Keonjhar (Orissa), March 25 : Badis, the dried and preserved food items usually fried and consumed as crunchy side-dish or as additives in curries throughout India, have a high demand. Existing as a small-scale industry, it has given employment to thousands of housewives in Orissa.
There was a time when women would prepare Badis only for their homely needs or personal liking. Today, women have chosen Badi-making as source of employment to supplement their family income.
Around 850 families in Orissa's Keonjhar District alone earn their livelihood from Badi making.
Traditionally, the Badis have been prepared by grinding the Udad pulse (split black gram Dal) on a sil-stone. But to produce it for commercial purposes, today machines are used to grind the pulse for the Badi paste.
Today, the Badis prepared in Keonjhar District gaining popularity all over the country and in different parts of the world.
"We are supplying Badis to foreign countries too. The women in the old town of Keonjhar prepare these Badis. These Badis are made of Udad Dal (split black gram Dal) and various types of spices are mixed in it," says shopkeeper Pradumna Patnaik.
Most of the Badis are marketed by Orissa Rural Marketing Services (ORMS) which also facilitates getting advance from banks to the women entreprenuers.
"Every house of Keonjhar district is preparing Badis. It is a part of their culture. For a few years, the people of Keonjhar are commercially preparing the Badis and they are also making it and it helps in their livelihood and promotional activities," said Anant Charan Sahoo, the Chief Executive of, ORMAS in Keonjhar.
"We are also giving them training to value addition of making Badis in Keonjhar District. More than 200 groups are now engaged in Badi activities. Some parts of Keonjhar like Ghatna, Harichandanpur and Sadar block, the groups are engaged in this activity and they are even getting more money out of that Badi activity," he added.
Many varieties Badis that are prepared by mixing Udad dal, pumpkin, almond, cauliflower and various other items and condiments. adi added to enhance the taste of dishes.
"The Badis are very famous in Keonjhar. Badi is such a food item that tastes very good when it is fried with onion and garlic and being eaten with even overnight cooked rice. It also tastes good if it is made with vegetables. The Badis are also used in the marriages and fasts. The food doesn't taste well without Badis. It is such a food item which can be eaten with rice even by roasting it in fire," said Harekrishna Patnaik, a buyer.
Around ten varieties of Badis are offered to the Baldev, the deity of Keonjhar District at Baldev Jew temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. By Sarada Lahangir