Odia cuisine: Backbone of Indian Culture

"Orissa cuisines are uncomplicated, ingredient-driven, flavoured but not over spiced," says Ashis Rout, Executive Chef, Swissotel Kolkata

"Orissa cuisines are uncomplicated, ingredient-driven, flavoured but not over spiced," said  Ashis Rout, Executive Chef, Swissotel Kolkata in the fourth BW Hotelier F&B Conclave and Expo 2018 held at Andaz Aerocity.

In one of the sessions titled ‘Focus on Orissa, Cuisine of the Gods.’ the panellists were Ajay Sahoo, Indian Master Chef, Diya, Leela Gurugram; Ashis Rout, Executive Chef, Swissotel Kolkata; Madhulika Dash Oriya Food Expert and Deboo Patnaik, Founder, Dalma chain of Restaurants.

The moderator began the session by asking the panellists about the origin of Orissa cuisines. Dash was quick to state that these cuisines are 15-20000 years old. She further elaborated that any Pan Asian cuisine or cuisine on the side of Bangladesh is Odiya cuisine. Adding to this Patnaik said, "Orissa cuisine is mostly considered synonymous to Temple cuisine among which the Jagannath and Bhubaneshwar temple cuisines are the popular ones. Elaborating on the method of cooking food in Puri temples he added, “The food is cooked in earthen pots. A total of 10 pots are placed on the fire on top of each other wherein the top one is cooked first and the bottom one is cooked last.” He pointed that an interesting aspect of Oriya cuisines is that it hardly has any spices or oil. It was Rout who talked about two types of cuisines, one being the non-vegetarian cuisine and the other being the temple cuisine.

Cuttack and Puri were the two states which according to the panel represented Orissa food and it was Brahmins in these regions who travelled outside Orissa and took these cuisines to different parts of India. They further added that there wasn’t any Oriya restaurant in the world till the year 2000. However, one of the panellists asserted that situations are changing now which is clearly evident by the coming up of Orissa Bhawan at Dwarka. He also stated that these cuisines use all kinds of vegetables which are available in the market.

During the course of the discussion, an interesting question about the ability of today’s women to cook traditional food was raised. One of the panellists sadly stated that this generation can’t cook traditional foods like the previous generations.

The session was concluded by Rout who said, “From one square to another square in Puri you find something special. Every corner in Puri has some particular stores which offer best variety of food.”

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