Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s culinary journey has taken him across the world, allowing him to explore and savor a myriad of flavors from different cultures and cuisines. However, it is a humble yet delicious dish from the east Indian state of Odisha that has captured his heart.

During an episode of The Ranveer Show podcast, Khanna revealed his fondness for this popular Cuttack street food. “Odisha cuisine my God, main kaise kisi ko batau ki dahi bara aloo dum ek recipe hai jo maine khaai abhi Odisha mein (“Odisha cuisine my God, how do I tell you that dahi bara aloo dum is a recipe that I tried recently in Odisha),” he said. “It’s like a genius dish.”

He joked with the podcast host about not understanding the bizarre combination of dahi bara and aloo dum, initially. When Khanna saw how the dish was prepared, “I’m like this is not going to work for me.” But, after tasting the dish, his opinion completely changed. “I love this place,” he said.

Cultural significance of dahi bara aloo dum in Odisha’s culinary heritage

Kanikka Malhotra, consultant dietician and certified diabetes educator elaborates, “Dahi bara aloo dum holds a special place in Odisha’s culinary scene for a couple of reasons. Often called thevada pav of Odisha’, dahi bara aloo dum transcends social strata. It’s enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or even for dinner.”

The dish is a delightful combination of textures and tastes. The fluffy lentil fritters (dahi bara) soak in the cool yoghurt dip, providing a contrast to the rich and spicy potato curry (aloo dum). The sweet and tangy elements along with the contrasting temperatures make it a truly special experience,” she adds.

Unique flavors and ingredients of dahi bara aloo dum

Malhotra says, “For someone with a vast culinary repertoire, dahi bara aloo dum‘s appeal lies in its surprising combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors, all achieved with a relatively simple set of ingredients.”

Here’s a breakdown of its unique properties:

Festive offer

Play of Textures: The dish offers a delightful textural contrast. The fluffy and slightly crispy dahi bara soften as they soak in the cool yogurt dip. This stands in stark comparison to the aloo dumwhere the potatoes are cooked until tender but retain a slight bite, enveloped in a rich and flavorful gravy.

Temperature Symphony: The cool and refreshing yogurt dip acts as a counterpoint to the warm aloo dum. This temperature contrast adds another layer of interest to the overall experience, making each bite refreshing and engaging.

Tangy and Savory Fusion: The yogurt dip provides a refreshing tang, while the aloo dum offers a rich and savory taste profile from the blend of spices and tomatoes. This interplay of flavors prevents the dish from becoming monotonous.

Unexpected Ingredients: While lentils, potatoes, and yogurt might seem like common ingredients, their combination in this specific way creates a unique taste experience. The lentils provide a subtle nuttinesswhile the yogurt adds a hint of sourness that complements the warmth of the spices.

Spice Nuance: Odia cuisine is known for its subtle but flavorful spice blends. The aloo dum likely uses a unique combination of spices that might be unfamiliar to someone with a broader culinary background.

Growing recognition and appreciation of regional Indian cuisines

By showcasing a humble Odia street food, Malhotra agrees that Khanna has put a spotlight on regional specialties that might otherwise be overlooked. “Khanna’s endorsement acknowledges the rich heritage and unique flavors of Odia cuisine. This appreciation for regional cooking traditions helps to preserve and promote these culinary gems,” she says.

By bringing dahi bara aloo dum to a wider audience, he has broadened the perception of Indian cuisine beyond just a few well-known dishes.