Rashmi Rekha Das

Since Diwali is around the corner, what is better than celebrating this festival of lights with delectable signature pithas of Odisha that you can easily make at home? It’s that time of the year when every household across the nation is adorned with beautiful lamps and artwork. It is impossible to think of this festival of happiness and harmony without mentioning some indulgent delicacies that have been a quintessential part of our culinary culture.

Talking about the food, the festival of Diwali is incomplete without sweets. Apart from sweets, there exists a diversity of snacks that are traditionally prepared during this festive season. Let’s have a look at some authentic pithas made during Diwali.

Chhena Poda


• Chena or Paneer - 2cups

• Sugar - ¾ cup (150 grams)

• Semolina - 3 tbsp (40 grams)

• Ghee - 2 tbsp

• Raisins - ¼ cup

• Cashews - ¼ cup

• Cardamoms – 4

How to prepare

In a baking pan with some chopped banana leaves. Grease the banana leaves with some ghee. Then take the 250 grams of fresh chenna and crumble it very well. Then add ½ cup sugar. You can also use ½ cup jaggery powder instead of sugar. Then continue to mash and knead the paneer or chenna like the way you would knead chapati dough. Once you get a batter-like consistency in the paneer mixture, then add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and ½ tablespoon rice flour. Some chopped dry fruits like cashews, almonds and raisins can also be added. Bake chhena poda till the top crust gets a dark golden color. Serve chhena poda as dessert after meals or as a sweet snack.

Poda Pitha


• 150 gm black gram without skin

• 300 gm chaula rice

• 1 tsp cardamom powder

• 1 tsp black pepper powder

• 1 tbsp chopped ginger

• 10-15 fried cashews

• Grated coconut jiggery

• salt to taste

• ghee

• 5-6 sliced coconuts pieces

How to cook

Soak the black gram & rice separately for 4 hours. Blend the black gram with water in a blender and transfer it to a bowl add this to a bowl with some water to form a smooth batter. Blend the rice separately with some water into a coarse mixture. Add 1 tsp cardamom powder, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp chopped ginger, 10-15 fried cashew, ½ cup grated coconut, ½ cup jaggery, a pinch of salt, and water and mix well. Grease a baking tin with ghee. Pour in the fermented batter. Top it with 5-6 sliced coconut pieces and fried cashew nuts. Bake the podu pitha at 165 degrees Celsius for 60 minutes in a preheated oven. Demold the podo pitha on a plate. Serve it once cooled.



For the Covering

• 1/2 Cup Fine Rava, Semolina

• 3 tbsp Sugar

• 1 tsp Ghee Vegans can use oil

• 1 Cup Water

• 1/2 tsp Salt

For Stuffing

• 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Coconut

• 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder

• 1/4 Cup Sugar

• 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder

How to prepare

Traditional sweet recipe from Odia Cuisine, Sooji Kakara Pitha is a deep fried Semolina/Sooji dumpling stuffed with sweet coconut filling. Fresh coconut with jaggery and nuts and raisins (optional) is used for filling. The dumplings are then deep-fried till golden brown.

Input: Pritisha Das,(Food Author)