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Cuisine of Odisha

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Title: Cuisine of Odisha  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Culture of Odisha, Historic sites in Odisha, History of Odisha, List of rulers of Odisha, Arts of Odisha
Collection: Culture of Odisha, Indian Cuisine by State, Odia Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cuisine of Odisha

Compared to other regional Indian cuisines, Odia cuisine used relatively less oil and is less spicy but of great taste.[1][2] Rice is the staple food of this region. Mustard oil is used in several dishes as the cooking medium, but ghee is preferred in temples.[2] Food is traditionally served on disposable plates made of sal leaves.[3]

Odia cooks, particular from the Puri region, were much sought after due to their ability to cook food in accordance to the Hindu scriptures. During the 19th century, many Odia cooks were employed in Bengal and they took several dishes with them.[4] Yoghurt is also used in various dishes. Many sweets of the region are based on Chhena (cheese).[5] The period saw a heavy demand of the Brahmin cooks, leading many Odia cooks to fake their castes.[6]


  • Ingredients and seasoning 1
  • Local variation 2
  • Temple food 3
  • Fish and sea food 4
  • List of dishes 5
    • Rice dishes and rotis 5.1
    • Dals and curries 5.2
    • Khattas and chutneys 5.3
    • Saaga (salad greens) 5.4
    • Pithas (sweet cakes) 5.5
    • Fish and other sea food 5.6
    • Chicken and chevon 5.7
    • Fritters and fries 5.8
    • Snacks 5.9
    • Desserts and sweets 5.10
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Ingredients and seasoning

The ingredients used in Odia cuisine typical to the region are plantains, jackfruit, and papaya. The curries are also garnished with dried raw mango (ambula) and tamarind. Coconut is also used in several dishes.[7] Panch phutana is a blend of five spices which is widely used in Odia cuisine. It contains mustard, cumin, fenugreek, aniseed and kalonji. Garlic and onion are also used, but is avoided in temple regions. Turmeric and red chillies are also commonly used.[2]

Local variation

The food in the region around Puri-Cuttack is greatly influenced by the Jagannath Temple. On the other hand, kalonji and mustard paste is used mostly in the region bordering Bengal and curries tend to be sweeter. In the region closer to Andhra Pradesh, curry tree leaves and tamarind are used more.[2] The Brahmapur region has influences of South Indian cuisine and the Telugu people living there have also invented new Oriya dishes.[8]

Temple food

Abadha, the afternoon meal of the Jagannath Temple served on a plantain leaf.

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. It is based on the legend that Krishna missed his 8 meals for 7 days while trying to save a village from a storm holding up the Govardhan hill as a shelter.[5]

Fish and sea food

Fish and other sea foods are eaten in mainly coastal areas. Several curries are prepared from prawn and lobster with spices.[2][9] Freshwater fish is also available from rivers and irrigation canals.[4]

List of dishes

Rice dishes and rotis

Pakhala served with wads of lemon, yoghurt and a slice of tomato.
  • Pakhala: It is a rice dish made by adding water to cooked rice. It may then be allowed to ferment overnight, this is called basi pakhala. The unfermented version is called saja pakhala. It is served with green chillies, onions, yoghurt, badi etc. It is primarily eaten in summer.[10][11]
  • Khechadi: A rice dish cooked with lentils.[12][13] It is the Odia version of khichdi.[14]
  • Palau: A rice dish made from vegetables and raisins. It is the Odia version of pilaf.[15][16]
  • Kanika: A sweet rice dish, garnished with raisins and nuts.[11][17]
  • Ghee Rice: A rice dish, fried with ghee and cinnamon

Dals and curries

  • Dalma: A dish made from dal and vegetables.[18] It is generally made from toor dal and contains chopped vegetables like green papaya, unripe banana, eggplant, pumpkin, gourd etc. It is garnished with turmeric, mustard seeds, and panch phutana. There are several variations of this dish.[4]
  • Santula: A dish finely chopped vegetables which are sauteed with garlic, green chillies, mustard and various spices. It has several variations.[4][11]
  • Chaatu Rai: A dish made from mushrooms and mustard.[18]
  • Kadali Manja Rai: A curry made from banana plant stem and mustard seeds. Manja refers to the stem which can also be used in dalma.[11][19][20]

Khattas and chutneys

Dhania-Patra Chutney

Khatta refers to a type of sour side dish or chutney usually served with Odia thalis.[21]

Saaga (salad greens)

Odias typically eat loads of cooked green leaves of various types. They are prepared by adding "pancha phutana", with or without onion/garlic and are best enjoyed with pakhala. One of the most popular saaga is Lali Koshala Saaga- which have green leaves with red stems. Other saagas that are eaten are pita gahama, khada, poi, koshala, sajana etc.

Pithas (sweet cakes)

Kakara Pitha

Pithas are a type of traditional Odia dishes.[26][27]

Fish and other sea food

Ilishi Maachha Tarkari

Chicken and chevon

Odia mutton curry .

Fritters and fries


Desserts and sweets

Chenna Poda
Bela pana
  • Kheeri: Kheeri is the Odia word for kheer.[13][33]
  • Chhena Poda: A sweet made from soft cheese dipped in sugar syrup and baked. It may also contain dry fruits.[2]
  • Chhena Gaja[24]
  • Malpua[30]
  • Kora[4]
  • Kheera sagara[30]
  • Chhenna jilabi[12]
  • Chhena Jhili[21]
  • Rasagolla: The sweet was invented in the city of Puri to appease the deity Mahalaxmi about 700 years. However, the Bengali people claim that it was invented in the nineteenth century by a Calcutta sweetmaker.[4][34]
  • Gulab jamun[5][34]
  • Rasabali[12][21]
  • Rasamalai[34]
  • Aadasi


  1. ^ "The coastal edge".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "From the land of Jagannath".  
  3. ^ "Not a stereotyped holiday".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Charmaine O' Brien (15 December 2013). "Orissa". The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin Books Limited. p. 188.  
  5. ^ a b c Rocky Singh; Mayur Sharma (25 July 2014). Highway on my Plate-II: the indian guide to roadside eating. Random House India. p. 370.  
  6. ^ Utsa Ray (30 November 2014). Culinary Culture in Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. p. 126.  
  7. ^ Northeast India. Lonely Planet. 2007. p. 86.  
  8. ^ "New cookery show on TV soon".  
  9. ^ delhi/article1079468.ece "Inside Delhi" .  
  10. ^ "Pakhala, a hot favourite in Odisha`s summer menu".  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Oriya cuisine spices up syllabus".  
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Yummy fare at Odia food fest".  
  13. ^ a b c "Women vie for kitchen queen title — Contestants cook up mouth-watering dishes at cookery contest".  
  14. ^ "Khechidi". Oriya Kitchen. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Potpouri" ( 
  16. ^ "Palau (pulao)". Oriya Kitchen. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Kanika". Destination Orissa. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Rahul savours ‘dalma’ and ‘khir’".  
  19. ^ Bijoylaxmi Hota; Kabita Pattanaik (2007). Healthy Oriya Cuisine. Rupa & Company. p. 29.  
  20. ^ "Kadali Manja Rai". eOdisha. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Tasty treat of tangy khatta & spicy tadka".  
  22. ^ "कच्‍चे आम की रसीली चटनी: अंबा खट्टा". Boldshy (in Hindi). Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Recipe: Tomato-khajuri khatta".  
  24. ^ a b c "It’s time to pamper your tastebuds".  
  25. ^ "Coriander Chutney". FullOdisha. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  26. ^ a b "Poda pithas take the cake".  
  27. ^ "Traditional ‘pitha’ undergoes a sea change".  
  28. ^ "Machha Besara (A spicy dish of Rohu fish)". Five Tastes. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "Machha Mahura (Fish with Mixed Vegetable Curry)". Bewarchi. 
  30. ^ a b c d "Good response to Odiya food festival".  
  31. ^ "Matar Ghugni aur Murmure". Mamta's Kitchen. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "Youths from Bihar and UP rule the ‘golgappa’ market".  
  33. ^ "A cook-off in the lord’s name".  
  34. ^ a b c "Several good reasons to loiter".  

Further reading

  • Bijoylaxmi Hota; Kabita Pattanaik (2007). Healthy Oriya Cuisine. Rupa & Company.  
  • Sujata Patnaik; Ranjita Patnaik. Classic Cooking of Orissa. Allied Publishers.  
  • Laxmi Parida (1 April 2003). Purba: Feasts from the East: Oriya Cuisine from Eastern India. iUniverse.  
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