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An Ode To Odisha

The chefs, cooks and food lovers in the eastern parts of India are known to do amazing things with Mustard Oil. They are masters of the culinary game, having used Mustard Oil as their primary cooking medium for thousands of years. This blog has, on numerous occasions in the past, explored the delights of traditional delicacies from Bengal. In today’s post we will travel to Odisha to explore a fascinating recipe that uses both Mustard Oil and black mustard seeds to create its magical flavour.

The traditional Odia dish that we will be making today is called Chatu Besara – a preparation of mushrooms (Chatu) in a rich, delicious mustard paste (Besara). Typically, this dish is made using locally-grown mushrooms that can be found in both Odisha and Bengal. However, if you don’t have access to fresh mushrooms, you can use the packaged ones that are quite readily available at retail outlets.

Let’s begin by gathering the ingredients that you will require.


  1. Mushrooms (Chatu): 500 grams

  2. Potato: 1, large

  3. Tomato: 1, large

  4. Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoons

  5. Mustard Seeds (Rai): 2 tablespoons

  6. Garlic (Lasun): 5 cloves

  7. Green Chillies: 5

  8. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Half a teaspoon

  9. Red Chilli Powder: Half a teaspoon

  10. Panch Phutan: 1 teaspoon

  11. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 1 tablespoon

  12. Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for preparing two servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.

One of the ingredients mentioned above is panch phutan. This is also called panch phoran and is known to have originated in the eastern part of India thousands of years ago. Panch means five and phutan (or phoran) means spices. Fives types of whole spices are mixed in equal proportions: fenugreek (Methi), nigella (Kalonji), cumin (Jeera), fennel (Saunf) and black mustard (Rai).


Wash the mushrooms and cut them into small pieces.

Wash, peel and cut the potato into small cubes.

Coarsely chop the tomato.

Peel and wash the garlic cloves.

Take two of the green chillies and slit them lengthwise.

Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.

Soak the mustard seeds in water along with the garlic cloves and the three whole green chillies (not the two that you had slit earlier). Let these ingredients soak for around 30 minutes. Then drain the water and grind the mustard seeds, garlic and green chillies into a thick paste.


Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame till the oil reaches its smoking point. Gentle streams of white smoke rising from the surface of the hot oil will indicate that the oil has reached its smoking point. Reduce the flame to Medium.

Fry the potato pieces in the hot oil till they turn light brown in colour. Don’t overdo the potatoes because they will be cooked further in the course of this preparation. Remove the potato pieces from the hot oil and keep aside.

Next, add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté till they are partially done. Remove them from the oil and keep aside.

Add the panch phutan to the pan and sauté till the seeds begin to splutter. Now add the chopped tomato along with the two slit green chillies and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Increase the heat to High and add the partially fried mushrooms to the pan. Sauté for a minute or so.

Next, add the lightly fried potato pieces along with the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder. Stir to mix well, sauté for around two minutes and then reduce the flame to Medium.

Add the mustard paste and continue to sauté for a minute or so. Add salt to taste and mix well. Then add around 100 millilitres of water and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook for another four minutes and then turn the flame off.

Transfer the contents to a serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Odia Chatu Besara is now ready. Serve it hot. This dish is customarily eaten with steaming hot rice.

You can find more recipes at :

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