My relationship with food is so strong that I end up eating in only three places…
here, there and everywhere.
Married to a Punjabi…settled in Delhi and spending a major chunk of my childhood and teens in Bhubaneswar, I crave and eat both the cuisine with similar vengeance as if there is no tomorrow! My yearly visit to Odisha has a special food checklist which I make sure I gorge on without missing a single dish! It is a mix of “Maa ke haath ka banaya khana” plus some Odia specials that I will not find in any part of the food universe.
It deeply saddens me that Oriya food and delicacies are hardly talked about in any food or cookery show. There are so many things these chefs need to learn from the East. The Planet Social lists down 7 Oriya dishes that is a must try!
1. Kankada Tarkari (Crab Curry)
The very thought of eating crabs makes my stomach rumble and the way it is cooked in an Oriya household will actually make you hungry. The day it is cooked, the aroma of the crab soaked gravy lingers in the air and makes me run to the kitchen to get a whiff of it. All I do that day is wait for lunch hours. In a typical Oriya household it is served with piping hot white rice. I can easily have 4 helpings of this crab curry anyday!
2. Dahi Vada & Aloo Dum
This again is a very typical Odia combination. People in North might just laugh at it. But baby you got to try this to believe it! It is a very famous street food and to get the most awesome Dahi Vada Aloo Dum , you must visit Cuttack. I am not a fan of the combo either but I make it a point to try out everytime I am in Odisha. What I like the most is my mum’s special ‘Dahi Vada’. the freshly made Vada soaked in curd with the strong flavour of mustard seeds and curry leaves on the top is irresistible. This is actually a part of my breakfast when I am home.
Famous for their sweet tooth, people from Odisha can have sweets in every freakin meal! Malpua is another delicacy which I enjoy savouring. This is also served to Lord Jagannath in his Sakala Dhupa (Morning Food).You will find variations of this sweet dish in different parts of India but the one in the East tastes the best. Drowned in sugar syrup the soft and delicious taste of this sweet pancake is just perfect to indulge in. Prepared in a batter of coconut, crushed ripe bananas, flour with milk or water and seasoned with cardamoms deep fried and served with loads of love.
4. Kakara Pitha
When you are in Odisha, all you do id indulge, idulge and indulge. This is yet another favorite, lip smacking dish from the Oriya kitchen. The English name could be stuffed Indian version of pancake made with rawa, coconut and milk. While everyone craves for the stuffed coconut pitha ; what I gorge on are the ones without the coconut filling. I even pack them and bring them with me to Delhi.
5. Dahi Kadi
North Indians’ staple food, Kadhi Chawal has another version in the East which is called Dahi Kadi. While you will find crispy besan pakoda floating in the Kadhi in North, the Odia special Dahi Kadhi will have okhra and pumpkin and even drumstick for that matter. The distinct flavour of besan and curd gravy can be relished with hot steamed rice. This culinary affair is magical when my mum cooks it for me when I am home. The red pumpkin gives a unique sweet flavour to the kadi and I enjoy having it on my plate if it is a vegetarian day!
6. Gupchup (Glogappa)
Well, if you have had this spicy street food in Odisha you will hate the ones you get here in Delhi or other parts of India. Gupchup or as you call it here Golgappas or poochka have to be spicy filled with nice chatpata tamarind water with the flavour of pudina. I was shocked to see Dilliwalas enjoying it sweet saunth water. Goodness!!! To tell you the truth I hate the golgappas that Delhi serves. It is a farce in the name of gogappa. Once you have the irresistible spicy tangy and unhygienic gupchup in Odisha…you will just die and reach heaven!
7. Kancha Macha Besara (Fish Spicy Mustard gravy)
If you are an odia, you have this insane love for fish and sea food. Well out of all the fish recipes, I just love Macha Besara – Besara basically refers to the mustard gravy that also serves as a base for many vegetarian preparations. Ideally, Macha Besara is made with Illisi macha and is more popularly known as “Illisi Macha Besara”. The sharp taste of mustard and the softness of raw illisi fish is a beautiful combination as the distinct taste gives you a mouth watering experience. I crave for this dish a lot so any Oriya family can adopt me to fee this here in Delhi!