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Chhenapoda Day to be celebrated on April 11, Know more about it

Bhubaneswar: For Odia people, sweet craving ends with a piece of popular Chhennapoda which has given Odisha an identity for desserts.

Originated in Nayagarh, the sweet dish will be celebrated as Bishwa Chhenapoda Diwas on April 11, the day on which its creator Sudarsan Sahu was born.

The district administration in Nayagarh has decided to celebrate ‘Bishwa Chhenapoda Diwas’ on April 11. Collector Rabindra Nath Sahu have instructed all the government offices in the district to mark the day by cutting Chhenapoda at 11 am in the presence of employees and common people.

The offices have been asked to upload the photos of the celebration to the WhatsApp group ‘Team Nayagarh’.

Chhenapoda is made with cottage cheese (chhena), sugar, and semolina, and is baked for several hours in Indian Chullah until it browns.

In 2022, the members of Nayagarh Vikash Mancha celebrated Chhenapoda Diwas on April 11 in Nayagarh for the first time. It was a small-scale event last year, however, this year the organisation has decided to celebrate the day in a mega way with events in Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh.

“We observed Chhenapoda Diwas in 2022 in Nayagarh only. However, this year decided to do a campaign to mark April 11 as Biswa Chhenapoda Diwas. We are happy that Nayagarh administration accepted the proposal,” shared Subrat Kumar Nayak, a member of Nayagarh Vikash Mancha.

Overwhelmed with the decision of the district authorities, Suman Sahu son of Sudarsan Sahu said, “We are really happy that the district administration has decided to celebrate Chhenapoda Diwas on my father’s birth anniversary who created the popular sweet of Odisha.”

Sudarsan Sahu migrated to Nayagarh in 1947 and set up a hotel in Daspalla. One day he experimented with leftover cheese which later become a favourite delicacy of Odisha.

Sharing about the invention of Chhenapoda, Suman said, “In those days there was no fridge to store. One day a good amount of chhena was left, he didn’t want to waste them so he added rice flour and sugar in it and left them to bake overnight in chhula. The next day he gave his experiment for the taste to his father (my grandfather). He liked it but it was a bit hard. So my father made some changes and instead of rice flour he added semolina which resulted in a soft and tasty chhenapoda.”

Suman who used to help his father in the shop during his childhood days had seen his father working hard to promote his sweet creation. “People would often line up to purchase his chhenapoda. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Biju Patnaik everyone loved his Chhenapoda and praised him for his invention,” he shared.

However, Suman and his family members are not happy with the quality of chennpoda available in the market now. “After it became famous, others also started making the sweet dish. Those who learned from my father maintained the quality, while others never bother to use the ingredients in the right quantity. Even the quality of chhena is not the same anymore. Dissatisfied with this my father stopped making chhenapoda.”

Sudarsan Sahu died in 2016. Suman Sahu and his other siblings are into other businesses now.

Suman hopes that people would understand the value of chennapoda in Odisha culinary history and serve authentic chhenapoda to people.

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