Have A Flavourful Vasant Panchami With This Authentic Odia Platter
Image Credit: Source: Odia cuisine/Facebook

With the onset of February, my sister and I gear up to celebrate one of the most awaited festivals of the year. Who doesn’t love wearing new dresses, going to the pandal and relishing some delicious food? As a kid too, Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami was the most anticipated festival of the year for me. Along with the food, not having to study books on that day was a relief for many of us. 

As the month begins, my mother would start drying ber fruit seasoned with salt and red chilli powder on the terrace to make a delicious ber chutney for Saraswati Puja. Seeing the ber fruit being seasoned meant a lavish meal was being planned for the day of the puja. My typical Odia kitchen would zing with the aroma of the moreish delicacies that my mother used to prepare in the morning of Saraswati Puja. As I have been living away from home for five years now, I have learned to make the same delicacies on Vasant Panchami to heal my homesick heart to some extent. Here are the authentic Odia dishes that I include in my Vasant Panchami platter:

1. Kanika

One of the chhappan bhogs of Lord Jagannath, Kanika is a rice dish that is deeply rooted in the bhog culture of Odisha. The fragrant and flavourful rice dish is served with dalma for a wholesome meal.

2. Dalma

If there’s any food that most Odias can eat every day of the week without complaining, it is dalma. The dalma made on Saraswati Puja is prepared without onion and garlic, with a special garnishing of grated coconut. Follow the recipe below to make the dish at home.

3. Ghanta Tarkari

Ghanta Tarkari is a vegetarian Odia dish that is made with an assortment of seasonal vegetables and lentils. The hearty and wholesome dish is healthy, tasty and enough to fill your tummies and soothe your soul.

4. Ber Pickle

Eating ber fruit on Vasant Panchami is a custom that my family has been following since times immemorable. The pickle is prepared with minimal seasoning before a week and is served as bhog on the festival.

5. Tomato Khatta

To give your platter a tangy note, add tomato khatta to it. The khatta is a sweet and sour food made with dates, tomatoes and a tempering of panch phoran.

6. Rasagola

The bond between Odias and rasagolas is intense and shatter-proof. To complete an authentic Odia meal, rasagola is a must-have element.

Try these recipes this Vasant Panchami for an authentic Odia meal.