The cuisine of Odisha is a cauldron of unique tastes and flavours that will make a culinary journey to the state worth your while. When you are in Odisha, make sure to eat like the locals so that you get to sample the local cuisine as much as you can.
Rice being the staple food of Odisha, cooked rice with dal (tempered with panch-phutana: mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, and black cumin), bhajja & curry as side dishes is the common meal for all people. People here use both sun dried rice (especially on festive occasions) and par-boiled rice. There is also a widely prevalent practice of people having cooked rice soaked in water overnight, called ‘Pakhala’.
Apart from this, numerous other delicacies are made out of rice or rice powder in the form of ‘Kheeri’ or Pithas (Pan Cakes), fried in ghee or oil or are steamed or baked with or without stuffings.
The Odishan cuisines are marked by its original style of preparation. They are rich and varied and rely on ingredients that are mostly typical to the region like plantains, jackfruit and papaya. The curries are also garnised with dried raw mango and tamarind. Coconut is also used in several dishes.
Majority of the people from Odisha being non-vegetarians, fish forms an integral part of their traditional cuisine. Delicious curries are also prepared with meat and egg by adding different masalas or condiments and cooking them in different styles.
No Odiya meal is complete without af dessert. Most of the ‘Bengali’ sweets that are famous all over the world actually have an Odia origin. The roots of the delicious and humble rice pudding or Kheer are also attributed to Odisha. Chenna which is a kind of soft cheese is used extensively in the desserts in Odisha. It is used to make Rasagulla – cheese balls soaked in sugar syrup, Rasmalai – cheese slices immersed in sweetened milk and Chenna Poda – baked cheese sweetened with sugar syrup.
While at Odisha, one must also manage to have a traditional must, the tasting of the sacred food offered as ‘Prasada’or “Bhoga”. Various temples in region make their own offerings to the presiding deities. The prasada of the Jagannath Temple is well known and is specifically called Maha Prasada” meaning greatest of all prasadas. It consists of 56 recipes, so it called ‘Chhapan Bhoga”.
Recipes for some popolar Odia cuisines can be found here.