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The Cult of Dahibara - Dahibara Aloodum Dibasa (1st of March)

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

1st of March is commemorated as World Dahibara AlooDum Dibasa(also reffered as AlooDum DahiBara Dibasa) by people from Odisha. There are very few culinary masterpieces that enjoy a cult following like that of this delicate delicacy from Odisha. Though it appears evident from its name, there is more to this dish than just a perfect marriage between two standalone delicacies Dum Aloo and Dahi Vada.

What is Dahibara AlooDum?

The ying and yang of this delicacy are Dahibara which is Vada soaked in a thin consistency of curd with spices/buttermilk and AlooDum which is Odia version of Dum Aloo, a thick gravy of slow cooked potatoes. The marriage of these two delicacies happen just before they are served for consumption. The authentic method serving is by making a bowl out of the khalli patra (Bahunia Vahlii leaf), placing few DahiBaras in the bowl and then adding dollops the thick AlooDum gravy. There is also the Guguni(white peas curry) that is added by the spoonfuls however it is the underdog of the story and finally it is garnished with coriander, chopped onions and bhujia sev. The molecular magic that happens when these two are mixed together and the outcome is a delicacy that millions of childhood memories encapsulated in it.

Origins of the Delicacy.

The exact origins are not known however it is believed to have been developed around the Bidanasi area and the Barabati Fort of Cuttack. Ishwar Behara, one of the living legends of this delicacy, who is now in his 70s, states that he learnt his craft of making DahiBara AlooDum from his erstwhile gurus in Bidanasi area. He states that collective memory of the origin of this delicacy dates atleast over a century. There is also a theory that the traders community of Cuttack comprising mostly of Marwaris, Punjabis and Gujrati have both Dahi Vadas and Dum Aloo as a part of their cuisines and legend has it that a Cuttacki accidentally mixed both giving birth to the legendary DahiBara AlooDum. The cultural influence of the various region of Odisha has played a pivotal role in developing the taste of Dahibara AlooDum over many decades. For instance the distinctive taste of Dahibara AlooDum in Cuttack can never be replicated outside the realms of the city however the recipe has travelled throughout that State of Odisha (and beyond) and has evolved to appeal to the taste buds of the region it now resides in.

Why does DahiBara AlooDum have such a cult following ?

This delicacy is an almost perfect meal, it has carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, the vadas are made from lentils which are a rich source of proteins and the curd/yogurt is a source of lactobacillus probiotics. There are a lot spices used like cinnamon, pepper etc which contribute towards its health benefits. Lastly the Dahi paani of the Dahibara are a source of hydration for the people of Odisha during the hot summer months. The twang of the Dahibara and spice of the aloodum are a few contributing factors for Odisha's insatiable desire to consume this delicacy for all 3 meals a day.

Why 1st of March is celebrated as the Dibasa(Diwas)?

By the time the calendar turn to March 1st, the winter bliss has receded and the summer sun is right around the corner. It around this time of the year that the people in Odisha start looking for cuisines which have a cooling effect on mind, body and soul. It is natural for people to gravitate toward curd/yogurt based delcacies for its cooling effect hence DahiBara AlooDum and Pakhala stand out as saviours of the summer heat. The date 1st of March pefectly slotted in as a day that could be chosen to celebrate this delicacy.

How did the Dibasa(Diwas) start ?

Two years after the viral video of AlooDum DahiBara Legends of Cuttack on YouTube when YouTuber JustVish decided to make tribute to celebrate the cult following of this legendary delicacy he reached out to Rohit Srivastava from FoodFindo to capture a story. Brooding over the topic they bounced the idea on their audience asking people if they would be interested in commemorating a DahibaraAloodum Dibasa. The objective was choose that one day in a year where foodies from the world over could come together to celebrate DahiBara AlooDum and thank the legends who have been making this delicacy for decades. With an overwhelming fanfare from the cult following this legendary delicacy, March 1st, 2019 was hence declared as the first ever World DahiBara AlooDum Dibasa.

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