Progressive Odiya Pakahala Festival

Pakhaḷa is an Odia term for an Indian food consisting of cooked rice washed or little fermented in water. The liquid part is known as toraṇi. It is popular in Odisha, Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu.  In Tamil Nadu it is called Pazhaiya Sadam. The Bengali name for this dish is panta bhat, in Chhattisgarh it’s called bore bhat, in Jharkhand linguistic communities use names like paani bhat, paakhaal or pakhala, and in Assam it’s called poita bhat.

A traditional Odia dish, it is prepared with rice, curd, cucumber, cumin seeds, and mint leaves. It is popularly served with roasted vegetables—such as potato, brinjal, badi and saga bhaja or fried fish.  All we have a different type of presentation and a different pallet to enjoy it.

Chef Micheal brings you the all new experience to enjoy and beat the heat with “Progressive Odiya Pakhala Festival” it would be a all new experience for the Foodies World, with twist and trick all merged together to the traditional food or you may say the staple food of Odisha.  A great Food Magician and a truly Local Chef of our own city and state brings you a mouth-watering and a all new experience for “Pakhala”.  Just book and block your dates to have a feel for the same.

The term “pakhala” is derived from Pali word “pakhaliba” as well as Sanskrit word “Prakshāḷaṇa” which means “washed/to wash.” The word pakhaḷa was used in the Odia poems of Arjuna Das in his literary work Kaḷpalata (1520-1530 AD). March 20 is celebrated as Pakhala Dibasa.

It is unknown when pakhaḷa was first included in the daily diet of Eastern India, but it was included in the recipe of Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri circa 10. Pakhaḷa is eaten in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent (including Nepal and some parts of Myanmar). To beat the heat, this dish is cooked and cooled in a bowl with full of plain water. Odisha, Bengal, Assam, and Chhattisgarh also have this dish in their cuisine. To promote this food, 20 March is celebrated as Pakhala Dibas or day.

Pakhaḷa is slightly fermented rice. The rice is cooked, water is added with little bit of old pakhal (something similar to making curd using milk and old curd). Pakhaḷa tastes best when served after 8 to 12 hours after preparation; in this case, no old pakhal is required to be added to the rice as fermentation usually happens after 6 hours of keeping rice in water.The plane Pakhala tastes a bit sower, but also paste of green chilli, Green Mango and Ginger is added to give the Pakhala a little bit hot and sweet flavour.  Generally burnt potato or aloo poda (boiled is also used) and other fried vegetables or fried fish is served with pakhaḷa. Modern-day variation is to add curd instead of fermenting it.

Summer menu in Odisha is incomplete without the humble pakhala. The temperatures in the capital let most Odia households to happily resort to the cool pakhala as their staple diet. What’s interesting is that this traditional rice dish is now also making its way into the kitchens of top hotels and restaurants across the city. Even non-Odia families are getting inclined towards the ubiquitous pakhala, speaking volumes about its popularity.

A quintessential part of Odia cuisine which can be enjoyed by both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians thanks to the number of side dishes it is accompanied with, pakhala today has been included in the menu cards of leading hotels of Bhubaneswar.