Written By Mousumi Tah.
The state of Odisha in India is mostly known because of its archaeological brilliance. Not only that but the state has many other commendable and respected features like its intriguing tribal culture along with archaeological brilliance.
Odisha is also known for its cuisine! The Odia cuisine has been influenced by both north and south Indian states. The relevance with the traditional dishes of north India, Assam and West Bengal are quite prominent. Yet there are a few differences that makes Odisha’s cuisine stand out among all the other states in India.
The food made has less oil, ghee is preferred in temples though. In old times, banana leaves or the disposable Sal leaves’ plates were used was used as a medium for having food. Even now they are used and many love the feel of it. Yoghurt is also a prime part of Odia cuisine and can be found in many of it’s dishes.
Here in this articles you will get a complete idea about the the top 25 dishes from Odisha that are a must try if you are a food lover or are eager to know the culture and tradition of Odisha through its food.
1. Pakhala Bhata
It is made by soaking cooked rice in sour curd or/and water, as per preference. And some like to add salt to it for enhanced flavour. In summers, due to the immense heat, the people of the state really enjoy the dish. It is served as lunch in almost every household.
They enjoy the servings with some side dishes like fried fish, potatoes, etc. And in the end, you can enjoy the rest of the curd water left, if you like it salted you can do that and enjoy it more too. It’s based completely on preference though!
Khaja is mostly and generally served as a prasad in Lord Jagannath Temple daily. If you ever visit Odisha, you can find it in every sweet shop on every street side. It is one of the most popular and delicious sweet dishes of Odisha.
Khaja is made using refined wheat flour mixed with sugar, then it is fried lightly with some oil. It makes it taste delicious and also gives a nice texture to it that also adds to its delicacy. Children, along with the other people, love to have Khaja.
Dalma is made from Toor dal, Chana dal, pumpkin, potato, brinjal and vegetables along with adding different types of spices and salt. It is a very tasty as well as pretty healthy dish along with it being very common in the state and is served in every household.
Usually enjoyed with plain rice. Or you can have any main dish with this, it is as you prefer. That main thing is to enjoy it. Anytime you visit the place, do remind yourself to grab the opportunity to taste this traditional dish!
4. Maccha Ghanta
It is one of the most popular and delicious dishes of Odisha. If you ever visit the state, do ensure to taste this delicate dish at least once. Maccha ghanta is, as the name suggests, a non-vegetarian dish. It is made by crushing the fish pieces, or say, mainly the head of the fish and putting it in the edible mixture.
It gives a rich as well as a delicate taste and is enjoyed with pleasure by the households. Along with having to enjoy it eating separately, the mixture is also no less! Both the eating experience of the slight variations of dishes work wonders!
5. Chhena Poda
Chena poda is baked for hours simultaneously and it is made from burnt homemade cheese, which is called chena, then sugar syrup and semolina are used. Its taste is more delicious when caramelized sugar is added. Chena poda can be found in every street lane in every sweet shop. It is one of the popular sweet dishes of the state.
Rasabali is one of the most famous sweet dishes of Odisha. It is made of thick flavoured milk and cardamom is usually used for its garnishing. It originated from Kendrapara District, Odisha. It is also found in most of the lanes of the state, as it is quite popular for obvious reasons! You can enjoy it if you have plans to visit here!
It is one of the main dishes in Odisha and is very delicious. Santula is made with raw papaya, brinjal, tomato, veggies, etc. It is soupy in texture and enjoyed by many with roti/chapattis.
8. Aloo Potala Rasa
Aloo potala rasa is made by sliced potatoes, diced pointed gourds, spices, sautéed bay leaves. Due to its spices and delicate texture, it leaves a delicious taste. Enjoyed in almost all households, usually in functions and occasions too.
Besara is a traditional Odia food. It is made by cooking vegetables in mustard paste and a variety of spices or say, paanch phudan. Some other ingredients that are included are pumpkin, raw banana, pointed gourd and some other veggies as per preference. Non-veg items can also be added and enjoyed in the dish.
10. Chakuli Pitha
It is very common in the households of Odisha. Chakuli pitha is made from black gram cereal, it ends in a crispy form. It usually looks like a cereal-based steamed cake. It is pretty famous here and spices are optional to add but it also makes it more flavourful. Enjoyed plain or with curry and fries.
11. Kora Khai
Kora khai is also one of the traditional dishes of Odisha. It is mainly served as Prasad in temples. The ingredients used to make it are puffed rice, jaggery, cardamom, coconut and other needed ingredients or as preferred.
12. Mudhi Mansa
Mudhi mansa is made from mudhi and puffed rice. If you plan to visit Odisha, do make sure to take your precious time to enjoy the savoury dish! It is as delicious and is also the traditional dish. It is loved by many for its taste and type.
13. Chena Jhili
Chena jhilli, as its name suggests, is made from fried homemade cottage cheese, or say, chena and sugar syrup too. It is again one of the most popular dishes as well as one of the most loved sweet dishes or desserts of the state and the cuisine of Odisha. As we discussed its main ingredients and that it is a sweet dish, it is also loved by many for its taste!
14. Kakara Pitha
It is made from semolina, cardamom and grated coconut. Kakara pitha has a sweet taste and is very popular in the state’s households for its taste! The way it is made also adds smooth richness and delicacy to the dish which is such a plus point for it!
Pilaf is a famous Odisha dish. It is made from sautéed rice, a little bit of oil, cooked until golden brown. It leaves a really delicate aroma due to the process and different cultures lead to different varieties of these dishes.
16. Poda Pitha
Poda pitha is rich in texture and usually tastes sweet and is made during festivals. It is also a type of pitha, that is, like a cereal-based steamed cake.
17. Chaula Bara
These are delicate and crispy balls or rice vadas which are treated as snacks. And dipped in spicy flavourful chutneys.
Gupchup is also known as Puchka in Bengal, Golgappa in North and Panipuri in Western India. It is the nation’s favourite street food for its lightness and delicious taste. It is made from frying maida or atta balls by making them hollow and crispy, in which spiced, mashed, flavourful potato is filled and then dipped in spicy, sour, flavourful jal jeera water and finally served piece by piece!
19. Manda Pitha
Manda is generally enjoyed during the monsoon or post-monsoon period and festivals like, Gamha Purnima, Manabasa, Gurubara or Kumar Purnima. It is made with rice and looks like a rice flour dumpling, very similar to rasagulla too! Usually, coconut is stuffed inside them which adds as well as brings out the taste even more.
20. Badi Chura Papad
It is one of the popular and again one of the main dishes of the state. It adds a great taste alongside served lunch! As the name suggests it is made by crushing pan-fried papad and deep-fried crispy badi. And as per your preference, you can add lemon juice, salt or a small amount of sugar or any other spices you prefer.
Khecidi can be called the Odia version of ‘khichdi’. In this version, it is made of rice. It is a rice dish and is cooked using lentils too. It tastes great as being a simple dish. It is light and good for serving them on normal days. Though, it can be enjoyed with other ingredients on other occasions too as per your tastes and preferences.
Palau is also a rice dish and in this case, can be made using any kind of meat available and as preferred or/and any vegetables or raisins for taste.
23. Ghee Rice
It is a very simple yet delicate as well as delicious dish. When the rice is served hot or warm you can pour some ghee on it and enjoy it with your main and other dishes. It is very common among the households of Odisha.
24. Chungdi Malai
The delectable creamy prawn curry which steals the show every time when prepared and served along with other dishes. Prawns cooked in a creamy gravy made from coconut milk and then eaten with rice can make you drool like no other dish. This dish is quite popular all over Odisha and rightly so is in the favorites list of many non vegetarians.
25. Dahibara Aludam
A popular street food of Odisha after Gupchup. It is a chaat from Cuttack and has it’s share of popularity all across India. In this dish vadas i.e fried flour balls are soaked in dahi or yoghurt water. To this mixture, aloo dam and ghugni is added. This street food dish originated from Bidanasi in Cuttack.
Now that we discussed all the cuisine of the state, we can gladly say that, Odisha should not be only remembered for its archaeological brilliance or wonders but also its natural beauty should be given the same importance and of course, last but not the least, its delicious cuisine!
Along with the natural beauty making your travel worth remembering, the delicious food makes it more wonderful.
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Mousumi Tah is a contributor at The Strong Traveller. She is currently pursuing B.Com and loves creating art, reading and writing in her leisure time. She appreciates being a part of this team very much!