7th November, 2019
This Sunday I took a plunge to cook up an extensive Odia meal for few food dignitaries I’ve known for years and now friends with, so wore the chef cap and tighten my belt because the responsibility was huge. This is my small step towards creating a buzz about our Odia heritage and culture through our food. Everything had to be perfect, from the ingredients to the process of making the dishes, and then presenting it in a rustic way.
I started the preparation from Saturday night and it was fun, my mother shared so many small stories while cooking and teaching me small tricks here and there. It was great to hear her first time experiences of cooking those dishes, she told me about the mistakes and how to recover from one if you make it. I’m sure this was one of the best times i had with my mom after a long time. We connect more when we cook. As somebody said : Like mom, like daughter. I want to thank my mom Saudamini Jagaty officially here, without whom I might not have done it at all.
Now coming to the dishes, each and everyone of the dishes were homemade (except rasagulla which was brought by my friend ipsi). The recipes were shared by my mom. Few of the dishes I learnt for the first time and was scared if it didn’t turn up ok. But at the end it was all good.
Welcome drink :
KANJI, it is a drink made of fermented rice water cooked with radish, brinjal, pumpkin and okra and tempered with punch photon, garlic and curry leaves. It’s a healthy drink, great for upset stomach.
Lets now dig into the mains directly :
Offered the meal in earthen pots and plated on Khali patra also known as Patravali.
Started off with :
Sada Bhata/Plain rice and Kanika which is also known as Mitha polau along with Dalma.
DALMA, which is a traditional Odia dish made with dal accompanied with some vegetables like raw banana, brinjal, radish, arum, pumpkin and many other vegetables. It’s also served as a part of Chhappan bhog to lord Jagannath.
KALARA PITHOU BHAJA, this was the crowd favorite, sliced bitter gourd fried with rice batter, which had paste of garlic, dried red chilli and cumin.
NADIYA BARA TARKARI, it’s my grandmother’s favourite dish, deep fried coconut and rice dumplings dipped in a mild gravy made with poppy seeds and cumin. I particularly love this one because everytime its made, I love to pop the hot vadas when they are fried.
MANGSA JHOLO, also called mutton curry, if it’s Sunday, it has to be mutton curry in most of the Odia families. Any festivity is kinda incomplete without it. We Odias are particularly proud of our mutton curry, specially the mati handi version.
MANGSA MAHURA, this is a unique mutton dish from Odisha, even i made it for the first time. Had tasted only once when my mom made it. Particularly loved it because it’s so rustic and an old recipe. Mutton cooked with desi pariba (indian vegetables) like raw banana, yam, pointed gourd and arum and special Mahura masala and prepared in desi ghee.
MACHHAW MASALA, this is again an everyday fish masala we Odias love to eat, Bhakura machhaw also known as Catla fish is the staple in most Odia household, made with onion and tomato paste with little bit of cumin.
BANDHAKOBI TARKARI, this is completely a dish made in pujas, birthdays, marriages and parties in Odia household. I think an Odia meal is incomplete without it. Cabbage cooked with green pea and potato in onion- ginger-garlic based masala.
BANDHAKOBI MACHHAW MUNDA CHHENCHADA, made another version on cabbage, with head of Big Catla/bhakura fish. My dad’s personal favourite.
MANJAA RAI, this mustard paste delicacy is loved unanimously in our family, the Banana stem called manjaa in Odia is tough to cut, takes an art to handle but great in taste.
MANJAA CHINGUDI RAI, this one is my personal favourite. The shrimps are added and it take the dish to a different level.
CHHATU PATRA PODO, mushrooms also known as chhatu in odia is mixed with mustard, cumin and poppy seeds paste, wrapped in banana leaves and then charred over flames, it can be roasted or grilled over a tawa at low flame.
CHINGUDI PATRA PODO, this is one of my favourite dishes in odia cuisine. The smokey flavour of the mustard and poppy seeds is really great, what adds that nutty taste is the coconut paste.
OOU KHATTA, this was the house favorite. It’s a sweet and tangy chutney/khatta made with elephant apple. Procured the elephant apple from Odisha for this one. The scrapped coconut part is my favourite thing in this dish.
AMBULA RAI, this again was loved by all and me too. This was my first experience of making it with maa. It’s a raita made by adding sun dried raw mango to curd along with mustard paste, coconut and sugar. Trust me it’s totally addictive.
LEUTIA SAAGA AAU BADI BHAJA, greens are always an important part of any meal in Odisha. This in particular is the Amaranth spined leaves fried with special dal vadis and chena badam(peanuts) with garlic tadka.
After that spread, it was time for some Odia desserts. We have this saying, let’s savour some MEETHA aau PITHA.
MAGAJA LADDOO, I just love this laddoo, it’s a part of the Jagannath Prasad in Puri Temple. I made it for the first time in my life and completely had so much fun while making it, literally turned into a Halwaai mode. It’s made with atta and desi ghee.
PODO PITHA, in Odisha we have different pithas for different seasons. Podo pitha is the pitha made during Rajaw festival. It’s a rice cake made with addition of little urad dal, coconut, Nadiya guda pagaw ( coconut and jaggery mixture) and loads of cashews and raisins.
CHHUNCHI PATRA PITHA, this is pitha which is extremely tasty when eaten hot, looks easy to prepare but difficult to handle, the rice batter has to be very liquidy and has to be made very fast. I stuffed it with coconut jaggery mixture but if you want Savory version you can also add aloo masala.
RASAGULLA, this was brought by my bestie ipsita.
I want to thank each and everyone who came home to experience our Odia heritage with us. It was completely worth all the hard work when I saw all the happy faces and stuffed bellies.
Finally, I want to thank my entire family for supporting me in this, especially my mom Saudamini Jagaty without whom I couldn’t have done it.