Odia Chatu Besara: A Mouth-Watering Mushroom & Mustard Curry
Image Credit: Odia Chatu Besara - Wikimedia Commons

Traditional Odia cuisine borrows its influence from Vaishnavite and Jainism and hence, tends to have a balanced palette. Dominant ingredients like mustard oil, yoghurt, pumpkins, an assortment of gourds and potatoes find their way into most local dishes. The Chatu Besara translates into ‘mushroom’ and ‘mustard gravy’ which is a thick sauce in which paddy straw mushrooms, a commonly found variety of fungi in the state.

Apart from the ‘temple cuisine’ that’s predominantly found almost everywhere, people living along the coastline also have access to several types of seafood along with freshwater fish available from rivers and canals. Although it might be hard to source the authentic mushrooms anywhere else around the country, button mushrooms would work just as well as a replacement.

Above: Paddy Straw Mushrooms, a local variety found in Odisha

Chatu Besara

Also Read: 

A Guide To Making Creamy Odia Style Kheer



  • 250 grams button mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon panch phoron (equal amounts of black mustard, nigella, fenugreek, fennel, and radhuni)
  • 1 tomato, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 slit green chillies
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Soak the mustard seeds, cumin and red chillies in a bit of water for an hour. Drain the water and grind to a fine paste along with the garlic. Add a bit of water, if necessary. Slice the mushrooms as you prefer and set aside.
  • Heat half a tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan and sauté the mushrooms until they begin to release their moisture and shrink a little bit. Be sure to not add any salt while cooking the mushrooms.
  • Add the remaining oil into the pan after removing the cooked mushrooms and allow it to reach smoking point. Temper the panch phoron and add in the green chillies once they begin to crackle. Throw in the onions and fry them for a couple of minutes before you add in the diced potatoes. Add a pinch of salt and cover and cook them on a low heat for 3-4 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften. Add turmeric and chilli powder and mix well followed by the chopped tomatoes.
  • Once the tomatoes have softened, add the spice paste along with a bit of water and cook the mixture until the potatoes have mostly cooked through. Add the cooked mushrooms back into the mix and season well. Allow everything to simmer until the flavours have melded and the gravy reaches a desirable consistency of thickness. Serve hot with rice.