Gupchup To Dalma: 8 Authentic, Must-Try dishes From Odisha
Image Credit: Odisha Tourism

The beautiful state of Odisha situated on the eastern side of the country is home to a delicious and diverse cuisine that boasts of mildly spiced yet bold flavours. And yet, not many Indian foodies or even those from around the world know much about it. Located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, Odisha has, in part depended on the sea for sustenance. On the other hand, with fertile lands and deep jungles, agriculture and foraging has also thrived here.

Naturally then, the food of Odisha is not only loaded with fish and seafood delicacies but also plenty of vegetarian delights. With influences from neighbouring states like Andhra, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar–and a rich tribal belt which produces some of the best millets in the country–Odisha’s cuisine has a lot to offer.

To open up the box of underrated food of Odisha, here are some of the seven must-try dishes for you. 

1. Macha Ghanta

One of the mouth-watering indigenous Odia dish is the Macha Ghanta, which reflects the flavors of this coastal area. The flavored soupy curry has fish heads and lentils made using different spices, vegetables, and seasoning herbs. They always give it out as a tradition during dussehra to the goddess Durga. The dish signifies Odisha’s rich seafaring culture and is a favourite among seafood enthusiasts. The savoury and spicy profile of Macha Ghanta and its nutritious ingredients make it a favoirite for Odia homes and one that brings out the best in an Odia coastal cuisine.

2. Dalma

Dalma is one traditional Odia dish originating from the Eastern Indian state of Odisha specifically. It is a savoury and healthy mixture of split peas and vegetables (roasted moong dal or pulses, potato, and assorted seasonal vegetables) infused with exotic spices and flavors. It has great flavour and is one of the must-have dishes. Besides being tasty, dalma can provide crucial minerals and proteins that are enjoyed by Odias and form an integral part of religious festivals.

3. Chhena Poda

One famous dessert originating in the Indian state of Odisha is called Chhena Poda. It is a delightful sweet made by heating the chhena (an indian cottage cheese) that has been obtained from curdling the milk together with sugar till it caramelizes, providing the dish with its unique taste and color. The people of Odisha call this dish as Bhoi and offer it to Lord Jagannath for cultural reasons making it very special. Literally meaning roasted cheese, Chhena Poda is an ideal way of describing its origin. This is considered as one of the most popular and desired desserts in Odisha and even India as it has rich textures blended with creaminess and caramelization.

Image credit: Odisha Tourism

Besara is a dish native to the Odisha state that is flavourful and traditional. The famous vegetable preparation involves a delightful mixture of pumpkins and drumsticks along with pointed gourds prepared in a thick mustard sauce. Mustard paste forms the core of this meal and provides it with an interesting bitter and hot taste. Ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and spice are usually used to enhance the taste. Often, Besara is made with fish as well, and this dish is then called Macha Besara.

Video Credit: Youtube/OK Tested

6. Gupchup

Gupchup is a well-known Odisha street food snack with other names like Pani Puri, Golgappa, and Phuchka in different parts of India. It consists of empty, frazzled semolina or wheat coverings stuffed with mixed spicy tamarind water, pulped potatoes, sprouts, and diverse chutney. Gupchup leaves a flavorful blast that combines hot, sour and salty experience in each mouthful. A much loved food and an important part of culture in every Thai family.

7. Chakuli pitha

Chakuli pitha is a famous dessert known as Odisha specialty. Initially, it appears almost as a dosa though the softer texture differentiates it from a dosa. These round and flat rice cakes are prepared out of a mixture of rice and black gram dal batter mixed with some spices and sometimes with added grated coconuts. Next the batter is fried onto a hot griddle and flattened into a thin and crispy crepe. The chakuli pitha is good on its own or with several condiments such as chuts, pickle, or dal. This is an amazing and multi-purpose snack usually cooked during celebrations.