients of this dish. Wrapped in turmeric leaves, Enduri pitha has a Laxative effect. Its cooking style, texture, and taste are completely different from other pithas of Odisha. Enduri pitha is a major dish during Manabasa Gurubar and Prathamastami. Enduri pitha is one of the many other pithas offered to Lord Jagannath at Puri temple in breakfast.
Manda pitha is Odisha’s traditional momo. It is a steamed pitha prepared during the festivals of monsoon and post-monsoon like Manabasa Gurubar, Durga puja, and Kumar Purnima. The outside of the pitha is made of steamed rice and the inner side is filled with chhena, coconut, jaggery, and black pepper. It also resembles Modak of Maharashtra and Kozhakkattai of South India.
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Rasagola is one of the most popular foods in Odisha, which is famous throughout India. Like all Odia foods, it has also a connection with Lord Jagannath. These sweetest softballs of chhena (cottage cheese) give you a heavenly taste with its different texture and flavor. The sweetness and taste of rasagola make it one of the must-try foods in Odisha. Your trip to Odisha is incomplete if you haven’t tried rasagola once.
Odisha is famous for its unique desserts, and Chhena Poda is Odisha’s cheesecake. Among the Mahabhog, it is one of the most favorite sweets of Lord Jagannath. In Odia, Chhena Poda means Roasted Cheese. Well-kneaded cottage cheese, sugar syrup, and semolina are the main ingredients for the preparation of this dessert. After baking for several hours, it turns brown and gives a heavenly taste. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Nayagarh district of Odisha first discovered Chhena Poda. If you are in Odisha and you are a sweet loving person, then it must be your first choice.
Odisha is full of several mouth-licking sweet dishes, and Rasabali is one of them. Kendrapada district of Odisha is famous for Rasabali. Rasabali is the favorite food of Lord Baladevjew, whose temple is in the Kendrapada district. It is also one of the dishes of Chhapan bhoga of Lord Jagannath at Puri temple.
Rasabali consists of deep-fried flattened reddish-brown patties of chhena (cottage cheese), soaked in condensed and sweetened milk. The crushed cardamom in the condensed milk further enhances the taste of this dish.
Chhena Jhilli is another famous dessert from the cuisine of Odisha. Nimapada in Puri district of Odisha is the native place of this sweet dish. The core ingredient of this dish is cottage cheese, and the other ingredients are sugar, sugar syrup, ghee, wheat flour, cardamom powder, semolina, and a tad bit of salt. Small balls are made from dough and deep-fried in oil. These cheese balls coated with sugar syrup gives a heavenly taste.
Chhena Gaja is another chhena (cottage cheese) based dessert of Odisha. Although the ingredients of Chhena Gaja are similar to other chhena-based sweets like rasagola and chhena poda, the taste of this dish is completely different. Well-kneaded chhena and semolina prepare a perfect dough. The water is squeezed out of the dough and then dried thoroughly to give it the right consistency. The palm-sized rectangular shape is given to the dough and then boiled in thick sugar syrup. A place near Bhubaneswar, Pahala is the perfect place to savor Chhena Gaja. Unlike other chhena-based desserts like rasagola, which are famous throughout India, Chhena Gaja is largely popular only in Odisha. So, if you are in Odisha, then you must try this one.
Chhena Jalebi is the perfect dessert of Odisha, which completely satisfies your cravings for sweets. It looks like a normal jalebi, but its main ingredient chhena makes it unique. It is a little bit thick and heavy in size than the regular one. Its texture is also different from the normal jalebi. So, if you are a sweet loving person, then it will match your expectation.
Puri district of Odisha is famous for several sweet foods, and Khaja is one of them and you can find it easily in every nook and corner of this city. This crisp, cracking sweet dish is full of flavors and textures. Khaja is one of the favorite food of Lord Jagannath. Refined flour, ghee, sugar, water, cardamom, and rose water are the main ingredients of this sweet dish. The dough is kneaded to prepare thin tortillas, that are kept one above the other to give layers, and then they are cut into pieces. These tortillas are deep-fried until they turn golden brown, and then they are dipped in sugar syrup to add sweetness and crunchiness.
Kora Khai is a unique sweet item of Odisha popular as Prasad to Lord Jagannath. It mainly consists of Khai (fried paddy), coconut, jaggery, and cardamom. It is comparatively a little bit hard and chewy than other sweets. Fresh coconut and caramelized Khai gives a perfect taste, which is quite different than other sweet items.
Palua Ladu is another fascinating sweet dish from the cuisine of Odisha. Many believe that the Bhadrak district of Odisha is the native place of this food. This traditional dish consists of palua (arrowroot powder), refined flour, semolina (sooji), water, oil, sugar, and a pinch of baking soda as the basic ingredients. The Palua helps in providing a different texture to this one. It is mainly popular among the local people.
These are some of the most delicious foods of Odisha. Apart from these, some other foods are also popular in some regions of Odisha. So what are you waiting for? Plan your next trip to Odisha to visit some best tourist destinations and to savor the authentic Odia foods. Let us know below in the comments which one you liked the most.