By Srikanta Mohanty: Generations in India have now grown accustomed to delicacies from West. Pizza, cakes, pastry, and other yummiest in this category are favorites of children. Moreover, in the last two decades, temple city in Odisha has seen mushrooming growth of shops selling such eatables. Young generations celebrate occasions with sips of soft-drink and bites from cake.
“Lighting candles over the top of birthday cake and snuffing those out with strokes of air have become passion of present generation. But we have delicacies in our cuisine, which could beat the taste of anything from west. Let’s take the instance of cake, the fact is hardly anyone knows the households in Odisha used to prepare something more delicious and healthier-Poda pitha”- says Dayanidhi Barik, feeling the pinch of nostalgia of the olden days, when families used to celebrate the occasions with this exquisite item from Odia cuisine.
The basic ingredients like rice, black gram(without outer skin), and finely scrubbed coconut are the compositions with sugar, chopped ginger, small pieces of cashew nut, while finally ghee, salt, and baking powder get added to the combination. The mixture needs at least two hours of self-fermentation. Housewives put a layer of ghee or oil on the inner surface of the pressure-cooker, while placing it in simmer flame on the cooking-gas for an hour. As they open the lead of the cooker and take out the poda pitha, it becomes a special day with celebration as members of the family take delight of pieces of it.
“Guests feel honored when you serve them with Poda Pitha. As such food items are scarcely available in restaurants; the savory pieces just melt within seconds in the mouths of people. Unfortunately, Chinese, Continental, and other dishes have found places in the menu, while we do not find a single such item anywhere in the restaurants of Odisha’-laments Dipti Dash, who has fed this item to her guests, including foreigners.
“Hmm, awesome…..”- the words of appreciation from an American couple gave her biggest satisfaction as she served them with Poda Pitha two years back.