Mandia Jau, The Odia Cooling Porridge To Beat The Heat
Image Credit: Mandia jau, @tummy.satisfaction @Instagram

For aeons of time, humans have been resorting to several grains and crops to protect against unbearable climatic heat. In this list, mandia has been a go-to food in the eastern region of India, particularly, Odisha. It is difficult to tell how old this traditional practice is. Mandia is the local name of finger millet in Odisha. The way this grain is intertwined with this Indian state's food habits indicates that the natives have followed a healthy lifestyle since time immemorial. Even today, in several tribal belts in Odisha, mandia, ragi, or finger millet, is the main food. Among an array of Odia culinary preparations around ragi, mandia jau needs a special mention. The recipe calls for minimal ingredients yet offers health in abundance. 

The popularity of ragi or finger millet is so prevalent in Odisha that the state government has announced a dedicated day called Mandia Divas. It is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of the Hindu month of Margasira. It is the first state to honour millet with an earmarked date. The health benefits of mandia or finger millet have long been acknowledged in Odisha. As the summer sets in, locals highly depend on Mandia Jau to beat the heat. 

Ingredients to make mandia jau, Image Source: me_and_rosei@Instagram

Mandia jau is famed for its ability to cool the body. Ideally, the locals of Odisha cook it at night and let it sit for 12 hours. The following day it is consumed as a cooling dish in the morning. Apart from its many health perks, mandia jau has been a proven solution to ward off the extreme climatic heat of summer. 

Mandia Jau Recipe

Odia healthy finger millet porridge, Image Source: YouTube


  • 3 tbsp grounded finger millet or mandia
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 500 ml torani or cooked rice water
  • 500 ml plain water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup homemade buttermilk


  • Wash the rice thoroughly and keep it aside
  • Mix the rice water and water in a heavy-bottomed vessel and put it on heat
  • Once it warms a bit, take out 5 tablespoons of this water in a bowl and keep it aside
  • Meanwhile, as the water starts to boil, add the rinsed rice and salt to taste. Reduce the flame and let it cook
  • Take the warm water and slowly stir in the pounded mandia or finger millet powder. Keep mixing it thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps in the slurry
  • Keep an eye on the rice. Once it is cooked using a masher, mash the rice grains to make a coarse paste
  • Now while stirring the rice, slowly pour the finger millet slurry
  • Let the rice and mandia cook until they are done. Keep stirring in between to avoid it from getting stuck on the vessel's surface. If required, add more water
  • It will take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Once the porridge gets thick, turn off the gas. 

Let it cool down. Eat it cold. Cook mandia jau in the night and allow it to sit overnight. Add a glass of homemade buttermilk to it the following day and devour it.