Pakhala is an Oriya term for an Indian food consisting of cooked rice fermented in water.The liquid part or the juice is known as turani. It is popular in Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The Bengali name for this dish is Panta Bhat. Eating pakhal has been recommended to prevent heat stroke in hot weather. In its heyday, the Hotel Jagabandhu in Cuttack, Orissa was famous for its Pakhal, attracting customers from around the state. A traditional Oriya dish, it is also prepared with rice, curd, cucumber, fried onions and mint leaves. It is popularly served with roasted vegetables as potato, brinjal, Badi & saga bhaja or fried fish..
It is unknown when "Pakhal" was first included in the daily diet of Eastern India, but it was included in the recipe of Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri. The Jagannath Temple was built in the tenth Century AD, so "Pakhal" was in existence at that time. Pakhal is widely eaten in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent (including Nepal, Bangladesh and some part of Myanmar) among common people. Later the Five Star Hotels of Bhubaneswar included it in their menu and commercialised it to attract the guests, who love to taste Oriental cuisine.
Pakhal in different languages
In Bangladesh and West Bengal, it is known as Panta Bhat or Pani Bhat, in Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand it is called Pakhal, and in Assam it is Poita Bhaat. Historically, pakhal has been the staple food of the poorer people. However, recently upscale restaurants in Orissa have started popularizing this ethnic food as a part of the region's heritage.
Cook rice and allow it to cool (do not freeze).
Fry some cumin seed and grind it to fine powder.
Add curd & fried cumin seed powder,coriander leaves & salt to taste.
Serve it with fish fry and spinach.
Traditional way of preparing Pakhal Pakhal is slightly fermented rice. people cook rice and add water to it along with little bit of old pakhal (something like making curd using milk and old curd). Pakhal tastes best when served after 8 to 12 hrs after preparation. Generally boiled potato and other fried vegetables or fried fish is served with pakhal. Modern day variation is to add curd instead of fermenting it.