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The simple Odia classic – “Chingudi Dahi Besara”/ Steamed yogurt and mustard shrimp curry

Before I begin, I must admit that this post is sure going to have a counter for the word “simple” and might even break the records - the only reason being that this recipe is truly-that-SIMPLE. Being an iconic Odia dish, time and again this preparation would accompany a few more curried dishes on our lunch/dinner table but still manage to hold its place impressively well. Fresh shrimp marinated with yogurt-mustard paste and steamed till the shrimp is melt-in-the-mouth tender does indeed sound like a very good proposition. While “good” shrimp and fish curries are relatively easy to find at the restaurants, rarely have I seen this preparation on any of the restaurant menus here at all and that makes me very sad every time. Time and again my Ma would prepare this shrimp curry and I would be blown away every single time. Honestly I have been craving for this recipe for a long while now and what better opportunity than to learn from the in-home chef a.k.a my Ma when she was visiting me. So

baking soda · chili powder · chilli · cumin · dahi · flour · Indian · lentil · medium · mustard seed · ovo vegetarian · pepper · rice · rice flour · salt · snack · Uncategorized · urad dal · vegetarian · water · yogurt

The quintessential Cuttacki fare – Dahi Vada Aloo Dum aau Guguni Chaat aka “Dahi Bara Aloo Dum”

The name itself conjures up thousands of memories and for anyone who’s everbeen to Cuttack or hails from the same, needs no intro to this legendary street food – Dahi Bara Aloo Dum and Guguni, mostly known as “Dahi Bara Aloo Dum”. But for the uninitiated, this lip-smacking street food is the combination of Dahi Vada topped with aloo dum and guguni (yellow peas curry), served generously garnished with cut onions, coriander leaves and sev. The savory tartness of the dahi vada perfectly complements the spicy aloo dum and guguni and all of it wonderfully comes together with the crunchiness of the onions and the sev. It’s truly a wonder how all three distinctly different dishes with strong flavor character of their own can meld together in this unique, indescribable way. But despite its iconic status within the state, it’s a pity that outside Odisha hardly many people know about it. In my past one year of blogging, I must admit that I have never shared anything as authentic and true to Cutt

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The mighty Vada Pav & the dainty Alu Chop

Even though I haven't quite grown up eating this "burger", very often it makes me wonder as to when and how I grew to like it. Its often true that the enthusiasm of your loved ones rubs off on you, more so when you love to please them and I believe that's exactly what happened here. Mention Vada pav and its almost impossible to miss the look of longing and the irresistible urge in the eyes of Mumbai-ites or more broadly Maharashtrians. What better reason to prepare this delicacy than to satisfy the quench of those Vada Pav thirsty eyes? This very popular, universally-loved street food needs no further introduction. The legend of Vada Pav goes back to mill workers in Mumbai....then known as Bombay. Supposedly, it originated as a quick to-go snack/ meal for people on the run. Slathered with exquisite chutneys, this flavorful burger worked as the perfect on-the-go meal. Quite similar to the burrito or even the original sandwich origin. Any soul who has savored it would know, that you don'

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“Mitha Dali” – Ratha Jatra special – Puri Jagannath Mandira

On the auspicious occasion of Ratha Jatra, I could not help but recollect all the fond melodies and memories associated to this grand festival. I found myself looking for ways to feel closer to home. Warm memories of the occasion swept over me, with the drum beats and jhanja kirtana being so distinct that I could actually feel the reverberation of those beats. For a short introduction, Ratha Jatra is the grandest chariot festival that takes place annually in the mystical coastal city of Puri in Odisha. The three deities- Lord Jagganath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are decked up in their finest adornments as they travel out ceremoniously in their newly built chariots to visit their beloved aunt at Gundicha Mandira about 2 km from their abode at the Sri Mandira. I scoured the internet for any live broadcast of the grand event and was lucky enough to find one. Utter joy swept over me as I saw the three grand chariots with the deities on their way to their beloved aunt’s home. It brought

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Dahi Baigana/ Dahi Baingan – The Eggplant/Brinjal grandeur

My irrational inclination towards Eggplant (Brinjal/ Baigana as its known in my side of the world ) has always baffled quite a few people. Need I say, I adore it! It's meaty texture and distinctive oomph stand out on its own. Be it the simple stir fry a.k.a. bhaja (a generic Odia term for stir fried dishes) or the very subtle Baigana poda usually accompanying our dear Pakhala (a very authentic fermented water rice dish). It's variations are innumerous but no matter what, it does leave behind a cherished food memory. No wonder, that Eggplant Parmigiana is usually the substitute to numerous meat dishes in the Western menu. Makes a lot of sense. All said and done, I agree to the fact that its actually quite easy to mess up this veggie when ignorant of some essentials. Some tricks here n there and we are all set! Out of all the various renditions, one very distinctive preparation is the Dahi Baigana - Fried eggplant and onion marinated with savory yogurt. It's a raita- a yogurt based dish

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“Macha Besara” or Fish in spicy mustard gravy

In days when I crave for some fish, there’s this one tried and tested recipe that always comes to mind. To begin with, I am an ardent fish lover, so anything -in fish, with fish or even on fish and I am in for it, even in its raw form as sushi. Fish, I believe, is one of those delicate pieces of art in the culinary world which demands to be handled with the gentlest of hands. It could be ruined with even a slight overdose of those heavy spices. Every fish has its own unique taste and a best way to make it. Never been a fan of those heavily spiced fish gravies where the delicacy and the tenderness of the fish is lost. Handled beautifully with light spices is what makes any fish curry absolutely finger-licking delicious. Odia cuisine, the one I have grown up with, is known for its simplicity and delicate treatment of food products. Cuttack being on the banks of the River Mahanadi, we always had an access to a lot of fresh riverine fish. Unlike the sea water salty fish, fresh water fish s