Taste Of Odisha, The Lesser-Known Nuances Of The Odia Cuisine
Image Credit: Pakhala bhat/ Pic- https://www.facebook.com/Odia-Food-110561270475408

There is no dearth of flavours and taste we talk of Indian food. From East to West to North to South there are variety if cuisine that have shaped the culinary map of the country. One such is Odia cuisine which is not much talked or displayed out to the world. Interestingly till dates most the cooks that one get to see in Bengal and other areas happen to be Odia chefs. The cuisine from this rice staple state less oily and spice and sees some real robust flavours along with few dishes playing mild also. The state also sees a great influence of Temple cuisine as these religious places have been much centre point of socio-cultural activities in Odisha. Many of the temple recipes of Odia have made it mainstream too. If Temple cuisine is famous, the coastal flavours too can’t be ignored as the state sees a huge coastline. 

A typical Odia thali would see rice, dal, potato or any vegetable fried, vegetables curry, fish curry or even meat. The use of Mustard oil, besara (mustard seeds that have been pounded with garlic), panch phutana (panch phoron) are very commonly used in the cuisine. 

Let’s have a look at few of the famous dishes from the cuisine. 

Pakhala Bhata

Pakhala bhat is best for summer/ Pic- Ayandrali Dutta


Pakhala primarily means fermented rice and this one is best for summers. A must in all household in Odisha it’s made by soaking cooked rice in water and sour curd. Extremely healthy and great for gut this dish is accompanied by Badi choora, aloo chokha, fried fish, papad, roasted tomatoes and some pakodas. The rice is typically kept in water overnight or for two days and yes Odisha also sees Pakhala Dibasa (Universal Pakhala Day) celebrated on 20th March. This summer favourite is great to prevent from heat stroke. Researchers have also claimed that it’s the only food which has vitamins for the nerve cells. 


Dalma ca be easily passed off by saying it’s the Sambhar of the East minus the tamarind. This everyday staple that is made with Arhar dal (Split Toor Dal), all seasonal veggies like Raw Banana, peeled and diced, Potato, peeled and diced, diced Pumpkin, Brinjals, diced, Tomato, roughly chopped, plantain, yam and papaya and more. Slow cooked in a big wok, this lip-smacking dish is loaded with flavours. Paired with rice this dish that is tempered with Panch Phutana is extremely healthy and healthy too.


This subtle dish that is also cooked with potatoes, ladyfingers, brinjal, and other vegetables, that are boiled together, this is an amazingly light dish. Easy to this recipe is best for summers or if you are suffering from stomach ailments, gastric and digestion problems. There are two types- Bhaja Santula where the vegetables are fried ; Sijha Santula where the vegetables are boiled. For some extra zing you can add saute the dish mildly with milk and spices. 

Maach Besara

This mustard-based dish Besara sees an assortment of vegetables like potato, pumpkin, banana and papaya that is prepared in mustard paste curry. The dish is necessarily tempered with Panch Phutana. In place of vegetables, you can also use fish to make Machha Besara a dish cooked in a mustard paste gravy. The simplicity of the flavours of the dish is simply delectable. 

Enduri Pitha

This pitha that is made also known as Haladi Patra Enduri as it is cooked in a mix of rice and urad dal is put in Turmeric leaves and this dish is associated Prathamastami Puja and is a good example of  food traditions from Odisha. As it is cooked in raw turmeric leaves the pitha gets a nice light aroma of turmeric when u eat after discarding the leaves. 

Chhena Poda

This original cheese cake from India, Chena poda is the most popular dessert from Odisha. This baked sweet dish, also happens to be favorite sweet of Lord Jagannath. Also unlike other baked recipes which sees many steps this this one is a one-bowl recipe.