Odia-Style Ambila Is A Sweet And Spicy Treat
Image Credit: brothkaji/Instagram

In the state of Odisha on the east coast, food is a love language. The cuisine is influenced by their neighbours to the north, West Bengal, but the cuisine has a completely unique personality. Odia food is simple and unpretentious, making use of spices and seasonal ingredients to the fullest.

Ambila is one of dish that’s beloved by all and is a common comfort food for many people in Odisha. This sweet and spicy dish is a mix of seasonal vegetables, tempered spices and cooling sour curd. While the vegetables in Ambila can vary depending on season and location, it generally has a lot of hearty root vegetables in it. 

The key to making a successful Ambila is to stir continuously and vigorously while adding the curd to avoid lumps and keep it from curdling in the boiling water. Some variations of the recipe also call for banana stem or bamboo shoot, both often overlooked ingredients in Indian cuisine. It’s usually served alongside rice and a simple pickle to truly let the individual flavours shine.


  • ¼ cup pumpkin
  • ¼ cup radish
  • ¼ cup arbi
  • ¼ cup brinjal
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 bhindi
  • 1 drumstick
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 green chillies
  • ½ tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup curd
  • 1 tsp panch phoran
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp gram flour
  • 1 tsp mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Chop the pumpkin, radish, arbi, brinjal, tomato and carrot into bite-sized cubes. Slice the bhindi and drumstick into even pieces. 
  • In a bowl, mix the curd, besan and ¼ cup water and stir until free of any lumps.
  • In a pressure cooker, warm the mustard oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic, chillies and tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are soft. Add the panch phoron masala, turmeric and chilli powder.
  • Saute for a few seconds before adding the tamarind, remaining vegetables and salt to taste.
  • Cover and cook in the pressure cooker for 2 to 3 whistles.
  • Once the pressure releases, stir in the yoghurt mixture and boil while stirring continuously until the besan is combined with the liquid.
  • Serve hot with rice and ghee.