Bhubaneswar: She is a culinary comforter, who turns basic ingredients into soothing and carefully-crafted meals while showcasing the rich food culture of Odisha.
Her blog, Oriyarasoi – The cosmopolitan Odia’s kitchen, has been winning hearts through the stomach and it was recently nominated for the Indian Bloggers Awards 2017 in Lifestyle (food) category.
Meet Odisha-born Sweta Biswal, who has been blogging about authentic Odia food since 2009. Her culinary journey began just before her marriage and became a passion with her husband’s love for food. “Initially, I would call up my mother, mother-in-law and other female relatives for recipes. Since Odia cuisine had largely remained undiscovered and there were not many websites on it, I thought of starting a blog of my own,” she said.
The first recipe that she put up was the quintessential ‘dalma‘. “My husband can have dalma, five times a week,” she said smiling.
Currently based in Hyderabad, Sweta slowly touched upon some traditional and authentic recipes of Odisha, giving them a cosmopolitan feel and look. From ghanta, ambula raee to enduri pitha, dahi-bara ghuguni, chuda bhaja and other cuisines integral to Odia festivals, the blog has them all.
“I have posted almost 1000 dishes. The idea is to create simple dishes that one can easily prepare at home. The Odia ones are based on the concept of frugality, cooked with minimal ingredients to bring out maximum flavour,” she expressed.
Since Odia dishes are low in colour, she garnishes them with greens, coconut and dry red chilli before posting them on her blog. “Visual presentation makes a whole lot of difference and the dash of green and red appeals to the senses,” said Sweta, who posts two cuisines every week.
For the ‘Sugar-free Dessert Challenge Finale’ hosted by masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor, she presented her mother’s recipe ‘Green Papaya Laddoos’ and finished third. “Everyone in my family is a good cook. So, I almost inherited it,” she said.
Sweta has also experimented with a few Odia dishes and come up with Baked Malpua Tarts with Creamy Khira, Chuda Ghasa Parfait and Dahi Baigana Panna Cotta. “I owe this to my favourite chef Vikas Khanna and his show ‘Twist of Taste’, where he works around traditional dishes giving them a new look and taste,” she said.