Cuisine Of Odisha
As would be expected in a State whose fields shimmer with a hundred different shades of green, Odisha produces a great variety of vegetables, most of which are put to excellent use in the local cuisine. Odisha fish, crabs and prawns are famous and you will have ample opportunity to enjoy them in whatever style you choose. There is also a good variety of other fresh sea food. Preparation of Odia dishes is simple and economic. One should have a savoury mouth to enjoy the varieties of food items that Odisha offers.
Paddy being the principal crop of Odisha, Rice is naturally the staple food of the people. Wheat, though not grown in plenty, has the privilege of being the second. Side dishes are prepared from a variety of pulses and vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, gourd, colocasia, cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, papaya, beans, lady’s finger etc and a number of leaf vegetables and roots. Non-vegetarian dishes include fish, mutton, prawn, crab, lobsters. A considerable number take chicken although in many domestic kitchens, especially in rural areas, it is not entertained.
The people of Odisha are neither strictly non-vegetarians nor essentially vegetarians except some orthodox families. Non-vegetarian items are generally not preferred on religious occasions.
Sweets of Odisha include milk preparations like Rasagolla, Rasmalai, Chhenapoda, Khirmohan, Rajbhog, Rabidi, Rasabali, Chhena Jhili, Jilebi, Kalakand etc. Khiri is another dish prepared from rice, suji or semia for festive occasions.
Different types of cakes, popularly known as Pitha like Manda, Kakara, Arisa, Chakuli, podapitha etc are traditional domestic preparations which require much skill.
Tea is a common beverage of modern times while coffee is also popular.Green coconut water and sugar cane juice are refreshing cold drinks. Ripe mangoes, jack fruits, watermelons, bananas etc are among regular local fruits.
A traditional Odia meal, generally spicy, consists of Rice, Dal, vegetable curry, vegetable fry, leaf vegetable, khata (sour dish), chutney, pickle etc. There is also a plate of salad with onion, cucumber, tamato, jinger, lemon or curd. On ceremonial occasions, the number and variety of items increase.
One of the typical dish of Odia is Dalma which is a mix of dal and vegetables. When this is served with rice, many of the items are deleted from the menu.
Another special preparation of the state is the food offered to the gods in the temples which are not only strictly vegetarian but also without onion and garlic. Even some of the vegetables like potato, tomato etc also not allowed.
In the Sri Jagannath temple at Puri, the food offered to the lord is called Mahaprasad,cooked by unique steaming process in earthen pots, kept on above the other. There is an elaborate menu for different occasions. After offering the food to the lord, it made available for sale in the Anand Bazar, the food market, in the premises of the temple. The kitchen of the temple is the largest in the world where about four hundred Supakars(cooks) work on two hundred hearths to feed about ten thousand mouths every day. Such arrangement is also available in temples like Lingaraj & Anantavasudev at Bhubaneswar and many other places.
Odia meal is not served by courses. All the dishes are served at a time after which only eating starts. While the main dish is served on a large plate (thali), other dishes are placed around it in small bowls and plates. Sometimes, especially on festive occasions, the meal is served on banana leaf.
Hotels and restaurants can serve typical Odia dishes on order while there are also some speciality restaurants. However, a traditional meal in traditional style can be best experienced in an Odia home.