To celebrate one of the most popular sweet and succulent dishes of the State, ‘Chhenapoda Dibasa’ is being observed across Odisha today.
The anniversary of the sweet dish is celebrated on April 11 every year which is the birth anniversary of its creator Sudarshan Sahu.
In a bid to popularise and honour the delicious dessert, noted for its usual lingering taste, across the globe, ‘Chhenapoda Dibasa’ has been celebrated across the State since 2022. Voluntary organisation Helping Hand started the initiative last year.
“The main objective of our organisation is social work. However, we had decided last year that we will popularise ‘Chhenapoda’, which has originated from Nayagarh, across the globe by celebrating ‘Chhenapoda Dibasa’,” said Chinmay Kumar Mohapatra, a member of Helping Hand.
Making Chhena Poda is very easy and simple. One cannot go wrong when making this delicious cheese cake. That is the hallmark of this sweet dish.
Chhenapoda was created by Sudarshan out of sheer improvisation. He wanted a way to use the leftover Chhena or cottage cheese, which was getting bad overnight and added to his loss in business. So he devised a plan and baked the leftover cottage cheese in an earthen stove (Chullah) after mixing it with sugar. As the outcome was tasty, Sudarshan did not stop there and experimented by adding cardamom powder, cashews and raisins in the dough. Thus the delicious and mouthwatering Chhenapoda came into being. Though Sudarshan is popularly known as the creator of Chhenapoda, some others say that his father Bidyadhar is the original creator of the delicious dish.
“From our father’s hand-written diary we came to know that he is the creator of Chhenapoda,” said Sudarshan’s son Suman Sahu.
Chhenapoda prepared in Nayagarh has earned a huge reputation across the country. Quintals of well-known sweetmeat and the star dessert among Odia sweet foods are sent to various parts of the State and country from here. Apart from the State, there is also a huge demand for the delicious dish across the country. Even former Prime Ministers, current President Droupadi Murmu and several Bollywood actors have spoken highly about the delicacy.
The popularity and demand of the dish are growing across the globe with each passing day. The dessert has helped Nayagarh earn a distinct identity on the world map. Nayagarh district administration has already applied for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag of Chhenapoda.
“There is no dispute from any state or area about the GI tag of Chhenapoda so far. However, we have to prove it historically that the delicacy has been created from Nayagarh,” said Nayagarh Collector Rabindra Nath Sahu.
Meanwhile, Nayagarh MLA Arun Sahoo has also met Union MSME Minister and demanded to accord Chhanapoda the GI tag.
“The origin of Chhenapoda is Nayagarh. Everybody knows that Sudarshan is the creator of the delicacy. Application has been submitted seeking GI tag for the delicious dish. There is every possibility that Nayagarh will get the GI tag for Chhenapoda,” said Sahoo.
Moreover, with several organisations intensifying their demands for providing GI tag to Chhenapoda, the initiative has gathered momentum.