India is a diverse country with various cultures co-existing in it, which enables everyone to enjoy what each culture has to offer.
There is always a demand for new foods as there is a large number of food items in our country as well. And this demand is never overwhelming in a country like ours.
From the tandoori dishes of the North to the spicy dishes of the South; From the sweet dishes of the East to the savory dishes of the West, our country has plenty of food to offer.
If you have a sweet tooth but have only tasted Bengali sweets and not Odisha sweets, then you are missing out on many heavenly treats.
When we talk about Odia sweets, what is the first dish that comes to your mind? Juice balls? Legend has it that Lord Jagannath himself prepared this delicacy to woo his wife Maa Lakshmi.
After receiving its GI tag in the Geographical Indications Registry in 2019, Odia Rasgol (also known as Khira Mohana) has been mentioned in a late 15th century book written by Balram Das.
A favorite of Odias everywhere, this sweet treat has been offered to Lord Jagannath for centuries. The rasagolla of Puri, Salepur and Pahala are very famous and yet the rasagolla of each of these places will taste different.
Rasgola first originated in Puri but after adding additional ingredients to it, it evolved into Pahal.
Generally, Odisha sweet is less oily than easy to digest. The rich variety of Odia cuisine is easily discernible in the daily food offered to Lord Jagannath in Puri.
The planet’s most elaborate kitchen area of the Jagannath holy site, the chefs prepare 56 different types of food which are considered as “Chappan Bhog”.
Apart from the main event, Odisha is also famous for its mouth-watering sweets. There are actually different types of sweets that come from Odisha in particular.
Today our experts bring you some popular sugary treats from the land of Jagannath.
1. Chhena Poda
Made from sugar, nuts, raisins and cardamom. Chhena Poda is tender and very appetizing. Chena Poda is believed to have originated in the Nayagarh district of Odisha in the early 20th century.
Rasbali is a deep fried smooth reddish brown cheese patty filled with thick and sweet milk.
Dairy is often lightly spiced with crushed cardamom. Celebrities are flattened into palm measurements so that all of them can easily enter the dairy industry.
Rasbali is actually so smooth that it melts in the oral cavity in a second. Rasbali came from Kendrapada.
It is offered to Lord Balabhadra at Balabhadra holy place in Kendrapada. Baisnabipanda shop in Kendrapada is the best place to get tasty rasabali.
This traditional Odia delightful Rath Yatra (chariot event) is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. Rasgullas are aided by chickpeas cooked in sugar syrup.
Due to the level of popularity of this sweet, the Odisha authorities declared 30th July as Rasgulla Dibasa.
All is well that ends well, they say, and indeed, it proved true in the long-running battle over ‘Rasagola’ between West Bengal and Odisha.
The outcome of the debate over the exquisite sweets turned sweeter for Odisha when the well-known eastern sweet got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Odisha Rasgola is made from cottage cheese and has its own color and texture. Chenna is cooked in sugar syrup to get a soft and juicy consistency. Its unique color is due to caramelized sugar and a different cooking method that makes the mouth water.
The history of the famous eastern sweets dates back to ancient times. It is said and believed that Rasgola holds an important place in Odisha’s heritage and is associated with the world famous Ratha Yatra. It is an old tradition where Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Lord Subhadra offer rasagolla to Goddess Lakshmi to re-enter the temple on the last day of the holy car-festival.
It is a part of the delicious sweet treat that has been offered to Lord Jagannath since eternity. Finally, people of Odisha and Rasgolla lovers are celebrating this much awaited victory after getting the GI tag.
Although, not only rasagolla but desserts, in general, have always been a great part of Odisha’s rich culture.
So, if you happen to visit this beautiful eastern state, don’t forget to try their unique sweets. Now, since we have already discussed a lot, here is a list of the most delicious sweets that you should try during your stay.
4. Chhena Gaza
The trademark sweet of Odisha , it is made by mixing cheese, glucose as well as rava.
It is actually dried but the glucose crystals remain completely on the dry delicious side.
5. Chhena Jhili
This particular delicacy is actually prepared with pan fried cheese, cardamom ghee, grains and sweet syrup.
Chhena jili is essentially a firm deep-fried cottage cheese patty, filled with sugar syrup. It’s really best eaten warm to enjoy the soft, juicy cheesiness against the backdrop of a hint of cardamom.
Nimapada, a small community in Puri area is famous for Chhena Jili.
While visiting Puri from Bhubaneswar you will find various roadside shops in Nimapada which are especially popular for Chhena Jhamba.
6. Kheer Sagar
Kheer Sagar literally translates to Ocean of Milk and it is true. These rasmalais look similar but taste and texture are different.
Small balls of chives are soaked in thick sweet milk flavored with a hint of cardamom and saffron.
7. Cucumber Gaja
Kheera Gaja, is another sinful delight that is popular in all parts of Odisha.
Its main ingredient consists of chickpeas which are fried using ghee and then soaked in sugar syrup.
When you take the first bite, you will notice that these are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Also, it has a moist texture, you will definitely like it
8. Chhena Jelbi
Chena Jalebi is an Odia version of the famous North Indian sweet.
The only difference between the two varieties is that the Odisha jalebi is made using cottage cheese and thus has a softer texture compared to the traditional jalebi.
9. Arisa Pitha
Arisa Pitha is a crunchy sweet delight made using hand-fried rice flour, healthy jaggery and sesame seeds.
This traditional pancake is an integral part of every Odia festival.
Khaja is a part of Lord Jagannath’s rich heritage and food culture.
This sweet dish is broken as sukhila prasad i.e. dry prasad which is one of the chapana bhogs served in Puri temple.
These are deep-fried, crispy, sugar-coated puffs that are usually served as an accompaniment to evening tea.