Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Charm Of Chandanpur’s Signature Delicacy Named ‘Chuda Kadamba’

With its rich culinary heritage, Odisha is famous for its wide array of mouth-watering delicacies, each of which has a unique and distinct taste and tale of its own. One such dish which comes from Chandanpur, situated near the Pilgrim town of Puri, is ‘Chuda Kadamba’, loved by all Odias known for their sweet tooth and also much appreciated by tourists.


Made of powdered beaten rice, ghee, sugar and coconut, Chuda Kadamba (similar to Chuda Ghasa) can also be made at home but the taste one gets at Chandanpur clearly stands out. A small sleepy town located a few kilometers from Puri, Chandanpur is, in fact, popular for both ‘Chuda Kadamba’ and ‘rabdi’. Often, tourists on their way to Puri or back can be seen relishing a plate of either of the two sweet dishes in this town.


Every day, around seven quintals of ‘Chuda Kadamba’ are sold in the Chandanpur market. Although the shops aren’t very hygienic and the ambience isn’t good either, the delicious taste of it attracts both local customers and tourists. ‘Chuda Kadamba’ is, in fact, considered one of the oldest and traditional delicacies of Odisha and there is also a folklore attached to it.


It is believed that long time back, there used to be a devotee from Chandanpur who used to make this dish and secretly take it to Jagannath Temple to offer it to the Lord. But once he was caught by some priests and taken to the Puri king. There at the king’s palace, he was made to prepare the delicacy in front of everyone. The king found it so ‘pure’ that he allowed the devotee to offer it to Lord Jagannath whenever he wanted to.


Gradually, ‘Chuda Kadamba’ became a popular dish and with rising demand, it was commercialized as well. Currently, a number of shops in Chandanpur are selling this delicacy and over the years, there have been interesting variations to this traditional dish too. While some are serving it with chhena (paneer) and rabdi, others are adding banana to it. But what is most popular in the Chandanpur market today is the combination of ‘Chuda Kadamba’ with dalma!

Gouranga Charan Behera, owner of Hotel Krishna in Chandanpur, tells MCL how they have been serving ‘Chuda Kadamba’ to the locals and tourists for three generations now. “Every day, we sell a minimum of one quintal of ‘Chuda Kadamba’ and in the last few years, we have been serving it along with ‘dalma’. Although after the bypass road, the number of tourists visiting Chandanpur town has come down, it hasn’t completely affected our business because we have a loyal list of customers who relish the taste we offer. While the locals enjoy eating it in the hotel, the tourists and visitors mostly get it packed,” he informs.

Talking and elaborating on the preparation method, cook Nakula Chandra Behera of Hotel Krishna says, “The preparation depends on the quality of all ingredients and the proportions. To begin with, we have to prepare sugar syrup, then semi-grind the ‘chuda’ (beaten rice) and add it to the syrup. It has to be kept that way for an hour. Later, cardamom, coconut and pepper have to be added to that mix. Finally, one has to add the ghee and mix everything well before serving it. Since people prefer ‘Chuda Kadamba’ with dalma, we try to make the latter a bit thick and spicy so that the sweet-spicy combination tantalises the taste buds of our customers.”


And, of course, one can find happy customers almost every day in the market. “We visit Puri almost every six months and therefore make it a point to also visit Chandanpur to relish the authentic taste of ‘Chuda Kadamba’. Besides me, my mother is also very fond of it. And, at times, I also get it packed for one of my uncles, who is a strict vegetarian,” says Binod Saha.