BREAKING NEWS

This Delicacy has many people from AP crossing the border to enter Odisha!

A dilapidated thatched house at the tiny Labanyapadu village in the foothills of Mahendragiri hill range in Gajapathi district of Odisha — close to Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh — sees at least 200 visitors a day from across the border. But barely 25 of them are lucky to get the coveted prize – Chenna Podu, a traditional dessert.
 
Ganesh Panda, the young chef and proprietor of the nameless-sweet store said: “Of the 25 pieces of Chenna Podu prepared a day, two are sold only to pregnant women. If necessary, I cancel the advance order of the day to provide the dessert to them.”
 
Reason? It’s of high nutritional value for the mothers-to-be.
 
Most preferred
 
Mr. Panda stood there politely rejecting a few dozen orders from customers as far as Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, and nearby areas of Srikakulam district saying the day’s preparation was sold out by the afternoon.
 
“Over 90% of my customers are from Andhra Pradesh. They come all the way in search of Chenna Podu. I see dozens of customers return empty-handed every day, but I cannot prepare more,” Mr. Panda shrugged. Chenna Podu made by Mr. Panda’s family is unique compared to one made elsewhere in Odisha, as claimed by his family.
 
The secret recipe
 
Baked cheese mixed with sugar is soaked for three hours on an earthen plate. Between the baked cheese and the plate are a bunch of leaves (addakakulu in Telugu used for making plates) for their unique flavour and taste, which is then put on burning charcoals. Once well-cooked, the delicacy is served.
 
Distinct taste
  
Elsewhere in Odisha, the preparation methods and soaking time are different. Mr. Panda’s recipe is unique because he uses milk from buffaloes that graze only on the forest greens. That is what gives Mr. Panda’s Podu its distinct taste.
 
Despite the huge and tempting demand, Mr. Panda’s family keeps a cap on production.
 
Saving the family tradition
 
“The price of a piece of Chenna Podu is ₹110. Profit at this price is satisfying, given the toil and sweat we spend on making it. My father Balaram Panda had earned fame with the dessert, and we wish to continue it,” added Mr. Panda.
 
Panda Senior, who was into this trade for over half a century, died four years ago. Labanyakota is now synonymous with Chenna Podu. So are the Pandas.

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