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habisha dalma

Dalma: The Queen of Odia Cuisine, Affordable and Delicious

Thought, texture and taste, are the three components of a delicious cuisine. When a perspective of health is added, it turns out to be a bonus. Odisha, a state as famous as for its rich culture and tradition, is also well known for its offering of several appetizing food items. Over 50 dishes alone are consumed as Prasad in front of Lord Jagannath. The foods of Odisha are welcoming around the globe from ancient times.

Such a delectable odia cuisine, called Dalma, has a separate and distinct place as a food item in itself. Prepared from fresh and vitamin filled vegetables, with various sizzling ingredients, Dalma offers a fanciful smell. Rich in proteins as Dal is the prime ingredient of the dish, salivates the hunger. From being served as one of the cuisines of Lord Jagannath to being served on the plates of every odia family, Dalma has its unique taste and health benefits. 


The preparation of Dalma is simple. The ingredients used in the preparation of the delicious dish are easily available. The preparation of Dalma starts with a cut on the vegetables. Washed thoroughly, all the vegetables are cut into small or medium size pieces. 

The primary task is to fry the moong dal (other dals can be used) as moong has its own taste. 

courtesy thetasteofindia.com, Pinterest

A few cups of water is left to boil in a kadhai (pot)  or a deep pan. Add the dal to it along with slight turmeric powder and the vegetables and salt to the taste, the thing is cooked for some minutes. 

Oil is heated in another pan. Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaves and dry chilies along with the onion slices, are fried till golden brown, to sizzle the Dalma a little bit. 

Now the boiled dal and vegetable mixture is added to it slowly. The above is cooked for 5 minutes on a low flame. Finally, cumin and chili powder is added to it. 

A Simple Dish 

Dalma is the most consumed food item in Odisha. The reason being its simple making process as well as the health benefits. Dal( lentils) is a rich source of protein. Various dals such as Moong, Harada (Urad), Masoor can be used for the preparation of dalma. The prime part, the vegetables like pumpkin, green papaya, raw banana, brinjal make it so delicious. Sometimes, coconut is used to add taste. 

A perfect medley of lentils and vegetables, dalma is an epitome of taste and flavour. As it is made of dal, the name dalma is obvious and every household in Odisha prepares dalma almost everyday. Addition of veggies with dal and a perfect sizzling makes the authentic indian vegetarian dish, Dalma.

Habisha Dalma

The month of Kartika is so auspicious for the people of Odisha, that most people don’t eat non-vegetarian food in the month. A special type of Dalma, called Habisha Dalma is prepared without the use of onion, garlic or any spices, but just out of dal, veggies. This one is a traditional dish from Odisha, eaten by widows for the whole month of Karthika. Habisha Dalma is known for its authentic taste and health benefits. 

Habisha Dalma
Habisha Dalma (courtesy Whatscooingtoday.bogspot.com)

Those who keep fasting this month are not allowed to eat onions or any spices. So, Habisha Dalma is a good source of protein for their diet. This also serves as a special dish when prepared in any household. 

Affordable and Delicious 

As a state of tradition and culture, Odisha has several unique delicacies. Most of the dishes of Odisha use less spices and a lot of vitamin aided ingredients. The most affordable and tasteful dish, Dalma can be served with rice, roti or paratha. Arua rice ( sun dried rice) is one of the best combinations with dalma. In any public gathering or temple function, dalma is prepared as it can be served to as many people. In the Chhapan Bhoga of Lord Jagannath, Dalma is served as one of the cuisines. Because of its affordability and deliciousness, we termed it as the ‘queen’ of Odia cuisines. 

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