Mitha Dali: What Makes Puri's Famous Dish So Special?
Image Credit: Source: Sibani Singh/Facebook

People who have visited Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri must have tasted the Prasad served there. The Prasad is called Abhada in temple terminology and consists of 56 dishes. These are cooked in Rosha Ghara and are offered to the deities before the general public. The Prasad is then brought to the Ananda Bajara (a place where these food articles are sold) which is open to the general public. As a kid, I always get elated to visit Puri for two reasons- to enjoy the beach and relish the delicious food inside the temple premises. Being a foodie, the Prasad has always tugged at my heartstrings. However, two dishes have been on the top of my favourite’s list- Charu Anna and Mitha Dali. While the former is sweetened rice, the latter is sweetened Dal. My incorrigible sweet tooth has always gone “Ga Ga” over these two delicacies. 

Keeping the former for another time, let's talk about Mitha Dali today. Best savoured with Anna, Besara, Mahura and Khatta, Mitha Dali is a type of Dal sweetened with jaggery. The dish falls in the second category of Mahaprasad- Sankuni. The Dal is primarily made with Tuvar Dal/Toor Dal. The split Dal is perfect for thick Dals and curries. The slightly nutty flavour of the Dal is another perk that adds up to the decadence of the dish. The consistency of jaggery also affects the flavours of the dish. Ideally, jaggery powder is used instead of liquid jaggery to sweeten the dish. 

The dish is made in a clay pot and simply Dal along with water is brought to a boil over medium heat. Once the Dal starts boiling, salt, turmeric, crushed ginger, and jaggery are added to it and are cooked on low heat till the Dal is cooked perfectly. After the Dal is cooked, a teaspoon of asafoetida is added to a tablespoon of water and is added to the cooked dal. The dish is finished off by adding raw cumin seeds and hot ghee to it. 

So, the next time you visit the temple of Puri, don’t forget to relish the Dal in all its glory. And then you won't have to wonder about the secret ingredients added to it as you already know them through this article.