Different varieties of Pithas and Mithas are essential components of Odisha cuisine. These are typically prepared during well-known Odia festivals and also in general. It takes skill to prepare these delectable Pithas, which are irresistible once consumed.
Here is a list of some authentic Pithas and Mithas from Odisha that you should try-
1. Podo Pitha
This Pitha is a significant highlight of the Raja Parba and is one of Odisha’s most unique festivals. This pitha is Lord Jagannath’s favorite and serves as part of the daily meal at the most popular Puri Jagannath Temple. Poda Pitha is a rice and coconut cake. Its coconut crunch garnished with nuts and caramelized jaggery will tingle your taste buds. It has a slightly burnt crust and a soft and white interior.
2. Arisa Pitha
This pitha is one of the most famous traditional pancakes of Odisha and is made on the occasion of Manabasa Lakshmi Puja. It is made primarily of rice flour, kneaded in sugar or jaggery syrup, and topped with sesame seeds. It has a crispy outer coating with a soft interior. Because this Pitha is deep-fried, it is primarily dry and hardened, and due to this Arisa Pitha can be stored for about 2-3 weeks.
3. Manda Pitha
It is prepared in Odisha during monsoon and post-monsoon festivals such as Manabasa Gurubara, Durga Puja, and Kumar Purnima. Manda Pitha is made of semolina and filled with sweet fillings or fresh cheese (Chhena). Grated coconut with cardamom enhances the delicious flavor of Manda Pitha. It is good for the individuals concerned about their health as not a single drop of oil is used.
4. Enduri Pitha
It is mainly made during Prathamashtami and Manabasa Gurubara (two crucial festivals of Odisha). This dish is made by steaming rice and black gram batter with coconut, cottage cheese, jaggery, and black pepper before wrapping it in ‘turmeric leaves’.
5. Chakuli Pitha
Chakuli Pitha is a flat Odia rice-based fried cake made in almost every Odia household. Rice flour, black gram, refined edible oil, and salt are used to make it. This is essentially a softer version of the South Indian Plain Dosa. It is served with a variety of Odia side dishes such as ghuguni, chutney, and other items.
6. Kakara Pitha
Kakara pitha is a sweet deep-fried cake traditionally served hot or cold as an offering to temple deities during most traditional festivals. It is prepared in two ways: with semolina or with wheat flour. The sweet coconut filling enhances the flavor of this Pitha.
7. Taala Pitha
It is made entirely of the fruit Palmyra (known as ‘Taala’ in Odia). The recipe is very similar to Kakara Pitha, except it uses ripe Palmyra as one of the most essential ingredients. The combination of Palmyra-flavored semolina, coconut, and jaggery gives it a distinct flavor.
8. Chitau Pitha
Chitau Pitha is unique in its own right, made of rice flour and coconut slices. This pitha is made during the Chitalagi or Chitou Amavasya, a Lord Jagannath-related festival. This is essentially a different version of the South Indian Neer Dosa. Because it is light and healthy, Chitau Pitha is usually served with a side dish such as Dalma (lentils with vegetables) or Phula Kobi Tarkari (cauliflower curry).
9. Chandrakanti Pitha
Chandrakanti Pitha is a delectable deep-fried dessert cake made of green gram flour and rice flour. It is a sweet dish that originated in coastal Odisha. The use of green gram (moong dal) in this dessert recipe makes it even more appealing.
Almost every Odia household makes it, especially during Diwali.
10. Gaintha Pitha
Gaintha Pitha is made from rice flour dough balls soaked in cardamom-flavored milk. Rice flour is cooked with water before being kneaded into a dough, formed into balls, and dropped into a simmering milk cream. This is one of the most popular Pithas among sweet-toothed people. This is usually made during fasting time.
Malpuas are delicate and lacy filigreed pancakes that melt in your mouth. It’s a delectable dessert characterized by luscious flavors and flecked with enticing fennel tinges. It should ideally be served hot from a Tava.
12. Baked Cheese (Chenna Poda)
It is made using chhena (cheese), sugar, rice flour, cardamom, and optional ingredients like raisins, almonds, and cashews. A baking pan is greased with ghee and lined with banana leaves before the chhena Poda mixture is poured into it. One needs to bake the dessert until the sugar caramelizes and the top crust turns dark golden. Chhena Poda is sliced and served as a dessert after a large meal or as a sweet treat in the afternoon
once it is cooled down. During festivals such as Durga Puja, it is prepared at home.
Khaja is a traditional Indian dessert made of a dough made of flour, sugar, and ghee that is deep-fried in oil until golden and crispy. Depending on the regional variation of the recipe, khaja is sometimes soaked in sugar syrup after preparation.
Rasgulla, like many other Indian milk-based desserts, is a traditional sweet typically served at the end of a meal. It’s made with chhena paneer dumplings and semolina dough, cooked in a sugary syrup. The origins of rasgulla are disputed, with both West Bengal and Odisha claiming to be the birthplace of the dessert. Bengalis claim that rasgulla resulted from many culinary experiments in the state, whereas Odias claim that it has been offered to Lord Jagannath for hundreds of years. Most food critics, however, agree that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Kheer, also known as payasam, is an ancient Indian dessert that consists of a creamy rice pudding and is prepared in a variety of ways throughout the country. Kheer combines rice, wheat, or tapioca with milk and sugar and can be flavored with dried fruits, nuts, cardamom, and saffron. The dessert is thought to have originated 2000 years ago in the Lord Jagannath Temple in Orissa.
Rasabali, a classic and traditional sweet dish, is one of the Chappan Bhog (56-course divine meal) of Puri Jagannath temple. Kendrapada, Rasabali’s birthplace, has also been designated a GI site to preserve its authenticity and heritage value. Rasabali is deep-fried chenna dumplings that have been lovingly caressed and shaped into roundels before being fried in ghee until deep gorgeous red—then simmered in thickened milk with nuts and saffron over a lazy, languorous flame. Each bite is so moreish and will leave you enthralled by the beauty and simplicity of this dessert, which is permeated with sweetened milk.
17. Chenna Gaja
Although the ingredients in Chhena Gaja are similar to those in rasagolla and chhena poda, the dishes taste very different. Pahala, near Bhubaneswar, is one of the best places to enjoy chhena gajas. However, Chhena Gaja is popular throughout Odisha. Chhena Gaja is made by combining chhena, which is similar to cottage cheese, and sooji (semolina) and thoroughly kneading the dough. Water is squeezed out of the mixture, then briefly dried until it reaches the desired consistency. After that, it is shaped into palm-sized rectangular shapes (gajas), boiled, and deep fried in oil.
18. Chenna Jhilli
This is a famous Chenna-based sweet from the Puri district of Nimapada. Aarta Sahoo of Nimapada’s Shyam Sundarpur Village was the first to prepare this sweet. It is made with mashed cheese that has been deep fried in desi-ghee and then soaked in sugar syrup, resulting in a very soft and melt-in-your-mouth sweet dish.
19. Chenna Jalebi
Chhena jalebi, Chhena jilapi, or Chhanar jilipi is a sweet dish from coastal Odisha in eastern India, a state known for its chhena desserts. Chhena jilapi is prepared similarly to regular jalebis and is famous all over India. It has a spiral shape like a jalebi and looks and tastes similar to gulab jamun. It’s filled with mushy figs and a variety of mineral-rich nuts.
20. Khira Sagara
Khira Sagara is an Odia sweet dish, which means ‘ocean of milk’. The sweet has a story of its own in Hindu mythology in which Lakshmi serves Vishnu and Madhusudana with the same sweet dish. Khira Sagara is made up of marble-sized balls of
chhena cheese soaked in sweetened condensed milk. Saffron and cardamoms are common seasonings used in this dish. This dish is most likely the forerunner of ras malai. However, the milk base in Khira Sagara is thicker, resembling rabri in consistency.