Have You Tried These 6 Native Dishes From Koraput, Odisha?

The vast tribal community of Koraput – a district in Odisha, is an epicentre of thriving biodiversity and resources ideal for crop cultivation. Inhabited by tribal communities who rely heavily on the natural food sources in order to sustain. While millets, tubers, wild mushrooms and other vegetables form a significant part of their everyday diet, the region also boasts of the claim to be one of the primary centres from where rice originated. In this largely agro-driven community, the knowledge of the tribes translates into the identification of over 120 medicinal plant species, categorising them into food and fuel as well as setting an example for conservation of the natural ecosystem. That being said, the simple yet delicious variety of dishes hailing from this region offer a lens into an obscure sub-cuisine that deserves as much recognition as most other Odiya preparations.

Simba Manji Alu Tiana

Image Credits: Kitchen Corner-Try It

A preparation that uses lima beans (walor) and potatoes, made by frying the key ingredients and simmering them in a tangy tomato-based gravy, the simba manji alu tiana is eaten as an accompaniment to rice or millet-based flatbreads. The protein-rich beans combined with starchy potatoes are an ideal way to create a balanced diet by way of a simple dish that serves as an example of extracting maximum nutritional from minimal resources.

Panasa Manji Bhaja

A seasonal preparation of jackfruit seeds stir fried after being coated in a batter made with rice flour and spices, the panasa manji bhaja is what can be classified as a unique fritter. Once fried, the jackfruit seeds develop a crunchy exterior and an almost waxy, fluffy centre on cooking. Enjoyed as a snack or as a side dish with rice and dal, some recipes also sprinkle jaggery over these fritters for a touch of sweetness.

Paalua Khiri

Image Credits: Mahaprasada

A fasting recipe prepared during the auspicious day of Mahashivratri, the paalua khiri is a milk pudding made with arrowroot powder. Consumed as a way of keeping the body’s temperature cool while fasting, it is also consumed seasoned with sweetened lia or puffed rice or puri pitha for breakfast. This simple preparation makes a creamy, slightly thickened mixture that is close in consistency with condensed milk, with a mild herby flavour from the addition of bay leaf as the milk simmers.

Shrabana Chhattu Besara

Find an authentic Odia recipe of the delicacy below:

A monsoon delicacy made with what is known as the ‘king of mushrooms’, the shrabana chhattu besara is a wild mushroom preparation cooked in a mustard-based gravy. Known to be a local favourite due to its interesting woody flavour and high nutritional value, these prized mushrooms are an uncultivated vegetable foraged by local collectors in rural pockets of the state. Resembling the Japanese shimeji, these monsoon-special mushrooms are also used across a variety of preparations such as curries and stir fries.

Also Read: 

Odisha On Your Plate: Types Of Pithas Odias Relish

Mandia Jau

Image Credits: PIBBhubaneshwar/Twitter

Since millets are integral to the food culture of Koraput, mandia jau – a finger millet porridge is one of the staple dishes that is consumed during the summer months, as a way to combat the harsh weather. Made with a mixture of ragi flour, rice, buttermilk and salt, the simple delicacy is typically eaten cold, one day after it has been prepared, in order to harness all its nutritional and cooling properties. The jau is typically paired with sliced raw onions and green chillies, for an extra kick of flavour.

Taadi Rasa

Adding to the already full roster of locally-made liquors across India, is the taadi rasa – which literally translates to sap of the palm tree. The buttermilk-like liquid is extracted by making an incision in the trunk of the palm tree and tying a mud pot at the lowest point of the cut to accumulate the dripping liquid. The collected sap is then fermented and drunk when it still has a mildly pungent taste, changing its composition to become alcoholic, and said to taste better than beer.