By Shruti Sudeshna
“Odisha Basi Mananti Khusi, Khayi Se Basi Pakhala
Sangare Thaye Badi chura, Saga bhaja o Chingudi Macha Ra Jhola!”
Rice is the staple food of South East Asian Countries and widely consumed in Indian Subcontinent including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. In order to promote the Odia culture ‘The Universal Pakhala Day’ is observed every year on March 20.
Pakhala has derived from Pali word ‘Pakhaliba’ as well as from the Sanskrit word ‘Prakshāḷaṇa’ which means ‘to wash’. The Incredible Odia Cuisine- Pakhala consists of cooked rice washed or mixed with water after little fermentation. The liquid part is known as ‘toraṇi’.
The fermented rice is popularly known as Panta Bhat in Bengal; Poita Bhaat in Assam; Paani Bhaat in Jharkhand; Bore Bhaat in Chattisgarh and Pazhaiya Sadam in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Pakhala has its traces from Lord Jaggannath Temple of Puri.
Pakhala has different varities including ‘Jeera Pakhaḷa’( made by adding fried cumin with curry leaves to pakhala) ‘Dahi Pakhaḷa’ (made by adding curd with pakhaḷa) ‘Garama pakhaḷa’ (made instantly by adding water to rice). ‘Basi (Stale) pakhaḷa’ ( water is added to rice and kept overnight to be consumed the next day). It is also known as basi amana or basyam (literally meaning stale cooked rice). Pakhala is best eaten with badi churaa, macha bhaja, saga bhaja and aloo-baigaan bharta.
Let’s feel proud for being Odia’s and welcome the scorching heat of summer by celebrating Pakhala Dibasa i.e., 20th March of every year.