Wednesday 25 May 2016

Chhenapoda - Uncommon Food

The state of Odisha in India boasts of many unique dishes. Chhenapoda is such an uncommon food that interests the foodie in me. 
In Odia language, Chhena means ‘cottage cheese’ and Poda means ‘burnt’. Chhenapoda literally means ‘burnt cheese’. When one thinks of home-made soft cottage cheese, one can never think such an uncommon dish can be prepared out of it, unless one has tasted Chhenapoda and the other similar uncommon foods. While Chhenapoda is available in many places in Odisha, it is yet to have a national presence and identity unlike the Rasagola that was born in Odisha too and has links with Lord Jagannath, Maa Lakshmi & the Puri Temple, but is very famous both in India and abroad.

Chhenapoda looks like a soft, caramelized pudding or cake with brownish black covering. Don’t go by its burnt looks as it tastes divine. It was first created in the twentieth century by inventors Bidyadhar Sahu and his son Sudarshan Sahu in Nayagarh, Odisha. Their experiment, to put the excess chhena to use, worked. It became popular as many places in Odisha followed their recipe and process. It is baked with coal. These days, Chhenapoda is even prepared at homes by using the modern gadgets- microwave, oven & pressure-cooker etc.

Ingredients for the Chhenapoda:

For the Chhena or Cottage Cheese:
1.5 Litres milk
Curd, Whey or Lemon juice

For the Chhenapoda:
2 cups Chhena or Cottage Cheese
2 cups Sugar powdered
4 tbsp Semolina/Sooji
4 Cardamoms powdered
1 tbsp Cashew nuts
1 tbsp Raisins
1 tbsp Sugar for Caramel
2 tbsp Ghee

Preparation of Chhena:
Boil milk. When it starts boiling, simmer and add curd, whey, or lemon juice. Milk curdles and Chhena separates. Boil for a minute and switch off the flame. Sieve the Chhena through a strainer. Tie in a dhoti cloth and let the water drain out.
Preparation of Caramel:
Melt Ghee on a low flame, add the sugar and twirl the pan around to spread the Caramel evenly.

Method of Preparation of the Chhenapoda:
Knead the Chhena and Semolina (added to bind the dough.)

Add the Sugar, powdered Cardamom, Raisins & Cashew-nuts to the mashed Chhena. Knead them all together. Place the mixture on the Caramel, and bake. 

This uncommon soft food is the result. 
Slice and serve it hot or cold & eat!

I feel Chhenapoda needs to graduate from being uncommon to being available everywhere. An enhanced shelf-life will help. This traditional cake must be the first choice on birthdays, anniversaries and other such special occasions. With its great taste, Chhenapoda has a great potential to entice all and earn the adulation and fame it deserves.

I went on a trip down the memory lane recollecting uncommon foods thanks to the culinary stars, Vikas & Vir, talking about their #Foodventures. 

Have you ever tried Chhenapoda? Which is the uncommon food that you have experienced? Please share your views in the comments below.


  1. Good information about chenna poda from odisha,the land of many more unique dishes.but birth place of rasogolla is orissa,is still a tussle between WB and odisha,so it is better to avoid such tera mera jagdha choro.

    1. Thanks for stopping by & reading.
      There is much about Odisha that many of us do not know, including existence of such delightful sweets like Chhena Poda & origin of sweets like the Rasagola.
      As per practice, these have been offered to the Lord in the Puri Temple since centuries.
      As per latest evidence & research, the mention of Rasagola exists in the ‘Dandee Ramayana’ composed by Odia poet Balarama Das in the fifteenth century i.e. Rasagola existed in Odisha at least 300 years before Bengal's claims.
      Read this- New evidence on Rasagola's Odisha origins found.

  2. Looks yummy! I am going to try this! Thanks a lot for the recipe, Anita :-)
    Tc, keep smiling :-)

    1. Yes Sindhu! It tastes yummy too :)
      My pleasure! Tc, keep smiling :)

  3. Replies
    1. Indeed Uppalji.
      Hope you have tried it :) You are most welcome to Odisha.

  4. Interesting and a delicious post. Have to try this recipe someday in my kitchen. :)

    1. Sure Meera.
      But, the best are available here in Odisha in the shops. The makers have the practice, thus they are perfect :)

  5. This surely looks interesting... and not so difficult! I am going to try this :)

    1. Glad you liked. Hope you tried to prepare it.
      It will be tough to replicate the original taste though.
      The birthplace of the Chhenapoda is in the Nayagrah district of Odisha.
      Chhenapoda's taste depends on its major ingredient- Chhena and the preparation process.
      Chhenapoda is baked/cooked inside Sal leaves by the traditional method & the burnt/smoky flavour and expertise of the sweet-makers is unmatched.

  6. Looks yummy.. I am sure it tastes yummy too....

    1. Yes, absolutely!
      Do visit Odisha and try such delectable sweets & treats :)


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