Traditional Oriya Food and Two of the Most Popular Temple Cuisine in the State


 Traditional Oriya cuisine is very delicious. Cooked parboiled or raw rice, dal, dalma (dal mixed with assorted vegetables), and curry are the common meal of the people.

Other important delicious curries are Bhaji (fried vegetables), santula (a preparation of mixed vegetables, half way between fries and curries), Ghanta (mixed vegetable curry), besara or mahura (spiced curry), ambila, etc.

Various preparations of fresh and dried fish, meat, chicken and eggs, crabs are the favourite of non-vegetarians. On festive occasions and also as daily intake of those who can afford, sundry cakes using rice powder and blackgrarm dal are also prepared.

The cakes are named as chakuli, chitau pitha, manda, arisa, kakara and podapitha. Sweets like kora, ukhuda, muan, rasagolla, chhena podo (baked cheese cake), rasmalai etc are the favourites in Oriya households.

Odia love food, owing the importance of it in the religious culture of the state.Odia cuisine is very simple yet delicious, prepared in little or no oil which gives out the flavors of the spices that are sparingly used themselves. The spread is vast and is very easy on the palate. Odia love food, owing the importance of it in the religious culture of the state.Odia cuisine is very simple yet delicious, prepared in little or no oil which gives out the flavors of the spices that are sparingly used themselves.The spread is vast and is very easy on the palate.

Temples were the epicenter of socio-cultural activities in ancient Odisha. The social customs and festivals were all centered around it. Many of the recipes of Odia cuisine originated from the temples, the most talked about being the Kheera Mohana popularly known as Rasagulla.

The temple cuisine comprises indigenously grown local cereals and vegetables, cooked in traditional methods using wood charcoal and earthen pots. The recipe is passed on from generation. The food is simple yet tastes heavenly and is much sought after.

Two of the most popular temple cuisine in the state are:-

The Mahaprasad
The offering to Lord Jagannath, Puri is known as the Mahaprasad is coveted by an Odia. The Mahaprasad is cooked in a unique way. Earthen pots are kept on top of the other over the burner. The pot at the top cooks first.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu meditates in Badrinath, gets dressed at Dwarka, has his lunch at Puri, and retires for the night at Rameswaram. Need we say more?

The variety of places to see in Orissa is matched by the diversity of its rich cuisine. So, when you visit Odisha, these famous dishes of Odisha are the ones that you can count on for your meals in between sightseeing sessions: –

1. Pakhala Bhata

A lunch staple for almost every household in the state of Odisha, Pakhala Bhata offers a delectable respite from the summer heat. Made from soaking cooked rice in sour curd and water, this dish from Odisha is served with fried fish, potatoes, Badi choora, and papad on the side. Being a popular food and main food of Odisha, this delicacy should be one of your first dishes to try on your trip to Odisha.

2. Gupchup

Gupchup, which is known as ‘puchka’ in Bengal, ‘golgappa’ in the north, and ‘panipuri’ in western India, is the nation’s favourite food. In this dish, crunchy hollow balls made from maida, atta, or suji; are filled with chana masala and dipped in spicy jal jeera, just enough to take your taste buds on a whirlwind of flavours. The sheer burst of the gupchup in the mouth, one of the most famous dishes of Odisha, makes this crispy wonder an absolute delight that one can binge-eat on their trip to Odisha.

3. Chhena Poda

Say hello to the cheesecake of Odisha – Chhena Poda. You will be left obsessing over this delicacy long after eating it. Baked for hours at a stretch, this dish is made from burnt homemade cottage cheese, sugar syrup, and semolina. The caramelized sugar of Chhena Poda imparts a distinctive taste to it and is one of those dishes of Odisha which you can find in every lane and by-lane of the state.

4. Pilaf

Pilaf or pulao is one of the most famous dishes of Odisha. It is a scrumptious rice dish that is sautéed with oil until it turns golden brown in color. The refreshing aroma of the mixed spices seems to draw you toward this delicacy and makes for a great self-indulgent supper when you tour Odisha. The dish is also prepared in different varieties in various cultures wherein vegetables, dry fruits, and meat are added into it to give the dish a one-of-its-kind twist.

5. Santula

One of the main food dishes of Orissa/ Odisha, Santula is a classic Oriya delicacy that you can slurp and slurp even more on your trip. Made with raw papaya, brinjal, and tomato, the dish has more greens and fewer spices, thereby having all the makings for a healthy dish.

6. Rasabali

Those with a sweet tooth are going to love this famous dish of Odisha known as Rasabali. Socked in thick flavoured milk and garnished with cardamoms, this sweet dish is a delicacy that originated from Kendrapara district in Odisha.

7. Pitha

Pitha is a cereal-based steamed cake that will tantalize your taste buds just like the other dishes of Odisha. Being a famous dish of Odisha, the dish is made in the form of many variants such as poda pitha, chakuli pitha, and many more. Being one of the special delicacies of Odisha, they are cooked both on special occasions and as a common dish in Odisha’s households. Here is a little more about the variants of pithas:

Chakuli Pitha: It is made from black gram cereal and is a crispy delight to munch on during your trip.

Poda Pitha: It is a great-tasting delicacy known for its rich texture. Prepared during festivals, this variant of pitha has a nice-smelling aroma.

Kakara Pitha: Made from semolina, cardamom, and grated coconut, this sweet fritter is a popular dish in Odisha.

8. Chaula Bara

Odisha’s very own Chaula Bara (rice vadas) is a lip-smacking delicacy that leaves you salivating for more. Gobble up this snack after you dip them in delicious spicy and sour chutney. It is easily one of the most famous dishes of Odisha that is perfect to eat in between your tour to satiate your hunger pangs.

9. Khaja

Served as a prasad in the temple of Lord Jagannath on a daily-basis, Khaja is one of the most delicious dishes of Odisha that you can easily find in every nook and corner of the city of Puri in Odisha. Refined wheat flour is mixed with sugar and fried lightly in some oil to make this delicious dish.

10. Potala alu rasa

Potato Alu Rasa is one of the famous dishes of Odisha which is composed of potatoes, diced pointed gourd, spices, and sautéed bay leaves. The dish is something that you should not miss out on your trip to Odisha. The tasty flavors of potato alu rasa are bound to stay with you long after your trip to Odisha.

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