Orissa is one of the underdog states of the country. That is one of the reasons why people know so little about the state. There is so much in terms of tourism that the state has to offer. Unless you’ve been there, you wouldn’t know the vastness of the beauty of this state regarding location and food.
They say Oriya cooks, especially from Puri were the most sought-after chefs once upon a time. In fact, these cooks would be the head chef of many of the Zamindar families of West Bengal. In fact, the principal chefs at a marriage ceremony would essentially be Oriya. Like West Bengal, the dishes in Orissa use mustard oil and are a gem of an addition to the cuisine palate of India. So here are the 20 Most Popular Dishes Of The Oriya Cuisine You Should Know Of!
Pakhala is a rice dish prepared by simply adding water to cooked rice which is then allowed to ferment overnight. This dish kept overnight is called Basi Pakhala. Before fermentation, the dish is called Saja Pakhala and is served along with onions, curd, green chillies, etc. It is majorly consumed in the summer to cool off the body temperature and the stomach. There are various versions of this all over the eastern states of West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc.
It helps prevent the occurrence of a heat stroke in hot and extreme conditions of the summer. It is a traditional Oriya dish prepared occasionally even prepared with rice, curd, cumin seeds, fried onions, etc. and served along with a side of greens, roasted vegetables and fried fish.
Khichdi is the Oriya version of Khichdi is popular South- Asian dish made from lentils and rice. It is supposed that It was invented by inspiration from the Anglo-Indian dish known as Kedgeree. In the Indian context, Khichdi is very important socially and culturally. It is not only one of the first meals that a child has, but is also served as an offering to countless temples in the country. In the Oriya cuisine, there are many variants of this simple dish such as the Adahengu Khichdi which has the use of ginger and asafetida in it, and is the most favourable choice of offering in the Jagannath Temple, Puri. Khichdi is usually accompanied with pampad, curd, pickle, chutney, etc.
Dalma is a unique lentil dish originating from Orissa. It is prepared with lentil and vegetables. The lentil of choice is usually toor ki dal and the vegetables such as green papaya, brinjal, pumpkin, etc. are chopped and added to it. It is further garnished with spices and tempered with Panch Phutana. A lot of existing varieties of this dish exist and many of them occasionally have a sour Sāmbhar like taste to them.
Santula is a simple vegetable dish from Orissa, where the ingredients such as potatoes, ladyfingers, brinjal, and other vegetables are boiled together and then fried in oil along with garlic, onion and green chillies. This dish is extremely easy to digest and is not spicy. The preparation can be of two types, Bhaja Santula where the vegetables are fried and Sijha Santula where the vegetables are boiled.
Kanika is a sweet rice dish, specially prepared during the festivals of Orissa. Very similar to Pulau, it is a combination of sweet and spicy flavours and is cooked with desi ghee. This dish is often prepared during Lakshmi Puja in the state.
Mushrooms are quite common in Orissa. They are readily available and are a vital part of the common man’s cuisine. Chaatu Rai is one such traditional dish, where the mushrooms are chopped, and a curry of mushroom with mustard and potatoes are prepared. It must be taken care that these mushrooms used are of the edible kind, and not of the wild poisonous type.
Kadali Manja Rai
There’s a lot of cooking done with the banana and its family in the entire eastern belt. Kadali Manja Rai is an extremely delectable dish prepared from the banana plant stem along with mustard seeds. The ‘Manja’ in the name refers to the banana stem and is in fact used in Dalma too.
Oriyas use a lot of mustard in their dishes, whether as a means of tempering of as a paste to form the base of the curry. Besara is one such dish, where an assortment of vegetables in prepared in mustard paste curry. The dish is necessarily tempered with Panch Phutana.
Amba Khatta is a type of chutney, sour in taste. It is made with raw mangoes giving it that original and real sourness in the dish. It is served as a side with rice or Khichdi.
Dahi Baigana is Oriya dish prepared from eggplant and yoghurt, especially during the festivals. It is usually cooked without onion garlic, as onion and garlic are prohibited in some of the Indian auspicious festivals.
Ou Khatta is a fruit chutney which is part sweet part sour in taste. The preparation involves the use of jaggery to impart the sweetness to the dish. Often, the dish is prepared without the sweetness too, in which cases the fruit is cooked in a tangy mustard and garlic paste based gravy with red chilli powder.
Machha Besara is a special Oriya dish where the fish in cooked in a mustard paste gravy. The simplicity of the flavours of the dish is truly unique which makes this a truly scrumptious dish.
Machha Chadchadi is a simple yet elegant dish prepared with fried fishes and spices. It is usually served with rice or Khichdi.
Machha Mahura is curry based dish prepared with fish and various vegetables. It is a regular in an Odia household for being a healthy choice for a meal. It has a lot of nutritional content for the presence of vegetables.
Ghugni is a dish usually eaten as an evening snack in the eastern India. In Orissa, Ghugni is a common breakfast item too. It is a watery curry with dried peas. It is then either served with puffed rice or Idli or Poori and even with Bhaji.
Dahi Bada Aloo Dum
Dahi Vada is a common chaat dish available in India. In Orissa, it is prepared by crushing ‘bada’ with a combination of diluted curd, dal and alu dum. How famous is this dish? The crowd outside Barabati Stadium will tell you.
Chhena Poda is a sweet delicacy from Orissa. The preparation involves mixing chhena (home-made cheese ) with sugar and cashew nuts, raisins, etc. which is then baked for several hours until it turns brown. It is commonly available during Durga Puja.
Muri Maans/ Muri Mutton is a preparation very common in Orissa. A mutton dish is common in many parts of the country; this is a combination meal of sorts. In this dish, an extremely delectable mutton curry is served with Muri (puffed rice). It is a common dish during the Bali Yatra.
There have been arguments about who invented the Rasgulla. Although the Oriya arguments say that it was a dish that was served as an offering, there haven’t been enough evidence to provide anyone with solid ownership of invention rights.
Chakuli Pitha is a preparation of flattened Indian pancakes from a batter of rice flour, ghee, and black gram. It is used a flat bread and served with a curry or a gravy dish.