By Nmami Agarwal
The land of Lord Jagannath- Odisha has a glorious history and cultural, it can’t be expressed in words about this state, that how it has to offer in each and every cultural regime. Located in Eastern Ghats of India, the state experiences four seasons and odia is the official as well as the most spoken language of the state.
Talking about the food of Odisha, one can say that it’s been influenced by neighboring states but still hold its own unique version. Odisha’s Food is simple, less in spice and oil, yet flavorful. Use of pulses, rice, fish, mustard oil, panch phoron (a mixture of five spices) and curd plays a crucial part in the cuisine of this state.
Agriculture in Odisha
Odisha is amongst the largest producers of rice across India. Other main crops that are cultivated in this state are oil seeds, pulses, coconut, mustard, maize, sesame and ragi offering ample amounts of distinctive nutrients and health benefits as respective. Coconut, the famous food item across South India is prominently high in healthy fats called medium chain triglycerides. These fats are responsible for a lot of the health benefits like increased fat burning process, killing harmful micro-organisms in the body and raising good cholesterol levels.
Here is the list of famous foods in Odisha
- Dalma: You have to choose between lentils and vegetable every time you cook but that’s not the case with Dalma. It is a preparation where lentils and vegetable are cooked together and is served along with rice. The lentils and vegetables can be used as per one’s choice. Commonly used vegetable include yellow pumpkin, raw banana, brinjal, and raw papaya. The panch phoron that is the added gives flavor to this dish.
- Khechidi (or khichdi): Talking about khechidi, it might be a boring affair for most of the people, but not in Odisha as it’s an essential part of Odia cuisine. The recipe is extremely simple that uses moong dal, rice, asafoetida and basic ingredients are added such as salt, turmeric, dried bay leaf, cinnamon. There might include other variations, where one would add vegetables such as cauliflower florets, peas, and potatoes. Khechidi originated in Odisha is not only healthy but tasty too.
- Chatu Rai: A highly nutritious vegetable dish, that’s very popular in Odisha. Mushrooms, turmeric powder and tomato provide an enriching taste that is 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. Considering the fact mushroom are good source of vitamin D, this dish will be health food guide.
- Santula: This is a vegetable dish from the state of Odisha which sometimes is shallow fried or boiled. Ingredients include potatoes, brinjal, papaya, and tomato, which are first boiled together, then shallow fried in oil with diced onion, panch phoran and green chillies. This delicious curry is highly nutritional because it is low in oil and comprises a varied mix of fresh and seasonal vegetables.
- Pakhaḷa: The dish is simple and satiates the taste buds with its distinct flavor. This can have four distinct varieties. The essential ingredient in it is the soaked cooked rice (left overnight) and curd that is cooked with few drops of oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chili that is stir-fried in a pan. Sometimes to add more zing it’s served with fish curry. The interesting part is that it’s loved so much, that 20th march is celebrated as pakhaladibasa (day).
- Chungdi Malai: Out of so many varieties of seafood this one surely stands out. This delicious mild curry is easy to make and is also referred to as prawn malai curry. To further enrich the curry, humble and mild spices are added. This famous and lip- smacking seafood is served with steamed basmati rice.
- Dahi Machha: This dish should be on your must eat least. Dahi machha would be translated as fish in curd.One of the traditional and a popular fish curry that is famous in Odisha. This is an easy-to-make recipe that is cooked with spices and curd. This fish recipe is extremely appetizing and can be enjoyed with steamed rice.
Over to you
Every place has a distinct feature in terms of cooking or flavor. Odisha is indeed true to its tagline “the soul of incredible India”. Always explore the healthy options in food and seek guidance from a trusted nutritionist.