Friday, August 17, 2007

Orissa: Food & Images

Last month we spent a couple of days visiting Puri and Bhuvaneshwar in Orissa.
In addition to sightseeing, sampling the local cuisine were the only things on our agenda. OK, the local food part was only on my agenda.
While the first part was a total success (more on that later), I was unable to sample anything local.
We stayed in a very lovely resort. It was very well done, rooms were spacious, had it's own private beach etc.
But the restaurant menu was quite disappointing. It had the typical run of the mill, national integration type menu. It had everything: idli-dosa-naan-kulcha-paneer tikka-chole-avial-macher jhol-gobi manchurian. You know what I mean?
"What about any Odiya specialties?", I asked the waiter.
"Sorry we don't carry any.".
What really annoyed was that he wasn't even apologetic about it.
Since we were there for two short days, didn't get a chance to hunt out the local foods. So the second part of my agenda was a total flop show!

Since I wasn't able to bring back a book on Oriya cuisine, I was glad Swapna provided several pointers.
Using these resources I prepared Tomato-Khajur Khatta and Jhanni Posta.

The khatta was wonderful, tomato and dates made a wonderful combination. Though it wasn't too sweet, next time I'll skip the jaggery and maybe add more chillies. Will it still be an Oriya-style khatta?
The real surprise was the posta; it is such a tasty and minimalistic dish. In retrospect I shouldn't have been been so surprised as the other well known version of the posta, the alu-posto, is a favourite Bengali comfort food.

Here is our Odiya thali. In the background is an ikat stole bought in Puri.

Here are some pictures taken in Orissa.
The Rath carrying Lord Jagannath, Balaram, and Subhadra, waiting to enter the Jagannath Puri temple. The atmosphere outside the temple was drenched in bhakti rasa. We passed several folks standing there facing the Rath, singing aloud, tears rolling down their cheeks.

One of the twelve wheels, each of which works as a sun dial.

The entrance to the temple.

This is my entry for Regional Cuisines of India: Oriya Food, hosted by Swapna. This incredible food blog event is Lakshmi's idea.
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