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PAKHALA-A Regional Food from Odisha

Sudha madhuri dash is a published author of many novels. Along with photography she loves horse riding and practices odissi dance.

Ingredients to make the Pakhala (rice water)

for cooking the pakhala:

  • 2 cups rice, brown unpolished
  • 5 cups water, to cook
  • 4 cups curd, thick and creamy
  • 1 teaspoon salt, brown salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, unrefined
  • 100 gms corriander, finely chopped
  • 4 Nos green chilies, finely chopped
  • 4 Nos dry red chilies, whole
  • 2 Nos large red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons white salt
  • 2 Nos lemon leaves, crushed

what is pakhala or torani?

It is a preparation that is consumed during summer, although many people eat it throughout the year, especially for lunch. It is popular among the public as it provides a refreshing food source during the hot climate and replenishes the nutrients in the body. A traditional Odia dish, it is prepared with rice, curd, cucumber, cumin seeds, fried onions and mint leaves. It is popularly served with dry roasted vegetables—such as potato, brinjal, badi and saga bhaja or fried fish

Does fermented rice have probiotics?
Traditional fermented food products such as fermented rice are known to possess probiotic potential. Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide a myriad of health benefits. Despite the associated health benefits, fermented rice has not received due attention. Eating pakhala is an art by itself. One has to balance out the soft smooth and tiny taste of the fermented rice water with the fiery bite of the chillies and the acidic onions. The fish fry, brinjal bharat, potato mash adds to the taste

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

10 min

25 min

serves a family of four



  1. clean the brown rice. wash well and leave it to drain.
  2. bring the water to a boil in the pan, then add the rice. check the rice once soft it is done.
  3. once the rice is cooked leave it to cool. do not drain out excess water, now add five cups of water to it and allow it to stand overnight. cover the pan with a lid and then use a clean towel to cover the whole pan. this helps in fermentation.
  4. the next morning check the rice. it will have a sweet alcoholic smell, now add curd to it and mix well. then add salt and sugar to your taste. before serving in bowls add chopped onion, coriander, and green chilies. the dry chilies are slightly roasted in an oven or open fire and then added as a garnish or flavoring.
  5. the pakhala is eaten along with fried fritters like egg plant, potatoes, fish fry,

Benefits of eating pakhala bhata ( water rice)

Why is Pakhala bhata famous in Odisha?' Pakhala Bhata' is popular among the Odia's because of the typical climate of Odisha. Its use brings some relief from the usually hot climate in the summer season. It is the cooked rice which is partially fermented in water.

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Is Pakhala good for health?
These are the source of energy and have anti-viral properties, The “pakhala/torani” may influence fetal growth and improve a pregnant mothers health ( a belief in my village) pregnancy. It also helps in ensuring better maternal health and nutritional status. This food and drink can help prevent malnutrition, in villages this the preferred lunch for all.

Pakhala Bhata(water rice) is the daily lunch for almost every household in Odisha during summers. It is prepared by soaking cooked rice in water. Typically left overnight known as Basi Pakhala (fermented rice), and often served with potatoes, fried fish, papad, Saga bhaja and Badi choora, it is best eaten during summers as it has cooling properties. The overnight soaking leads to slight fermentation, so the dish is rich in probiotics and good for gastrointestinal health. Can I eat fermented rice daily? The healthy bacteria helps bowel movement and since it also acts as a natural laxative, it is good for those suffering from constipation. The potassium present in fermented rice lowers blood pressure. The magnesium and selenium present in fermented brown rice strengthen bones.


A comfort food

In the villages where luxuries are a few. hard working people have few comforts. but coming home from a days hard labor in the fields the farmer often looks forward to his pakhala bhata. that not only cools his body and soul but acts a comfort food for his tired limbs and soothes his aching limbs

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 sudha madhuri dash

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