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Title: Pakhala  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Cuisine of Odisha, Vada (food), List of Indian dishes, List of Bangladeshi dishes, Odia Hindu wedding
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Pakhaḷa seasoned with curry leaves, cumin and fried chili peppers along with Alu-Potala bhaja and Badi bhaja
Course Hot pakhaḷa , Jira (cumin) Pakhaḷa, Basi (stale) pakhaḷa
Place of origin India
Region or state Odisha
Serving temperature Hot and cold
Main ingredients Cooked rice
Cookbook: Pakhaḷa(ପଖାଳ) 
This is a typical summer-time Odia cuisine. Watered-rice also known as pakhala along with sabzi (bhaja in Oriya) and a pair of chilled Mango slices. The vegetables in 'Bhaja' may vary. In here, there are Potatoes and Pointed Gourds seasoned with spices. This lunch is often preferred to beat the summer heat in Eastern India.
Odisha pakhala
Dahi pakhala (curd pakhala)
Pakhaḷa with curd, lemon and sautéed in cumin

Pakhaḷa (Odia: ପଖାଳ) 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.[1] It is popular in Odisha, Bengal, Assam and Chhattisgarh. The Bengali name for this dish is Panta Bhat, in Chhattisgarh its called Bore Bhat[2] and in Assam its called Poita Bhat.[3] Eating pakhal has been recommended to prevent heat stroke in hot weather. A traditional Odia dish, it is also prepared with rice, curd, cucumber, Cumin seeds, fried onions and mint leaves. It is popularly served with roasted vegetables—such as potato, brinjal, badi or saga bhaja—or fried fish.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Classifications 3
  • Preparation 4
    • Traditional preparation 4.1
  • Universal Pakhala Day 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The term Pakhaḷa is derived from Pali word pakhaḷiba (Odia: ପଖାଳିବା) as well as Sanskrit word Prakshāḷaṇa (Sanskrit:प्रक्षाळन) which means washed/to wash and it is made by cooling the rice by adding water and keeping the cooked rice in water and curd. The word Pakhaḷa was used in the poems of Arjuna Das in his literary work Kaḷpalata (1520-1530 AD).[4]


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 during circa. 10. Pakhaḷa is eaten in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent (including Nepal, Bangladesh and some parts of Myanmar). Rice being the most cultivated agricultural product is the predominant cause of most of the people to have rice as a staple food.[4]

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. It is known as Panta Bhat in Bengal. The inclusion of Pakhala in daily meal helps in to prevent heat stroke in summer. To promote this food today or 20 March is celebrated as Pakhala Dibas or day.


  • Jeera Pakhaḷa is made by adding fried cumin with curry leaves with Pakhaḷa.[5][6][7]
  • Dahi Pakhaḷa is made by adding Curd with pakhaḷa.[8] Badi Chura is taken as a side dish with Pakhala.
  • Garama Pakhaḷa (Hot Pakhaḷa) is generally made by adding water instantly after making rice or with warm rice.
  • Basi pakhaḷa (Basi in Oriya means "stale") is made by fermenting rice by adding water which is generally kept overnight and eaten in the next day.


The dish is typically prepared with rice that is cooked and allowed to cool. Cook normal rice, then cool it and pour water in a bowl and add rice into it. In a pan heat a pinch of oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chili and fry well. Add this Chunka or Tadka into the Pakhala bowl along with sour curd. One can also add mint leaves and raw salt to enhance the taste. To add more zing to it one may opt for fish fry or Sukhua Poda (dry fish fried), Saga Bhaja, Badi Chura (a regional dish) and much more. Cumin seeds are fried, ground into a fine powder, and then added to curd with coriander leaves and salt. It is sometimes served with a fish fry and spinach.

Traditional preparation

Pakhaḷa is slightly fermented rice. The rice is cooked water is added to it along 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 hrs after preparation. Generally boiled potato and other fried vegetables or fried fish is served with pakhaḷa. Modern day variation is to add curd instead of fermenting it.

Universal Pakhala Day

20 March is declared Pakhala Dibas (Universal Pakhala Day) by Odias worldwide. In a move to promote Odia food, the people of Odisha decided to celebrate 20 March as Pakhala Divas. Everyone decided to eat Pakhala on 20 March to welcome summer season with Odisha's traditional food.

See also


  1. ^ J. Tharu, Lalita, Susie, Ke (1993). Women Writing in India: The twentieth century. Vol II. Feminist Press. p. 688.  
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Panda, Shishir Kumar (1991). Medieval Orissa: a socio-economic study. Mittal Publications. p. 152.  
  5. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  6. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  7. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  8. ^ Dahi Pakhala

External links

  • [1] Universal pakhala divas
  • [2] Oriya Pakhala Dibas
  • [3] A debate on Oriya Pakhaḷa
  • Pakhaḷa bhata
  • Water Rice
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