A unique and culturally diverse state in eastern India, Odisha is still undiscovered by many tourists and foodies. Due to some reason, its cuisine and food hasn’t yet spread across India but it’s definitely not because they lack flavor or taste. Small eateries, sweet shops, restaurants, and stores dot the state and cities, selling some distinctive desserts to tourists and locals. Most of its food is healthy but even so, the state has a distinctive and large menu of desserts and sweet dishes.
If you have a sweet tooth and want to try out local cuisine and flavors, Odisha needs to be on your food trail for its myriad flavors and combinations. Below are 5 mouthwatering desserts from the state of Odisha.
1. Chenna Poda
Locals and residents often refer to Chenna Poda as the Odisha version of a cheesecake. The make this interesting dessert with burnt cottage cheese and sugar syrup. The name literally means ‘Burnt Cheese’. You can enjoy it as is or add cashew nuts, dry fruits, raisins to give an interesting spin. As a bonus, the dessert is also protein-rich thanks to the cottage cheese! Soft, spongy and creamy, the Chenna Poda is available through the state and at stores or bakeries. Or you can make your way to the city of Nayagarh which is the birthplace of this tasty cake.
The most popular and famous sweet of Odisha, Rasabali is a treat enjoyed by every house and family. This dish is made of thick, flavored milk and garnished with cardamoms and devotees traditionally offer it as ‘prasad’ at Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapara. Locals love it so much that it has even made its way to the ‘chappan bhoga’ (56 dishes) offered in prayer at the Lord Jagannath Temple. This reddish looking dessert is easily available through the state. Tourists can find the best version in Kendrapara.
There are very few Indians who haven’t tasted or heard about Rassogolla. Like the spelling, its origins are also in dispute as Odisha locals argue the syrupy sweet originated in their state while Bengalis have staked their claim over it long ago. Slightly different from the Bengali version, cooks often caramelize this sweet in sugary syrup. In Odisha, you’ll find them to be brown instead of the Bengali white ones. Take a can of these delicacies back home and let them savor this sweet dessert
A dessert trail in Odisha will be incomplete without tasting this dry, crispy sweet. Another gem among the ‘chappan bhoga’ served to Lord Jagannath, this flaky pastry like sweet is widely popular from temple bhandars to street stalls and even stores. You can take this sugar coated biscuit home if you wish as it can be easily stored for months. Khaja is also offered in rituals and is a part of ‘bhara’ (the tradition of giving sweets to the groom’s family by the bride’s family). Housewives, chefs and local cooks will make this dessert with flour, sugar, ghee and cardamoms.
5. Kora Khai
A caramelized mix of things, this sweet is bound to leave your taste buds asking for more. Considered traditional Odiya food, Kora Khai is dry and sweet. The recipe suggests combining cinnamon, cardamom, puffed rice and caramelizing with sugar, jaggery, coconut, and cashew. Tourists will find that the texture often resembles a chiki (toffee). The widely available dessert is most popular and eaten in Bhubaneshwar.
That’s our list of must-haves, must eat desserts found all over the rich state of Odisha. Like the culturally diverse state, the sweets are varied in flavors. You can choose between dry, syrupy, crunchy and crisp all kinds of sweets and desserts. Or you can just pack some tempting desserts for friends and family to enjoy back home!
Featured Photo by BOMBMAN