Odisha also sees the tradition of using dried ingredients be it fish or veggies that have been carefully stored.
One of the most beautiful and least explored state in the Eastern part of India happens to be Odisha. And just like the state the cuisine of the place too is also least explored. Since time immemorial Odia cuisine has seen it’s own unique techniques of storing and preserving food. The ingredients are much rustic and flavourful here and most dishes seem to be cooked in bare. Dishes in the Odia food strictly follow the idea of minimalism, it’s like maximum flavour with minimum ingredients. Going by a typical odia thali that would see some pakhala during summer, some fried and sautéed dishes and also some non veg in terms of fish and some souring side like chutneys etc. Odisha also sees the tradition of using dried ingredients be it fish or veggies that have been carefully stored. Interestingly across the region the food keeps changing be it the rural Odisha or the coastal part of the state.
Summer is harsh in Odisha hence most houses sees dishes that would keep them cool.
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, crushed fried prawns, 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.
Limba phula bhaja
Summers being harsh it’s good eat something soothing and bitters are great to have during April May. And this also the time when neem flowers are in full bloom. Known to have medicinal properties these flowers helps from nausea, intestinal worms and more. Apart from the simple fry the neem flowers are also mixed with rice flour batter and then made vadas or fried dumplings.
Pointed gourd or parwal happens to be a summer veggie and it goes best when mixed with other like pumpkin, potato, and more. Potala Kurma happens to be a much-savoured dish from the region the mild and spicy at the same time. You can also have deep fried potol with daal and rice
Pumpkin flower fritters
Pumpkin flowers are known to have multiple health benefits and are in abundance in this season. Not just in Odisha but in Bengal, Assam and other neighbouring states this one is dipped in rice flour and then fried. It goes great with some pakhala or simple rice and daal
With changing season this one is really soothing as it sees the coolent curd. Simply mince banana stem and then lightly tossed with fresh curd, crushed green chili, mango ginger, curry leaves, little sugar, salt and a pinch of roasted cumin chili powder and finally tempered with dry chilis, mustard and cumin, it tastes even better the next day.