As the east coast of India, we all know Odisha as a popular family vacation destination for its rich architectural temples (such as Lord Jagannath Temple), beaches and zoos. Little did we know about its delicious Odia cuisine, which includes a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes (like Mansa Jhola, Chenna Poda, Santhula, Gaja, Khaja, etc.) widely available at various eateries in the space. Rice is the staple food for the Odia people, and most households use mustard oil as a cooking medium. The distinctive cuisine provides a burst of flavor to foods while being less oily than other regional cuisines. Odisha’s vibrant tourist spots and rich tradition of Odia cuisine make the state a unique destination. (Also read: 5 Mouth-watering Aam Ka Achar or Aam Ka Achar Recipes You Must Try )
Must Try Summer Odia Recipes:
Abinas Nayak, MasterChef winner and Corporate Chef, Roshshala, shares with HT Lifestyle, some easy summer Odisha recipes that every food lover must try.
It is a typical, traditional, nutritious Odia dish. It is nutritious as it combines both pulses and vegetables and goes well with rice and roti. There are many variations of dalma in Odisha, region to region and variations depending on season and occasion. Generally, three types of pulses are used in dalma – green gram (mung). Red gram (Arhar) and Bengal gram (Chana dal). All kinds of vegetables like potato, brinjal, gourd, gourd, cucumber, bean, nutmeg, pumpkin, arum, yam, raw banana etc. are used. But any 4 to 5 types of vegetables should be picked from the above range. It is tasty when cooked in a pot. But pressure cooker is most convenient for quick cooking.
Red gram dal – 200 grams
Eggplant – 1 medium
Gourd – 2 medium
Tomato – 1 medium
Ginger – half piece (grated)
Dalma masala powder – 1 teaspoon or more
Salt – as per taste
Grated coconut – 3 – 4 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 3-4
Oil or ghee – 1 tbsp
Potato – 1 medium
Ridge Gound – 1 medium
Pumpkin – 6-8 cubes
Onion (optional) – 1
Green coriander leaves – 1 tsp (chopped)
Bay leaves – 2 turmeric powder
Asafoetida – a pinch
1. Cut the vegetables into cubed sizes. Soft vegetables such as eggplant, pumpkin, and raw bananas should be cut into large cubes. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
2. Cook the dal in a pressure cooker by mixing 2 cups of water, turmeric powder, salt and naffar until half cooked.
3. Remove from flame after 2 whistles to avoid overcooking. Release the steam and add the vegetables except the tomatoes.
4. 1 or 2 whistles are enough in a pressure cooker to cook vegetables. If the consistency is thick, a small amount of water can be added to create a flow texture.
5. Heat oil and add crackle panch futan, dry red chillies, ginger and asafoetida.
6. Add chopped onion. Cook until golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until well blended.
7. Pour dal, add coconut, sprinkle ground spices and mix well.
8. Add a spoonful of pure ghee and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Serve and enjoy.
2. Chicken Turmeric
If there is one dish that defines Odia cuisine, it is besara. It is an authentic Odia dish (mild mustard paste) prepared by grinding black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, chillies, etc. Mustard paste is used to make dishes like chicken besara, fish besara (fish cooked in mustard sauce). Vegetable Turmeric etc.
For Turmeric Paste:
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon white mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chillies (not Kashmiri)
Garlic pods 8
Mustard oil 4 tbsp
Finely chopped onion 1
Tomato finely chopped 1
Green chillies 2
1 piece of curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 ambula (optional)
Chicken curry cut – 700 grams
For Turmeric Paste:
1. Soak all the ingredients for the paste in hot water for at least 2 hours or 10-15 minutes.
2. Grind to make a fine paste. And later set it aside to use in chicken mousse and gravy.
For the gravy:
1. Heat a pan and add mustard oil, add chopped onion, add chicken and cook until the chicken gets a light brown crust.
2. Add tomatoes and curry leaves
3. Add 2 spoons of turmeric paste, turmeric powder and mix everything for 1 minute and add 2 cups of water. Let it cook slowly for 10-15 minutes or until everything is cooked and the gravy is boiling.
4. You can add a spoonful of soaked Ambula water to the gravy to make it taste more tangy. You can use the same paste and gravy with other proteins such as fish, prawns and mushrooms.
3. Bella Panna
Bela Pana is a popular summer drink prepared with wood apple pulp, a fruit native to the Southeast Asian region. It is known as ‘Bela’ in Oriya. The fruit pulp is taken out and mixed with water and stirred. The juice is then strained. It is then mixed with some milk or beaten curd. Quantity is considered according to taste. It can be served chilled or at normal room temperature.
Bela (wood apple): 1 ripe
Sugar: To taste
Water: 3 to 4 cups
Black pepper powder: For sprinkling
Milk or fresh yogurt: To taste
1. Break the apple out of the wood and scoop out the pulp on a plate.
2. Add 3 – 4 cups of water to the pulp, mix well and strain the juice.
3. Add sugar and milk / beaten curd. Adjust the emerald consistency to your taste, either concentrated or diluted.
4. Sprinkle pepper powder and serve chilled or at room temperature.
4. Chenna Emerald
It is not as traditional as bela panna but it is packed with protein. For this specific drink, you need chenna/cottage cheese, coconut, banana, curd, milk and sugar. Chenna Panna is considered very dear to Lord Jagannath and is specially prepared to celebrate the Odia New Year. This paan is offered as an offering to Lord Jagannath during Sankranti.
Ripe banana: 2
Chenna: 100 grams
Sugar: 5 tbsp or to taste
Milk: 2 cups
Chilli powder: ¼ tsp
Nutmeg paste: ¼ tsp
Sandal paste: Half tsp
Cardamom Powder: A pinch
Water: 3 to 4 cups
Green Mango (optional): 1 tbsp finely chopped
Ginger (optional): ¼ tsp finely chopped
1. Mash the banana and chenna well.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3. The consistency of the emerald can be concentrated or diluted depending on your taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.