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Students rustle up Odia flavours

- Ethnic delights get novel touch ahead of Kartik Purnima

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 25: Appetising flavours of Odisha ruled the campus of DAV Public School, Pokhariput, here on Saturday afternoon as a group of students rustled up a range of traditional dishes ahead of the holy Kartik Purnima.

With the help of their mothers and grandmothers, around 40 students of Class VII presented an impressive line-up of their culinary creations that reflected the rich and varied cuisine of the state. Apart from a host of country cakes such as manda, aarisa, kakara, chakuli, enduri and poda pitha, the menu included typical Odia dishes such as rice, kanika, dalma, santula, besara, mahura, manja rai, ghaanta, khajuri khatta, dahi baigana and a host of fish preparations.

Desserts such as chhena poda, rasabali, rasgulla and different types of kheer were also part of the lavish platter. Some of the participants even tossed the original recipes with an exotic spin. “My mother and I decided to do a bit of experimentation by garnishing the dishes in a novel way. For example, I served the rasabali sweet with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream topped with cherries and pistachios,” said Pratyasha, a participant.

Another participant, Sandhya Panda, who presented three different types of country cakes, said no Odia festival was complete without pithas. “I learnt so many different processes of making them. While enduri is made by wrapping it with turmeric leaf, poda pitha is prepared by covering it with banana leaf and cooking over charcoal fire. It is really an art that has to be passed on from generation to generation,” she said.

Stress was also laid on the health aspects of Odia food.

“This traditional food festival is an attempt to revive our regional flavours which are rarely made in Odia homes these days. We were amazed to see how much effort the students and their mothers put in to come up with such delectable food items,” said Sakti Prasanna Mohanty, a teacher of the school who teaches Hindi.

“Today’s generation prefers fast food and quick bites. So, we wanted to raise awareness about our unique food items, and try to wean the young generation off fast food, which is unhealthy,” he added.

Chefs from the city-based Swosti Premium judged the food festival. Anusuya Burman, who had prepared kheer from date palm jaggery, was adjudged the winner.