Compared to other regional Indian cuisines, Odia cuisine uses relatively less oil and is less spicy but of great taste. Rice is the staple food of this region. Mustard oil is used in several dishes as the cooking medium, but ghee is preferred in temples. In old times food was traditionally served on disposable plates made of sal leaves or in Banana leaves.
Odia cooks, particular from the Puri region, were much sought after due to their ability to cook food in accordance to the Hindu scriptures. During the 19th century, many Odia cooks were employed in Bengal and they took several dishes with them. Yoghurt is also used in various dishes. Many sweets of the region are based on Chhena (cheese). The period saw a heavy demand of the Brahmin cooks, leading many Odia cooks to fake their castes.
Pakhala It is a rice dish made by adding water to cooked rice. It may then be allowed to ferment overnight, this is called basi pakhala. The unfermented version is called saja pakhala. It is served with green chillies, onions, yoghurt, badi etc. It is primarily eaten in summer.
Dalma a dish made from dal and vegetables. It is generally made from toor dal and contains chopped vegetables like green papaya, unripe banana, eggplant, pumpkin, gourd etc. It is garnished with turmeric, mustard seeds, and panch phutana. There are several variations of this dish.
Santula A dish finely chopped vegetables which are sauteed with garlic, green chillies, mustard and various spices. It has several variations