10 Must-Try Sweets in Odisha, India

Sweets have always formed an integral part of Indian Cuisine. Considering the different states in the country, you can vouch for a wide variety of sweets (almost 100) to satiate your sweet tooth. The cuisine of each state has it’s unique taste and flavour. Needless to mention, Indian sweets are almost always laden with clarified butter (ghee), sugar or milk solids which makes it difficult to consume a lot. But, it’s definitely worth a try!

Today, we bring before you a list of 10 must-try sweets, most popular in the eastern state of India – Odisha. The people of Odisha have an age-old fascination for sweets, which makes them prepare few of the country’s most delectable and lip-smacking sweets. Whenever you get an opportunity to visit Odisha, please ensure that you never forget to taste these Odia sweets (popularly called “Mitha”). Yes, leaving this beautiful state, without trying its sweets, is a sin.

1) Chhena Poda

The word “Chhena Poda” in Odia, literally means roasted cottage cheese. Considered as the most popular dessert sweet of Odisha, Chhena Poda is also considered as the favourite sweet of Lord Jagannatha. This sweet is specially prepared as an offering during the world-famous car festival at Puri.

This is made with simple ingredients like Indian Cottage cheese (called “Chhena” in Odia), sugar or jaggery, rice flour or semolina, clarified butter, milk and dry fruits. The flavour is enhanced especially by the usage of ‘sal leaves’ traditionally used in Odia kitchens for baking. The modern Odia homes use parchment paper or just grease the sides of the baking pan, to prepare Chhena Poda these days.

Read the full recipe here.

2) Rasabali

This is another lip-smacking sweet of Odisha, which is a must-try on your visit to the state. This popular sweet consists of deep fried, flattened brown patties of chhena (Indian cottage cheese) that are soaked in thickened, sweetened milk (rabri).

The chhena is mostly flattened into palm-sized patties so that they absorb the milk more readily. The thickened milk is also usually lightly seasoned with crushed cardamoms.

Read the full recipe here.

3) Rasagola

Rasagola is a very popular dessert, made from ball-shaped dumplings of china (Indian cottage cheese) and semolina dough, cooked in very light syrup made of sugar. These are kept for a while before serving, so that the syrup is nicely soaked up in the dumplings.

Contrary to the myth regarding a tussle between West Bengal and Odisha about the ownership of this delectable sweet, let me highlight – Odia Rasagolas are different from Bengali Rosogullas.

The Odisha and Bengal variants are different in colour, texture, taste, syrup content and method of manufacturing. So this makes this sweet, a must-try in Odisha for its unique flavour.

Read the authentic Odia recipe here.

4) Chhena Gajaa

Unlike other popular chhena-based Odia desserts (such as rasagola) which are quite famous all over India, the Chhena Gajaa remains largely popular within the state itself.

The ingredients are exactly the same as Rasagola, but the method of preparation is different. The kneaded Chhena is moulded into palm-sized rectangular shapes (gajaas), boiled, and deep fried in oil. The fried gajaas are coated with a sugary syrup before being served. Sometimes, the gajaas are then allowed to dry a little more, in which case the sugar may occasionally crystallize on the surface.

Read the full recipe here.

5) Chhena Jhili

This is a very popular Chheda-based sweet from Nimapada in Odisha.

Interesting fact – The man who was the pioneer of this sweet preparation in Odisha was Aarta Sahoo from the Shyam Sundarpur Village of Nimapada, Puri District, Odisha. The actual recipe is a family secret and is being maintained by the successors of the late Aarta Sahoo.

Read the working recipe here.

6) Malpua

Even though there are many variants of this common Indian dessert, the key ingredient – banana in Odisha’s Malpua makes it unique. It is prepared by crushing bananas, all-purpose flour, milk, green cardamoms, fennel and sugar, and then deep-frying the fritters and putting it in sugary syrups.

Interesting fact – Malpua is one of the items in the Chhapana Bhoga of Lord Jagannath, which is included in the Sanja Dhupa (evening worship) at the Jagannath temple in Puri. If you visit Puri, then you must taste the Malpua Prasad of Lord Jagannath. You can even easily get Malpua in most of the sweet shops in Puri and other areas of Odisha.

Read the full recipe here.

7) Chhena Jalebi

Another variant of the famous ‘Jalebi’ in India, this dessert is chhena-based and prepared by rolling the dough on a flat surface to a rope(neither very thick nor thin). Then the rope is further rolled into a coil and deep-fried.

Read the full recipe here.

8) Kheersagar

Kheer Sagar, most popularly known as Khira Saagar in Odia, literallly means the ocean of milk. These are marble-sized Chenna or Indian Cottage cheese balls soaked in sweetened condensed milk flavoured with saffron and cardamom. Kheer Sagar or Khira Saagar resembles another popular Indian sweet – Rasmalai, but the only difference is the milk base which is thicker in comparison to the famous Rasmalai. 

Read the full recipe here.

9) Khajaa

This is a traditional coastal recipe of Odisha, that is served as a part of “Sukhila Prasad” in Jagannath temple at Puri. This sweet dish is prepared from fewer ingredients, as compared to other sweets in Odisha. These are mostly deep-fried layered fritters, soaked in sugar syrup.

Interesting fact – The Khajas can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 weeks. You can enjoy Khaja, one of the “Chhappan Bhoga” (56 types of food served as Prasad at Jagannath Temple, Puri) to savor its festive taste during tea time or as a dessert option to end a festive meal.

Read the full recipe here.

10) Arisa Pitha

This is a traditional sweet pancake of Odisha, which is basically made of rice flour, kneaded in sugar or jaggery syrup and topped with sesame seeds. Since this Pitha is deep-fried, it is mostly dry and hardened, which makes it possible to preserve Arisa Pitha for about 2-3 weeks.

This dessert is one variant of the many other popular pithas of Odisha.

Read the full recipe here.

The state of Odisha is undoubtedly, one of the most underrated food destinations in the country. If you are on the lookout for a refreshing travel-cum-food experience, Odisha should be your next destination. And any visit to a place is incomplete without tasting the sweetness of the locality. Take some time out and make it a point to try out these delectable sweets of Odisha.

We hope that you find this list handy, on your next visit to Odisha.

Happy Travelling! Happy Eating! 

Read more about Odisha Tourism here.

Do not forget to drop your comments on how you liked this post. 

You can read more of my travel stories at Wander Bird.

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