Nuakhai is an important festival celebrated in the state of Odisha. As the name suggests, the festival is meant to celebrate the newly harvested food of the farmers. Celebrated a day after Ganesh Chaturthi, Nuakhai is popular in Western Odisha. The festival is celebrated by wearing new clothes, offering prasad to the deities and relishing delicious dishes made with the newly harvested crops. The celebration starts two weeks before the day of Nuakhai. People in western Odisha follow nine rituals before the day of the festival- from Behrana (announcement of a meeting to set the date of meeting) to Juhar Bhet (meeting the elders and paying respect to them). Although Nuakhai is a festival of jubilation for everyone, it has special significance for foodies. The Nuakhai feast has a variety of decadent dishes which will leave everyone asking for more. Are you planning to make a Nuakhai feast at home this Saturday? Here are five items you can include in it.

1. Arisa Pitha

No Indian festival is complete without a sweet dish. Made with rice flour, sesame seeds and jaggery, Arisa Pitha is a must-have dish in the Nuakhai feast. Make it a day before the festival as it tastes better when at room temperature.

2. Nua Bhaat

Nua bhaat is basically rice cooked with the newly harvested crop. You can amp it up by adding cumin seeds with a drizzle of ghee on top. Serve it with dal and the other side dishes to complete your platter.  

3. Kankada-Kadali Bhaja

A spine gourd and raw banana stir-fry, this bhaja (fritter) tastes as delicious as it looks. Do you think it’s a really simple dish? Add it to your Nuakhai platter to watch it jazz up the flavours.

4. Jau

Jau is a kheer prepared with newly harvested rice. It is quite simple and is made with ghee, rice and milk. Unlike the regular kheer, it is made with a tempering of cumin seeds.

5. Tomato Khatta

Add a tangy note to your Nuakhai platter by adding tomato chutney. Tomato khatta is Odia tomato chutney which has a lighter consistency than regular chutney.

Here are five must-have dishes on a Nuakhai platter. You can add other vegetarian dishes to your feast too. Have a delicious and fun-filled Nuakhai. Nuakhai Juhar!