Summer is the season of Odisha’s popular dish Pakhala. This healthy and tasty fermented rice not only keeps you cool but is great for your digestive system. Pakhala comes from Sanskrit word ‘Prakhyala’ meaning ‘to wash with water’. Traditionally, it was prepared by keeping leftover rice in an earthen pot with water and a small amount of curd/lemon. After about eight hours, the rice ferments and turns into Pakhala. People have tried different ways of having this dish by adding a variety of flavours to it.
Odias across the globe celebrate Pakhala Dibas on March 20. Here are some types of Pakhala one can try out on the occasion of Pakhala Dibas.
Basi Pakhala: This basic Pakhala follows the traditional method of preparation. People eat it with Badi-Chura, which is prepared from rice and urad dal. Diced onions and lemon add flavours to this plain Badi and is a perfect side-dish with Pakhala. Saja Pakhala: This one is the fresh Pakhala. Water is added to freshly-cooked rice with drops of lemon in it. This doesn’t need fermentation and doesn’t induce sleep either, which is why people prefer this the most.
Dahi Pakhala: As the name suggests, beaten curd is added to rice along with some water for a refreshing and healthy meal.
Sugandhi Pakhala: Chopped/grated ginger and roasted cumin seeds are added to cooked rice submerged in salty water. This gives an irresistible aroma to the flavoured Pakhala.
Chupuda (squeezed) Pakhala: Similar to what the name means, cooked rice washed in water is squeezed out. It is then served with curd, roasted cumin and salt added to it. Grated ginger is also added by some.
Mitha Pakhala: A very unusual and unpopular variant, Mitha Pakhala is sweet. What makes it unique is adding oranges to cooked rice and water along with roasted cumin.
Various side dishes like Dahi-Baigan, Kakharu Phula Bhaja, mashed potatoes, fried fish/prawns, Sukhua and Saga Bhaja can be best enjoyed with the very tasty and soothing Pakhala