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Home > Cuisine of India > East India > Orissa
Orissa Food

MotichurIn the period from AD 600 to 1200, Orissa used rice, wheat and barley, and the fame of the rice of Kalinga finds mention in Someshwaras Manasollasa. Several figures in the temples of Bhagwati and Mukteshwara hold cakes in their hands made of wheat. In the Great tower of Bhubaneshwara temple , The figure of Ganesha holds a bowl with small round grains, which could perhaps be the sweetmeat now called the motichur.

A rice preparation filled with milk and ghee offered to the Gods was called charu.

Epigraphs describe the rights governing hunting for game and fishing, which means that both must have been prevalent in Orissa. Also frequent references to saundlika, distillers of wine, in the records of the Bhauma-Kara kings point to the prevalence of drinking at least among royalty. Another work, the Shreerambhagavata of Shankaradeva, refers to the popularity of boiled rice covered with water and kept overnight, to be eaten next morning with brinjal curry or fish as an accompaniment (this was also the practice in Bengal at the time). The same work also refers to the used of the sandesh and the laddoo in Orissa.

The rich and verdant land of Orissa offers lush green vegetables and fruits that brim over with beneficial properties and therefore form a large part of Orissan diet. Delicious and sweet smelling rice, drawn from the emerald paddy fields in sun-drenched valleys, find its way in every home of Orissa.

With the religious leanings of the state, meat consumption is relatively low, though most hotels and restaurants gave it on their menus.

What is rich and plentiful is the diverse selection of seafood, with crabs and lobsters steeped in the ever present ingredients of Orissan cuisine-curd (yoghurt) and coconut milk. The curd here is rich and creamy and gives the succulent flesh an additional flavour. It is not only the seafood which is traditionally cooked in curd and coconut milk but also yams, brinjals and pumpkins are liberally used in curd with mustard seeds giving the whole preparation that extra zing.

Small cakes, or `pithas` that are both sweet and savouy are extremely popular in Orissa. Chhenapodapitha, the caramelised custard-like dessert is popular not only with the locals but also with the tourists.

Another traditional must is the tasting of the `Mahaprasad` or the sacred food offered as `Bhog` to Lord Jagannath. Available at the Anand Bazar of the Jagannath Temple, your hotel can help you procure it quite easily. The temple kitchen is believed to be the largest kitchen in the world. Created on a cooking facility which is highly efficent despite its age, 400 `supkars` (cooks) daily to feed over 10,000 people.

Bengal Assam Orissa
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