Dalma: A Dish From Odisha That Became A Part Of Puri Mahaprasad
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India is gifted with a rich and diverse culture, which makes it a home for various regional cuisines. From the East to the West, you will find a plethora of rich and hearty dishes. Talking particularly about the state of Odisha, their food is heavily influenced by the cuisine of Bengal and Assam. It is popularly known as Odia cuisine, and some of its famous dishes are khichdi, chungdi malai, pakhala bhata, and macha ghanta. Dalma is another delicious delight that is very popular in Odisha.

Dalma is basically a nutritious lentil dish that is packed with lots of vegetables. This staple food of Odisha is made with roasted lentils, ginger, chillies, and a few spices. Common vegetables used for preparing dalma are potatoes, pumpkin, raw papaya, plantains, drumsticks, carrots, and yam. Mostly enjoyed with rice, it is loaded with deliciousness and health benefits.

Dalma is not only a common dish in the households of Odisha but also has a connection with Lord Jagannath. It is distributed as a part of Mahaprasad in the Jagannath temple in Puri. This dish is said to be a gift from the Savaras, the strongest tribe of Odisha, who are said to be the first to worship Lord Jagannath as Neela Mahadeb. They used to add locally grown vegetables and pulses to the dish that was offered to Lord Jagannath. Later, dalma was adopted by the king and became a part of the chappan bhog of the Jagannath temple in Puri.

There are some local variations also available based on the availability of ingredients and preferences, such as temple-style dalma, habisa dalma, masala dalma, and mutton dalma. As it is packed with plenty of healthy ingredients like vegetables and lentils, this dish is extremely nutritious. Here are a few benefits of dalma:

  • Rich In Protein: As dal is one of the main ingredients in this dish, dalma is an ideal source of plant-based protein. According to Healthline, protein helps boost metabolism, manage blood pressure, and increase muscle strength.  
  • Good Source Of Fibre: According to a report by the Mayo Clinic, lentils are an excellent source of fibre, which helps keep your digestive system healthy. This nutrient keeps your stomach full and curbs unhealthy cravings. 
  • Rich In Micronutrients: As dalma is loaded with a variety of colourful vegetables, it is also an ideal way to add plenty of vitamins and minerals to your diet. 

If you also want to treat your family to this Odia delight, here is an easy recipe to make dalma at home:


  • 3 cups cooked toor dal
  • 1 drumstick, peeled and chopped
  • 1 raw banana, peeled and diced
  • 1 big potato, peeled and diced
  • 10-12 beans, diced
  • 0.5 cup diced pumpkin
  • 2 brinjals, diced
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran (whole spice mix)
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 cups of water


  • Add cooked toor dal to a deep pan or kadhai. Add water as required and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix well. Add in the drumsticks, raw banana, pumpkin, potato, and beans. 
  • Add salt, cover, and cook until the vegetables are half-cooked. Add in the brinjal, cover, and cook until the vegetables are almost cooked. 
  • Add in the chopped tomato and cook until all the vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat and keep aside. 

For tempering: 

  • Heat mustard oil in a pan and add the panch-phoran spice mix. Once the spices splutter, add the bay leaf and sliced onions. Fry until the onions are translucent. 
  • Add in the red chilli powder and the cumin powder and sauté for 1 minute. Add the dalma to the tempering and simmer for 5–6 minutes. 
  • Add water if required. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or roti.