Top ten tastes of Odisha

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Odisha has always captured the imagination of visitors for its divine pilgrimage and Yester year’s temple architecture brilliance. But a few people pan India could have heard of its mouth-watering indigenous rustic cuisines. Odia connoisseurs have always saved their best for their ever salivating dishes.

Let us travel through the Odisha to recognize the best taste of the state in this article. The top ten recipes which have always attracted the gourmets are unfolded here.

Dalma

Across the India, people have tasted the dal with different flavors and colors. But in Odisha, we have an extended version with a unique twist and taste. 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 flavor.

daalma
A balanced and complete meal of mixed vegetables and lentils flavoured with roasted cumin and red chilli powder

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. One thing is noticeable here this cuisine is served to the Lord Jagganath as one of the most highlighted dishes in HIS Mahaprasad.

Machha Ghanta

Odisha is a littoral state with its exclusive coastline and proximity to seas. Fishes are harvested throughout states and one of the major attractions in daily meals. People do not forget to experience and enjoy their fish meal whenever they encounter such an occasion. One of such delicious and salivating dish is machha ghanta. The curry is a rich blend of onions, potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, and regular spices.

Mudhi ghanta
A spicy mixed vegetable prepared with crushed fried Fish head

This Ghanta can be made up of by both inland fishes and sea fishes mostly by small prawns to spice up the appetite of the gourmands. Vegetarians may make a plain ‘Ghanta’ by avoiding fish in it. It is also prepared in some holy occasions for celebrating and distributing among the friends and relatives with almost all available vegetables in the market. 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.

Pakhala Bhaata

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.

pakhal
Water rice with curd and tempered with curry leaves and red chilli

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 the summer season with Odisha’s traditional food. This sumptuous meal is a must-try.

Macha Besara

In Odisha we call this ‘Macha Besara’, Macha means fish, and besara is the mustard gravy. This fish curry is a variation to Bengali fish curry in mustard sauce with some add on spices. One more thing that is unique to this is traditionally a piece of dry mango called ‘ambula’ is added to give the sourness.

macha besara recipe main photo
Fish cooked in mustard paste and dried mango wedges

Basically ‘ambula’ is raw mango cut into half, marinated in salt and then sun-dried till it is dry, Then it can be stored for a year or more than that. Tomato can also be used with or without ambula. The overpowering taste of mustard along with other spices, curry leaves make this dish delicious and flavourful.

Mansa Mudhhi

Mudhhi is puffed rice, and Mansa means meat. Mudhhi Mansa is a typical, traditional dish that is cherished by the people of Odisha. It’s goat’s meat that is marinated in oil and a whole lot of spices. The meat is then added to a gravy made with tomatoes, onions, and selected indigenous spices.

maansamudhhi
A mouth-watering combination of mutton curry with puffed rice

Served hot with crunchy Mudhhi or puffed rice; garnished and decorated with chopped onions, tomatoes, and fresh coriander leaves. It is an interesting combination that is quite preferred, especially by the people of western Odisha.

Macha Patra Poda

Macha Patra Poda is a unique and delicious recipe that is very famous in the state of  Odisha. It’s an oil-free healthy recipe which goes well with hot steamed rice. Poda in Oriya means charredso obviously this preparing will need cooking in high heat. This dish tastes the best when prepared in a barbecue, but this can be prepared in the oven.

maachhapatrapoda
Fish mixed with spices and wrapped in Banana leaf and then steamed or baked over stove or chulha

Though while barbecuing you’ve to partially wrap the banana leaf parcel in aluminum foil to keep the leaves from direct flame. The fish can be the rohu or any other fishes. The best flavor and test arise when barb (karandi)and mola carplet (mahurali) fishes are added with the spicy pungent mustard to give an exclusive indigenous mouth-watering recipe.

Santula

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.

santula
A saatwik dish prepared with a mix of vegetables and tempered with panch phutan

As the recipe is low on spices and calorie 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 added taste.

Kadali Manja Rai

This relishing banana stem curry blended with garlic cloves, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander with two red chillies makes the perfect hygienic supplement recipe for a meal.

manjarai
Banana Stem cooked with other vegetables in mustard paste

The aroma of stir-fried banana stem and the coriander leaves as seasoning offers so much euphoria that lasts till you lose its taste.

Besara

This simple aesthetic dish is an intermingling of potato, pumpkin, banana, and papaya. The mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, and dry chili, make it flavoury to the authentic taste of Odia.

besara 1
Srimandira Besara: Mustard paste and grated coconut-based mix vegetable delight offered to Lord Jagannath

Cut vegetables and sliced onions that turn golden brown as you fry them in the pan makes your little heart yearn to savor it. The dish is also one of the major attractions when cooked without onion and garlic and with the blessing of His in the Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath.

Dahi Machha

Dahi machha is a typical Odia delicacy made of fish in a spicy yogurt-based sauce. It is eaten usually served with rice as an exciting supplement. Dahi Machha is liberally experienced with turmeric, onions, garlic, mustard and garam masala.

dhimaachh
Dahi Maachh: Fish with mustard paste and yogurt-based gravy

The use of turmeric imparts a yellow color to the sauce base. Before being dished up, chopped fresh cilantro may be sprinkled on top for added flavor as well as enhanced appearance. The kinds of fish that traditionally used in Oriya households are Hilsa (called ilisi), rohu (called rohi), and catla (called bhakura). Besides  these, there are some very famous small-sized fishes that are normally having edge over others.

So now all the recipes are spiced up and slurped down to your tongue to taste it. Which one of these did you like the most? Definitely send us a reply.

PURI TEMPLE: Mahaprasad, the food of the gods

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About the Author: Sarada Pattanaik

Sarada Prasanna Pattnaik is based out of Balasore, Odisha. He was earlier a banker and later a faculty at quite a few reputed colleges and institutions. He now teaches civil service aspirants in leading coaching institutes. He is the chief architect of Vidya Group of Educational Institutions. He is an author and a writer in the civil service coaching arena. Writing is his passion and he loves to pen down his thoughts on varied topics ranging from Literature, Politics, Science & Technology, Finance, Sports and Travel.

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