Home Food Guide 20+ Famous Dish of Orissa You Must Try

20+ Famous Dish of Orissa You Must Try

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Odisha, often referred to as the ‘Goa of Eastern India‘, is a state steeped in rich historical and cultural traditions. Its proximity to both North and South India has significantly shaped its culinary landscape, yielding a cuisine that beautifully mingles the flavours and practices of these regions.

This unique culinary blend, known as Odia cuisine, is characterised by its less oily and mildly spiced dishes, which are nevertheless bursting with flavour.

Offering a tasting tour across the eastern coast of India, Odia cuisine is indeed a gastronomic delight that any food enthusiast would love to embark on. Rice, the staple food of Odisha, cooked in a variety of creative ways, yoghurt used in myriad dishes, and sweets crafted from chhena (a type of cheese), mark some of the highlights of this vibrant cuisine.

This blog focuses on such famous local dishes of Odisha, each carrying a unique taste profile and story, waiting to captivate your taste buds and hearts alike.

Most Famous Dish of Orissa to Savour Your Taste Buds

1. Khichdi

Khichdi or khichdi - Orissa food

Khichdi or khichdi – Orissa food

No journey into Odia cuisine can commence without tasting Kitchen, more commonly known as Khichdi in other Indian states.

Khichdi represents a perfect blend of health and taste, combining rice, lentils, and ghee in one hearty meal. In the town of Puri, Khicede holds a profound religious importance, as it serves as the main Bhog (offerings) to Lord Jagannath in the famous Puri Temple.

The combination of rice and lentils, cooked together in ghee, imparts a unique flavour that is bound to delight your palate. Accompanied by a serving of curd and papad, this dish promises not just flavour but also balanced nutrition. With its mild spices and wholesome ingredients, Khicede appeals to people of all age groups and dietary preferences.

The importance of khichdi in Odia cuisine and culture undeniably makes it a must-try dish for anyone exploring the food landscape of Odisha.

Know how to make Khichdi at home here

2. Dalma

Dalma - Odisha cuisine

Dalma – Odisha cuisine

Dalma is a classic representation of Odia cuisine – simple, nutritious, and undeniably delicious. This dish adds a unique twist to the staple food of India – dal, creating a filling meal that is relished across Odisha. Prepared with roasted moong dal without any onion or garlic, it includes a variety of regular spices along with a cup of mixed vegetables that enhance its flavour.

Pumpkin, plantain, yam, and papaya are some of the common vegetables used in traditional Dalma preparations. Aside from enriching the taste of the dish, these ingredients also bring a host of health benefits, making Dalma a strategic choice for a balanced diet. When paired with rice, this finger-licking delicacy is a delight for the taste buds, making Dalma an essential dish to try when exploring the mouthwatering cuisine of Odisha.

3. Kanika

Kanika or sweet pulao recipe

Kanika or sweet pulao recipe

Kanika, a sweet pulao, embodies the simplicity and sophistication of Odia cuisine. This dish previously enjoyed the status of being the favourite of the locals before biryani and fried rice took its place. Nonetheless, its unique blend of ingredients and flavours continues to captivate food lovers. Made with basmati rice, ghee, sugar, and a mix of dry fruits and aromatic spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, Kanika is a fragrant and delicious treat.

Kanika holds a significant place in the ‘Chappan Bhog’ of Lord Jagannath, making it a dish steeped in devotional symbolism.

4. Chungdi Malai

Chungdi Malai Odisha cuisine

Chungdi Malai odisha cuisine

Any discussion on Odia cuisine is incomplete without mention of the state’s love for seafood, and this ardour shines bright in dishes like Chungdi Malai. A mouth-watering creamy prawn curry, Chungdi Malai owes its sumptuous character to the generous use of coconut milk and a delicate array of spices.

The combination of succulent prawns and creamy coconut milk, further enhanced by light and mild spices, creates a distinguished profile that is absolutely delightful to the palate. This seafood delicacy manifests complexity through its richness and smoothness, suggesting the care and expertise that goes into its preparation.

Served with perfectly cooked steamed basmati rice, Chungdi Malai is a gastronomic masterpiece that evokes an unforgettable culinary experience.

5. Pakhala Bhata

Pakhala bhata image - Odisha cuisine

Pakhala bhata image – Odisha cuisine


The traditional favourite dish of almost every Odia household during the hot summer months is the Pakhala Bhata. This dish, prepared by soaking cooked rice in water and sour curd, offers a refreshing respite from the heat. Traditionally left overnight, Pakhala Bhata often accompanies potent sides of fried fish, potatoes, papad, and Badi Choora, enhancing its flavour profile. The resulting fermented rice proves to be a perfect summer meal that refreshes from within.

Its popularity among the locals culminates in the celebration of ‘Pakhala Divas’ or Universal Pakhala Day on 20th March to welcome the summer season with this traditional delicacy. Pakhala Bhata’s simplicity, coupled with its robust flavours, is what makes it popular and loved, reinforcing it as an essential element of Odisha’s cuisine and a must-try for everyone visiting the state.

6. Santula

Santula dish in bowl

Santula dish in bowl

Santula is a low-spice, high-health dish prepared mainly with boiled or fried vegetables. A blend of raw papaya, potato, tomato, and brinjal are the primary ingredients of this dish. Amidst its simplistic preparations, Santula captivates taste buds with its melange of wholesome flavours.

The use of a minimal number of spices and an emphasis on green vegetables bless the dish with a unique taste and an aura of healthfulness.

The mellow character of Santula is a true testament that a dish need not be extravagant or generously garnished to be delicious; a simple yet thoughtful combination of ingredients is sufficient.

Given its health-promoting attributes, Santula has earned recognition as a popular choice in the dietary plans of numerous fitness enthusiasts. It could certainly be part of your meal if you aim to stay true to your commitment to health while exploring the dynamics of Odia cuisine.

Also Read: Exploring the Cuisine of West Bengal

7. Dahi Vada – Aloo Dum

Dahi Vada - Aloo Dum recipe

Dahi Vada – Aloo Dum recipe


Imagine the sheer delight of savouring two delightful street foods together! That’s exactly what you get with Dahi Vada – Aloo Dum, an irresistible culinary pairing typical to Odisha. Locals love and cherish these two separate street food dishes so much that they decided to fuse them into one.

The cooling and tangy Dahi Vadas carefully neutralises the spiciness of Aloo Dum, resulting in a unique medley of flavours that every foodie craves. Early mornings in Odisha are marked by the sight of street vendors setting up their stalls, pots filled with delicious Dahi Vadas and Aloo Dum, ready to satisfy the locals’ morning cravings. So iconic is this dish that it has been dubbed the ‘Vada Pav’ of Cuttack!

The skilful blend of differing tastes and textures in Dahi Vada – Aloo Dum has cemented its place in the hearts and everyday lives of Odia people. Whether you’re a street food lover or a culinary explorer, this dish is not to be missed.

8. Macha Ghanta

Macha Ghanta Odisha food

Macha Ghanta Odisha food

A fish lover’s ecstasy, Macha Ghanta is an enticing delicacy of Odisha that is widely recognized and relished in almost every household. Given Odisha’s long coastlines, it comes as no surprise that fish is an integral part of their traditional cuisine.

The Macha Ghana encapsulates the vibrant spirit of the state’s love for fish cooked in a fulfilling curry of fried fish, served with hot steamed rice and a side salad.

The dish obtains its elaborate richness and characteristic flavours from a concoction of onions, garlicky taste and a blend of regular spices that complement the star ingredient – fish.

What’s fascinating is that during Dussehra, this seductive curry serves as an offering to Goddess Durga, further emphasising its cultural significance. Essentially, Macha Ghanta, with its robust flavours that make your taste buds tingle, is certain to lure you into trying it again and again during your stay in Odisha.

9. Gupchup

Gupchup golgappa in plate

Gupchup golgappa in plate

Gupchup, the Odia version of Panipuri or Puchka, is one of the staples in street food across India. This tiny powerhouse of flavour has a special place in the hearts of people from North to South and East to West. Made of tiny, round hollow puris, stuffed with a filling of chana masala and dunked in tangy jal jeera, this street-food snack needs no introduction.

While it’s usually a snack on the go, Gupchups are often considered comfort food for many, thanks to their lightness and affordability. Interestingly, this staple food is so cherished that various friendly competitions centred on consuming Gupchups are a common sight on Odisha’s lively streets.

No matter who you are or where you’re from, when in Odisha, trying Gupchup is an absolute must!

10. Chhena Poda

Chenna Poda recipe

Chenna Poda recipe

Odisha’s very own cheesecake, Chhena Poda, is one of the state’s prime culinary jewels that promises a sweet retreat with every mouthful. In fact, it’s not just humans who are fond of this dessert; it is also considered to be Lord Jagannath’s favourite sweet, making it a frequent offering at the Puri Temple.

A slice of Chhena Poda delivers an enduring taste of burnt cottage cheese and semolina bathed in sugar syrup, guaranteed to send your taste buds into a thrilling frenzy. This rare dessert takes several painstaking hours of baking until it achieves its signature caramelised exterior, along with an enriched flavour profile owing to its sugar content.

Easily found on every street and corner of Odisha, Chhena Poda’s easy availability and delectable taste make it an absolute must-try for every traveller.

Also Read: Top 10 Indian Cuisines To Try

11. Rasabali

Rasabali sweet dessert in pot

Rasabali sweet dessert in pot

Sweetening the dishes of Odisha further is Rasabali, another beloved dessert that’s made its way to the list of must-try foods. Served as a part of the chappana bhogas in Lord Jagannath temple, this sweet is garnished with cardamoms and soaked in thick, flavour-packed milk. Its origin traces back to the Kendrapara district in Odisha.

Its rich and creamy texture on your tongue will make you understand why Odia’s are incredibly proud of their traditional sweet dishes. The sweetness of the dish contrasts beautifully with the slight bitterness of the cardamom, and the two flavours, combined with the dense milk, create a decadently smooth and rich dessert that is very hard to resist.

12. Chaatu Rai

Chaatu rai vegetable in pot

Chaatu rai vegetable in pot

Chaatu Rai is a traditional Odia dish that combines the flavours of mustard seeds, green chillies, and various vegetables. This dish symbolises the essence of Odia cuisine with its unique blend of spices and textures. Typically served with steamed rice, Chaatu Rai is a popular choice for special occasions and everyday meals alike. The mustard seeds add a distinct flavour to the dish, making it a favourite among those who appreciate the bold flavours of Odisha’s famous dishes.

13. Besara

Besara odisha cuisine

Besara odisha cuisine

Besara is a traditional Odia dish cooked with vegetables and a mustard paste, embodying the flavours of Odisha. This healthy dish is prepared with less oil, making it a nutritious meal for all. The concoction of mustard seeds, turmeric powder, and green chillies gives Besara its unique taste, perfect for any time of the day. In Odisha, Besara holds a special place in the cuisine, being a staple food for many households, especially during special occasions.

14. Pilaf

Pilaf rice in bowl

Pilaf rice in bowl

Pilaf, a fragrant rice dish cooked with spices and often mixed with vegetables or meat, is a staple in Odia cuisine. Known for its aromatic flavours and fluffy texture, pilaf is a popular choice for special occasions or as a wholesome meal any time of the day. Typically made with basmati rice and a blend of spices like turmeric and mustard seeds, pilaf is a delightful addition to any dining experience in Odisha.

15. Chakuli Pitha

Chakuli pitha

Chakuli pitha

Chakuli Pitha is an iconic dish from Odisha that loosely draws parallels with the Dosa of South India. The pancake, which is made using an equal portion of lentils (Urad Dal) and rice, is a staple breakfast fare. The grains (soaked, ground, and fermented over 5 hours) give the dish an easily digestible and highly nutritious composition.

At times, skinless black lentils replace the conventional Urad Daal. Baked to perfection on a griddle or pan with mustard oil, Chakuli Pitha’s distinguishing factor lies in its softness and distinct thickness. This gluten-free speciality tastes wonderful when topped off with Aloo Bhujia, Ghugni or even jaggery. The balance of subtle flavours and fluffy texture makes this hearty pancake a must-try when you visit Odisha.

16. Gaja

Gaja Odisha sweet in bowl

Gaja odisha sweet in bowl

When it comes to sweets, Odisha surely knows how to deliver a winning concoction. Proving this point is Gaja, a delicious sweet dish available in an array of forms ranging from Chhena Gaja, Khasta Gaja, Khira Gaja and more.

The nomenclature of each variant hints at the core ingredient used in its recipe; for instance, ‘Chhena Gaja’ incorporates crumbled curd cheese (Chhena). Formed into rectangular pieces, the Chhena Gaja is fried to golden perfection and soaked in sugar syrup, imparting a delectable sweetness to every bite. This traditional confection, although simple in its making, is sure to delight your taste buds with its unique taste and crispy texture. Satiate your cravings for traditional Indian desserts with the help of Gaja on your next trip to Odisha.

17. Chhena Jhili

Chhena Jhili Odisha sweets

Chhena Jhili Odisha sweets

Another sweet dish that has charmed its way into people’s hearts is the Chhena Jhili, a popular dessert originating from Odisha.

The primary ingredient for this heavenly sweet is curd cheese that’s moist and crumbled (commonly known as Chhena). The recipe includes sugar, ghee (clarified butter), wheat flour, cardamom powder, semolina, curd (optional) and a tiny dash of salt.

A mixture of all these ingredients is formed into small dough balls, deep-fried in oil until they reach a beautiful shade of golden brown, only to be bathed in sugar syrup or Chashni afterwards. This resulting sweet treat is gentle on the bite yet explodes with sweetness, making Chhena Jhili an enticing dessert offering from the state of Odisha.

18. Mudhi Mansa

Mudhi Mansa in a bowl

Mudhi Mansa in a bowl

Coined after the popular phrase ‘mudhi of puffed rice’, Mudhi Mansa is a traditional dish loved by the locals and pilgrims in Odisha. It involves deliciously marinated goat meat cooked in oil along with the choice of spices.

The meat is plunged into gravy made from onions, tomatoes and select spices offering an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Hot and crunchy mudhi or puffed rice accompanies this lip-smacking feast, topped off with freshly cut onions, tomatoes, and fresh coriander leaves to counterbalance the spicy gravies with a bit of freshness. This striking mix of flavours neutralises the spicy meat curry and is a preferred combination, especially by the people of Bhubaneswar.

19. Kadali Manja Rai

close up view of Kadali manja rai in a bowl

close up view of Kadali manja rai in a bowl

Banana stem curry, dubbed as Kadali Manja Rai in Odia, offers a culinary experience like none other. Classified as a nutritious vegetable dish that is ubiquitous to Orissa, the unique ingredients of this dish include banana stems seasoned with flavoursome garlic, cloves, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and two types of red chillies. Stir-frying these ingredients together forms a delightful side dish teeming with subtle flavours that beautifully complement most staple meals. The aroma of stir-fried banana stems and the appealing scent of coriander leaves infuse joy that lasts until the tastefulness of the dish fades away.

20. Aloo Potala Rasa

Aloo Potala Rasa curry in a bowl

Aloo Potala Rasa curry in bowl

A popular curry in Odisha, Aloo Potala Rasa is a special dish cooked with potatoes and pointed gourds. Made with cashew paste or onion/ginger paste, it infuses this splendid delicacy with extra savouriness. The curry also finds a place in the offerings made to God at the Puri Jagannath temple, underscoring its religious and cultural significance. As an integral part of the local cuisine, Aloo Potala Rasa is undoubtedly one of Odisha’s best dishes you should not miss.

21. Chaula Bara

Chaula bhara or rice fritters close up

Chaula bhara or rice fritters close up

Chaula bara is a traditional Odia dish made from soaked rice. It is a popular choice for breakfast or evening snacks. The rice is ground and mixed with spices like green chillies and turmeric powder, then shaped into patties and fried until golden brown. Chaula bara is often served with chutney or aloo dum, delighting the taste buds with its crispy texture and savoury flavours. This dish is a must-try for anyone exploring Odisha’s culinary delights.

Also Read: All about Bhojpuri Cuisine


From creamy prawn curries and hearty lentil dal to decadent sweet dishes, the cuisine of Odisha is truly a testament to the state’s rich cultural history and unique flavour profiles. A visit here will not only introduce you to various historical landmarks and beautiful landscapes of Odisha but also let you embark on a fulfilling gastronomic journey.

To truly unravel the essence of Odisha, one must indulge in its local cuisines, which are as colourful and vibrant as the city itself. So, pack your bags and prepare your taste buds for a culinary exploration of Odisha’s famous foods. Remember, when in Odisha, eat as the Odia’s do.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular sweets in Odisha?

Some of the most adored sweets in Odisha are Chhena Poda, a type of cheesecake that is Lord Jagannath’s favourite, Rasabali, a cardamom-flavoured sweet soaked in milk, and Chhena Jhili, a dessert made from curd cheese. Sweet lovers also find delight in Kanika, a sweet pulao.

Which traditional snacks can be found throughout Odisha?

Traditional Odia snacks like Gupchup (Pani Puri), a tantalising dish with hollow puris filled with tangy chana masala, and Chaula Bara, light crispy balls made from urad dal and rice, are popular street food delicacies found across the state of Odisha.

How do the flavours of Odia cuisine differ from the rest of India?

Odia cuisine tends to use less oil and spices as compared to other Indian cuisines, yet it doesn’t compromise on flavour. With subtly spiced dishes, the use of yoghurt in many curries and sweets based on chhena (cheese), Odia cuisine offers lighter but equally tasty alternatives to the typically spicy Indian food.

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