Indian Food Tradition: Authored by Sangitika Patra Shendre (Cuttack, Odisha)

We speak to lots of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents about the Indian food tradition and some stories are simply nostalgic. All stories are special for us. They are raw, unfiltered, peculiarly nostalgic, and explain the contrast between traditional lifestyle/eating patterns and modern-day lifestyle/eating patterns in the most basic yet beautiful way. If you are a parent and this story took you down the memory lane, share with your friends and family.

Hello everyone, I am Sangitika patra shendre, born and brought up in an Odia family. My father belongs to Jajpur in Odisha and my mother belongs to Cuttack a beautiful city surrounded by rivers. But my grandparents from both sides, my nanaji and my dadaji both were serving in the railways in Bondhamunda (known for Asia’s biggest railway ward)near Rourkela (Odisha), so my maximum childhood time of summer vacation we spent in Bondhamunda. 

So when it comes to Indian food tradition, I can say Odisha has a lot of variety in food, and diversity in every district or borders.

Like we used to have these many varieties of breakfast: Suji upma, Dahibara(dahiwada), Aludum(small single potato curry), Chuda santula( includes sometime banana or mangoes), Bara(vada), Ghuguni(dry green peas curry), Chakuli pitha(plain dosa), Alu tarkari(potato curry). My dadi and nani both use to make all these dishes very delicious😋�.

People also ask: What is the traditional food of Orissa?

What is Odia food?

A typical Odia meal will comprise rice, dal, a vegetable dish or two, something fried, and a fish curry or even meat. There’s a lot of similarity between Odia and Bengali food – the two cuisines in fact use pretty much the same kind of spices and ingredients, but in the end they are quite distinct. However, unless you’re used to both the cuisines, you may not even be able to tell the difference. Mustard oil, besara (mustard seeds pounded with garlic), panch phutana (panch phoron) are three important ingredients in Odisha, with even curd being an occasional feature. Having said that, the cuisine has been influenced by its borders as well, with Andhra Pradesh adding its Telugu touches, and chillies and curry leaves, and tamarind, making an appearance in some of the dishes. The food in this Odisha-Andhra border in fact is high on the spice factor. And you’ll see the influence vividly if you make a trip to Berhampur during the festival of Pongal. And while coastal Odisha loves its fish, the cuisine is replete with vegetarian, and sattvik food, thanks to the Jagannath temple in Puri.

Rice is a staple in Odisha, with vegetables such as potatoes, yam, pumpkin, brinjal, ash gourd, drumstick, banana flower and stem, finding their way into different dishes. Then again there are some of the unusual ones, which are rarely talked about. Take the Hendua (from western Odisha) for example, dried bamboo shoot that is used to make pickle, or even a curry with ladies finger, panch phutana, mustard paste, tomatoes, and chillies. It’s a heady combination of aroma and flavour, with both trying to outdo each other. Then there is the famous dalma, a dish that the cuisine is most commonly known for. The dalma is a preparation where daal and vegetables are cooked together, and usually eaten with rice. One can use moong dal, toor dal, or even chana dal. Some of the vegetables added include yellow pumpkin, raw banana, brinjal, and raw papaya. The panch phutana is an important ingredient in the dalma, as are dry red chillies, ginger (chopped) turmeric, roasted cumin seeds, and some ghee. A simple and quick preparation, the dalma actually has plenty of variations, and the better the vegetables, the better the end result.

Meat is definitely important in an Odia meal, especially if it’s a special one. What’s quite curious is that in general a mutton curry is referred to as mansha tarkari, where tarkari is curry. A standard mutton curry recipe will include potatoes, garlic, onions, ginger, garam masala, whole black pepper and cardamom, cinnamon, and a pinch of sugar. Additionally, the mutton is marinated in turmeric, curd, and red chili powder. The dish is cooked in mustard oil. It takes a while to make this one.

The Dahi Baigana where slices of brinjal are first fried and then cooked in a curd based gravy too is a delicious preparation. 

The khechidi (or khichdi) is a very important dish in Odia cuisine. It’s served at the Jagannath Puri temple, and while that recipe is extremely simple (using only moong dal, rice, heeng, and basic ingredients such as salt, turmeric, dried bay leaf, cinnamon), there are other variations where one could add vegetables such as cauliflower florets, peas, and potatoes. It’s not only healthy, but tasty too.

Santula, One of the main food dishes of Odisha, Santula is a classic Odia delicacy that you can slurp and slurp even more on your trip. Made with raw papaya, brinjal, and tomato, the dish has more greens and fewer spices, thereby having all the makings for a healthy dish.

One can’t end an Odia meal without something sweet, and one of the most famous dishes to have out of that cuisine is the chhena poda (literally meaning burnt cheese). Cooked with chhena (curdled milk) the dessert can be either baked or even cooked in a pressure cooker. It requires some sooji (semolina), refined flour, and lots of sugar (to caramelize, and to sweeten). Some people also add some dry fruits such as pistachios, and cashew nuts, to add texture. A little bit of green cardamom (crushed) adds a lovely fragrance to the dish too. And ofcourse rice kheer is also a very important dish of Odisha.

From bhajas (fried food), dal, tarkari (vegetable preparations), to fish and meat curries – there are plenty of dishes in the cuisine experiment with. Odia food has its lovely nuances, a sense of rusticity that hasn’t withered with time, and that will always make it special.

So like this I grew up with traditional food of Odisha. Hope u all enjoyed reading my story, many more things are there to pen, but for now this is it.

Indian food tradition (Chhena Poda)
With my kids

Thanks to Iyurved for giving us this opportunity of sharing our different culture of food. I truly believe that nowadays children do not get the kind of nutrition and food that we used to get in childhood. It is great that Iyurved is making such nutritious food products for kids. This is the need of the hour.

I tried the chocolate spread. The taste is great but more than taste I like the ingredients and no preservative concept, Awesome, keep up the good work. 🙏🙏Jai jagannath 🙏🙏



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