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5 Odia dishes and drinks you must try

Every State has those unique recipes they are proud of. Like Punjab have their makke ki roti and sarson ka saag, Karnataka have their ragi ball meals and Tamilnadu have their rasam. These dishes or drinks or whatever it is can only be found in their states. These food items make people actually Travel from different places to try out on their own. And the states are like We invented this.

So, Odisha have these dishes and drink that they are proud of:

1. Bela Pana drink (wood apple drink)
 One of the exclusive odia drinks you can find in Summer is bella pana which is made of beal also called wood Apple. It is a seasonal fruit you can find during the summers. Best part of this is the fact We have a day to celebrate the new harvest While drinking this bella pana all day. It is made by extracting the juice from the fruit and additional toppings and ingredients which are totally optional according to a person's choices. Some of the ingredients like pepper and chilli powder, white and black salt, jaggery, chenna (wet cottage cheese, puffed rice, some fruits like Apple and promogannet is also added in the drinks. It isn't grinded but just stirred together to let the texture of the ingredients be felt in the mouth and let the explosion of flavour take over your body. It's like a drink and eats kind of a drink.
2. Panasa bara (Ripen jackfruit fritters) 

It's more of a sweet and salty kind of fritters made of ripe jackfruit. Again, it's a dish that has the seasonal fruits which is Mostly found in summer days. Most people like to eat it raw like any other fruit. We enjoy these as light snacks or tea. Alos the fruity taste made it easier to eat during Summer when fritters are not the kind of food you will like in summer but these are the best. We also joke about having these as the kalbaisakhi (blossoming rain) arrives with " let have some bara in the rain ". It is made by taking the fleshy part of the jackfruits and mashed with some rice flour with jaggery and salt. Condiments are optional. When all the ingredients are mixed together, they are shaped into small balls and deep fried or even shallow fried in hot oil till they turn crisply brown on the outside.
3. Dahibara

The Odia people literally start salivating the moment They hear " dahibara". Even though it's an all-season food, it is mostly enjoyed during summers. Odia people can make it at home by themselves or just go out and find a dahibara wala standing under a tree. Later one is the most preferred option. Well, this is exactly a layered dosh. There are different layers to it. It is started off by placing some shallow fried rice donuts which are soaked in crud water mixed with all spices like chilli and pepper Powder, black salt etc. They come with a layer of potato curry on Top of it. Then Again, a thin layer of dry white peas curry.  Then it's topped with onions, green chillies and coriander leaves finely chopped with peppermint chutney and crud. Little black salt sprinkled on the top. Sounds complicated? I know but it's very easy and all the effort just tastes yummy!
4. Pokhalo

We get a lot of talk about how unhygienic this dish can be but you all have to Listen. I AM SORRY IF YOU DON'T WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU EAT BECAUSE WE DO! so, it's not a problem. Plus, it satisfies our souls. Basically, it's rice in water which is topped with raw spices fried in oil. With lemon and salt mixed in too. Usually leftover rice is used in it to give it a pungent taste but you can make it with fresh rice too. It has many sides like sun dried lentils, garlic fritters cursed into powder, all kinds of seasonal fried or roasted veggies, fried fish is Mostly preferred but you can have dry curry chicken or mutton too. Also, toppings like raw onions and chills constitute the whole dish. It's a full course meal. Plus, you can drink the water too. It tastes like a spicy yogurt drink. The role of water in this dish is that when the rice is soaked in the water. Rice takes in some of the flavour of water into it. Making the rice have a distinct taste to it. You eat it by taking some rice out of the water and eat it with different side dishes for experiencing the dkf deni flavour and texture in one meal. Since, the dish is such a wholesome meal the sleep that follows will directly take you to heaven.
5. Chhenna poda (brunt cottage cheese)

If we see parallel to a sweet dish then all I can say is this is a crossover of cheesecake but burnt to a level it's edible but these days they even make roasted versions of it. If it is made of soft cottage cheese (chhenna) soaked in the sugar syrup and left the whole thing caramelized in the oven. In old times and some places still make it in a wooden stove or women give it a little bit of woody taste. The woody taste is not that prominent over the sweetness but you can still taste it at the back of your tongue. It tastes good. And the burnt taste makes it better than ever. Again, it's not totally burnt. The top layers are caramelized but the sides are the only brunt that gives it a Smokey taste. All the woody and smokey taste just tops the sweet cottage cheese making it into a masterpiece itself. It is a must try!
These are some of the dishes you can make at home and also must be tired when you visit Odisha. Maybe you can also just bother the only odia person you know to the point that they actually carry it all the way from Odisha when they come back from their homes or ask them to make it for you. That's what my friends do.
No matter what tactics you use to eat these on day. I hope you enjoy and like it.

- Durgesh Nandini Naik


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