The cuisine of Odisha, popularly known as the Odia Cuisine, is a melange of varied items and practices. As Odisha is bordered by both North Indian and South Indian states, food of Odisha is majorly influenced by the food of North India, Bengal and Assam. Rice is the staple food of Odisha with mustard oil used as a cooking medium in many households. Yoghurt forms a major part of many dishes of Odisha while many sweets are based on chhena (a form of cheese). Odia cuisine is less oily and spice but a burst of flavours. Aptly called ‘the Goa of Eastern India’, Odisha is like a quintessential gourmet central for every foodie. So, here is our handpicked list of Odisha’s Dishes:
1. Enduri Pitha
The star ingredients of this dish are grated coconut, jaggery and turmeric leaves. A mixture is made with sauteed coconut, jaggery and spices. Dollops of this mixture are then put inside the turmeric leaves, which are folded and steamed for around 10 minutes. Enduri pitha is also called haldi patra pitha.
2. Kakera Pitha
Kakera pitha of Odisha are deep-fried semolina dessert infused with fennel and cardamon. It is one of the most loved desserts in Odisha and is offered in various temples as prasad. One bite of this juicy dessert will definitely make you crave for more.
Manda pitha or the rice flour dumpling looks like a twin sister of rasgulla from outside but has a coconut stuffing inside. It also resembles South India’s Kozhakkattai and Maharashtra’s Modak. It is usually prepared during monsoons and post-monsoons for festivals like Gamha Purnima, Manabasa Gurubara or Kumar Purnima.
This old-town crunchy caramelized delicacy is whipped up with jaggery, coconut, khai and cardamoms. Korakhai too is served as a prasad to many deities. These are available in packets and since they are dry, many tourists prefer to carry them on their way back home. A shop named Baya Baba Kora Khai in Bhubaneshwar is highly reputed for selling this dry sweet.
Khaja, or fritter dunked in sugar syrup, is the crispiest and most delicious coastal sweet. It is one of the items of Chaapan Bhog of Puri’s Jagannath temple. The Chappan Bhog consists of 56 types of food served as prasad. Puri receives a large number of Bengali tourists every year and Khaja is in high demand among them.
6. Chhena Poda
If you’ve got a fetish for baked delicacies, Chhena Poda will win your heart for sure. It is one of the iconic sweets of Odisha, made with fresh chhena. The chhenna, infused with semolina, ghee, raisins and other dry fruits, is baked until it turns brown. After baking, it looks like a cake which is cut into slices and served. Also, did you know about this immunity sandesh with 15 herbs?
Khichdi, as we call it in other states is an easy yet a wholesome meal. Odisha khicede is one of the most important dishes, being offered as the main bhog to Lord Jagannath at the Puri Temple. The perfect combination of rice and lentils cooked together in ghee gives a unique and relishing flavour to it.This comforting meal not just offers great taste but an even greater nutrition. Lightly spiced, often served with curd and papad, this appetizing meal is bound to make you salivate.
8. Chungdi Malai
Well, as the name suggests, this dish is all about the delicious creamy prawn curry, where the creamy part comes from the coconut milk. The richness and silkiness of this fantastic dish are further enriched by light and mild spices that add a unique character to it. Absolutely delightful, mouth-watering and flavoursome! Best served with steamed basmati rice, this delicacy is a must try if you are in and around Odisha.
8. Macha Ghanta – The Famous Odisha Food
Fish dishes being extremely popular in Odisha, are relished by every household and what better than every odiya’s favourite, Macha Ghanta! A must offer to Durga Maa on Dussehra, this tempting curry consists of the fried head of the fish and is served with hot steamed rice and salad. The curry is a rich blend of onions, potatoes, garlic and the regular spices. Vegetarians may make a plain ‘Ghanta’ by avoiding fish in it. This is one dish which has no match, no matter where you are, and it is likely to tempt you to eat it again and again until the time you are in Odisha.
Aah Dalma! You just can’t get enough of dal, can you? However, this staple food comes with a unique twist when in Odisha. It is made with roasted moong dal without any onion or garlic. A few regular spices along with a cup of veggies are added to it to give it a lip-smacking flavour. Common veggies include pumpkin, plantain, yam and papaya, which work like magic on your overall health. Mostly eaten with rice, this finger-licking meal will more than satiate your appetite.
10. Pakhala Bhata
Pakhala Bhata is the daily lunch for almost every household in Odisha during summers. It is prepared by soaking cooked rice in water and sour curd. Typically left overnight, and often served with potatoes, fried fish, papad and Badi choora, which is dried and nut-like urad and black gram. This fermented rice is the perfect dish to beat the heat and refreshes you from within. 20th March is celebrated as Pakhala Dibasa (Universal Pakhala Day) by all Odias to welcome summer season with Odisha’s traditional food. This sumptuous meal is a must try.
11. Dahi vada-Aloo dum
Yet another popular street food that we see after gupchup in Odisha, is Dahi vada and Aloo dum. Go out at even 5 in the morning and you can see thela walas with their big pots of dahi vada and smaller pots filled with aloo dum. While everywhere else, dahi vada and aloo dum are considered to be two separate dishes, Odisha offers a distinctive blend of the both. The relishing taste of dahi vadas carefully neutralises the spiciness of aloo dum, giving the taste that every Odia craves for. Also famous as the ‘Vada Pav’ of Cuttack, this dish has surely paved its way into people’s hearts and everyday lives.
The sweet dished is garnished with cardamoms and soaked in thick flavoured milk. Served in Lord Jagannath temple as a part of chappana bhogas, this delicacy trace its origin from Kendrapara district in Odisha.
A traditionally prepared dish of Orissa made of sweet pulao finds a place of pride in the list of 56 items in Lord Jagannath’s ‘Chappan Bhog.’ Kanika was the favourite Odiya dish before biriyani, and fried rice took its place. The aromatic basmati rice can be a replacement from the raw rice that’s usually prepared to make Kanika. Mostly prepared as offering in temples, the Kanika rice is a staple meal of Orissa. It is best served with finger-licking chicken/mutton curry.
Pilaf (Pulao) is a rice dish in a seasoned broth. When sauteed lightly in oil the rice attains a golden brown colour with the aroma of mixed spices. Depending on specific cultures, the dish is prepared as a variety which includes meat, vegetables, dry fruits and even pasta. The culinary of pilaf spread over states to countries worldwide. It is a staple dish in Odisha cuisine.
This classic Oriya dish is a fried or boiled vegetable curry that slurps down your tongue with every spoon. With a blend of raw papaya, potato, tomato and brinjal, the dish is nothing less compared to any other healthy food. As the recipe is low on spices and high on greens, it is most commonly eaten for a healthy diet. You may want the dish to be mildly sauteed with milk and spices for an extra taste.
16. Chaatu Rai
Chaatu Rai or Chaatu Besara is a nutritious vegetable dish that’s very popular in Orissa. The ingredients that enrich the taste of it are turmeric powder and tomato with a bunch of mushrooms cooked in a tangy, delicious mustard paste. Often prepared during special occasions, the dish is enjoyed not just in Oriya but also in places around India.
17. Aloo Potala Rasa
A special dish prepared with potato and pointed gourd. It is one of the popular curries in the state of Orissa. Also known as Parwal in North India, this dish is offered to God at the Puri Jagannath temple. A bit of cashew paste or onion/ginger paste makes it more savoury.
18. Kadali Manja Rai
This relishing banana stem curry seasoned with garlic cloves, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander with two red chillies makes the perfect side dish for a meal. The aroma of stir-fried banana stem and the coriander leaves as seasoning brings so much joy that lasts till you lose its taste.
This simple aesthetic dish is a mixture of potato, pumpkin, banana and papaya. The mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and dry chilli, make it flavoury to the authentic taste of Odiya. Cut vegetables and sliced onions that turn golden brown as you fry them in the pan makes your little heart yearn to savour it. The dish garnished with coriander leaves is a cherry on top.
20. Khattas and Chutneys
The Khatta of Odiya comes in an array of wide variety of dishes. Khajur Khatta, Tomato Khatta, Mango Khatta, and Dahi Nadia are all the repertoire of Odiya Khattas. Among these dishes, the ingredients such as tomato, green chillies, punch-phutana, turmeric powder, oil and salt to taste all remain common. The primary ingredients add the richness to the dish. With its flavoursome chutneys, it’s best served with steamed rice and fried green chillies.
21. Chakuli Pitha
Chakuli Pitha is a renowned dish from Odisha that is quite like a Dosa, yet different. It is prepared using a batter made with equal portions of lentils (Urad Dal) and rice (soaked, ground and fermented for at least 5 hours). Even black lentils (skinless) are used instead of the Urad Dal at times. The batter is spread on a griddle or pan in a circular shape and cooked on both sides using some mustard oil. Chakuli Pitha is softer than that of a Dosa and is comparatively thicker as well. This gluten-free delicacy tastes really well with Aloo Bhuja, Ghugni or jaggery.
22. Kora Khai
Kora Khai is a sweet dish item. It is immensely popular as a form of ‘Prashad’ (holy offering) in temples, especially to Lord Jagannath. There are very few ingredients used to prepare Kora Khai. It is basically a mixture of 4 ingredients that are Khai, coconut, jaggery (or sugar) and cardamom. Compared to other sweets, it’s a bit more hard and chewy. However, that does not mess up with its uniquely delicious taste. It’s a flavourful delight that gives freshness from the coconuts and crunch from the caramelized Khai (fried paddy). It is very popular in Bhubaneswar.
23. Chaula Bara
Chaula Bara are immensely scrumptious crispy balls that are made with primarily urad Dal and rice. Light, fluffy, and tasty; this dish is for you to keep longing for more! 4 parts rice and 1 part Urad Dal are soaked overnight (minimum 8 hours) and blended into a medium coarse paste. Ingredients like cumin seeds, carom seeds, coriander leaves, a pinch of baking soda, salt and pepper are added to this paste. A bit of mixing, and it’s ready to fry and binge on! Best served with a tangy chutney of your choice.
24. Chhena Jhili
Chhena Jhili is another sweet dish from Odisha’s cuisine. It’s core ingredient curd cheese that is moist and crumbled (commonly referred to as Chhena). The other ingredients are sugar, sugar syrup, ghee (clarified butter), wheat flour, cardamom powder, semolina, curd (optional) and a tad bit of salt. A soft dough-like mixture is prepared to make small sized balls, which are then deep-fried in oil. The balls are then dipped and coated in sugar syrup or Chashni. This sweet dish is soft, succulent and scrumptious.
A crisp, cracking and worth cherishing sweet dish, Khaja. It’s a burst of flavour and texture, with very few ingredients, and a whole lot of techniques. There’s just refined flour, clarified butter, sugar, water, cardamom and rose water (optional). The dough is kneaded using flour and ghee, to prepare thin tortillas. These tortillas are then layered one above the other, with the help of ghee and dry flour. Around 6 layers are formed before rolling them and cutting into pieces. A bit of flattening from the sides, and they get into deep-frying until golden. Coated in flavoured sugar syrup at the end, and the layered, crunchy goodness is ready to relish!
Gajja is a classic, traditional sweet from Odisha that has multiple variants. Chhena Gajja, Khasta Gajja, Khira Gaja and some others that differ through their style of preparation (boiled dry or fried sugary syrup ones). Most of their names are based on the core ingredient of the respective recipes. The most popular version is the little square-shaped pieces of Chhena (crumbled curd cheese) Gajja that are fried and soaked in sugar syrup for about an hour, for them to absorb the sweetness.
27. Palua Ladu
Palua refers to arrowroot. Arrowroot is a plant-based grain-free starch, that helps work for a better texture of various dishes. Palua Ladu is another fascinating sweet item that is relished by the people of Odisha. It originated at a place called Bhadrak district in Odisha. The Palua Ladu recipe has ingredients like wheat/refined flour, semolina (Sooji), Palua (arrowroot powder), sugar, water, oil and baking soda. However, there are various other recipes playing around with slightly different ingredients and methods. This sweet dish is visually appealing and tastes lovely as well.
28. Odisha Rasagolla
The Rasoaolla from Odisha is super popular for all the right reasons, and more! It has been a hot topic considering its battle of origin with Bengal. With its mouth-melting texture and divine flavour, this sweet dish is bound to win hearts in every part of the world! The white goodness dipped in sugar syrup makes it one of the best desserts. The delicate softness of the chhena and the perfect balance of sweetness makes it a wonderful indulgence. One simply cannot afford to miss this delight! Odisha Rasogolla, Khira Mohana has been served as bhog in the Jagannath Temple, in Puri.