Have You Tried These 3 Sweets From Odisha?
Image Credit: Khira Sagara, Wikipedia

Odisha is a state known for its numerous festivals. There is a saying in Odia, 'Bara masa re tera paraba,'- means, that in 12 months, there are 13 festivals. It indicates how festivities are a part of this state. Naturally, any soiree is incomplete without a spread of festive food, especially sweetmeats. And Odia cuisine has a mindboggling range of sweets native to the state. These are different from the indigenous Odia pithas. While most of us know about rasogola, chhena poda and jilaapi, there are a few lesser-known ones. 

Khira Sagara

In the Odia language, the term khira sagara refers to a sweet dessert, meaning "ocean of milk." The dessert is seen being served to Vishnu and Madhusudana by Lakshmi in Hindu mythology. Chhena or farmer's cheese is rolled into marble-sized balls and drenched in sweetened condensed milk to make khira sagara. The typical seasonings are saffron and cardamom. This sweet ocean of milk is usually served either at room temperature or slightly chilled. This dish is probably ras malai's predecessor. Khira Sagara's milk base is thicker and more rabri-like in consistency.

Chhena Gaja

Chhena gaja, Image Source: @manas_muduli@twitter

The chhena gaja is one of the sweets popular within the state of Odisha. Though the base of this native sweet is chhena or farmer's cheese, like rasagolla and chena poda, it tastes completely different from the rest. Pahala, which is a few kilometers away from the capital city Bhubaneswar, is one of the most notable locations to relish chena gajas. To prepare this chhena and sooji (semolina) are combined and kneaded into a dough. The mixture is squeezed of water and briefly dried until it has the proper consistency. Then it is cooked in thick sugar syrup while being shaped into rectangular forms or gajas, the size of a palm.


Rasabali, Image Source: poonambachhav

As the name suggests, this sweetmeat is a juicy preparation tracing its origin in the Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapara. It is offered to Baladevjew. Rasabali is a part of Jagannath's Chapana bhoga. Farmer cheese or chhena is flattened and then deep fried as a reddish-brown patty. It is followed by soaking these patties in rabri, thick, sweetened milk. They are flattened into palm-sized patties to make the chhena more absorbent to the rabri. Crushed cardamoms are used to flavour the thickened milk.

So, in your next visit to Odisha, don't forget to taste these sweets.