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"Pakhal" redirects here. For the 2013 film, see Pakhal (film).
Pakhala, badi-potala-alu bhaja.jpg
Pakhaḷa seasoned with Curry leaves, cumin and fried chili peppers along with Alu-Potala bhaja and Badi bhaja
Type Garama (hot) pakhaḷa , Jira (cumin) Pakhaḷa, Basi (stale) pakhaḷa
Place of origin
Region or state
Serving temperature
Hot and cold
Main ingredients
Cooked rice
Cookbook:Pakhaḷa  Pakhaḷa
Pakhaḷa with curd,lemon and sauted in cumin
Dahi pakhala (Curd pakhala)

Pakhaḷa (Oriya: ପଖାଳ, Devnagari:पखाळ) is an Oriya 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 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. A traditional Oriya 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.


The term Pakhaḷa is derived from Pali word pakhaḷiba (Oriya: 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 Dasa in his literary work Kaḷpalata (1520-1530 AD).[2]

The summer is here and we all swear by the raging sun. Everyone keeps on looking for some relief from the heat in terms of shelter and food too. None wants to go out in the scorching heat to get his or her work done until unless it is important. The side of a cooling fan, cooler or air conditioner is more than welcome. Similarly as far as daily lunch is concerned people look out in vain for some preparation that is cool yet fulfilling. The state of Orissa is an amazing place to live in and so is its palate during the summers. To beat the heat the Oriya Gharni or housewife cooks up a delicious meal that is known as Pakhala as rice is cooked and cooled in a bowl with full of plain water. This beautiful recipe is added into the Prasad of Lord Shri Jagannath of Puri. Besides Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also have this lovely dish in their food habit. 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 March 20 is celebrated as Pakhala Dibas or day. Let’s have a clear look into the recipe of this beautiful dish.

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.

Be it poor or rich everyone opts for this lovely palette to beat the heat of summers in Orissa and this meal is a super cooler when people drink the water or Torani of Pakhala. It’s a great weapon to fight back dehydration due to heavy sweating in summer. Try it to have a gala time during your lunch hour.


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.[2]


  • Jeera Pakhaḷa
Jeera Pakhaḷa is made by adding fried cumin with curry leaves with Pakhaḷa.[3][4][5]
  • Dahi Pakhaḷa
This is made by adding Curd with pakhaḷa.[6] Badi Chura is taken as a side dish with Pakhala.
  • Garama Pakhaḷa (Hot Pakhaḷa)
This is generally made by adding water instantly after making rice or with warm rice.
  • Basi pakhaḷa (Basi in Oriya means "stale")
This is made by fermenting rice by adding water which is generally kept overnight and eaten in the next day.


Traditional way of preparing Pakhaḷa: Pakhaḷa 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). 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[edit]

March 20 is declared Pakhala Dibas (Universal Pakhala Day) by Oriyas worldwide.[citation needed] In a move to promote odia food, people of Odisha decided to celebrate march 20 as Pakhala Divas. Everyone decided to eat Pakhala on 20th march to welcome this summer with odishas traditional food.


  1. ^ J. Tharu, Lalita, Susie, Ke (1993). Women Writing in India: The twentieth century. Vol II. Feminist Press. p. 688. ISBN 9781558610293. 
  2. ^ a b Panda, Shishir Kumar (1991). Medieval Orissa: a socio-economic study. Mittal Publications. p. 152. ISBN 9788170992615. 
  3. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  4. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  5. ^ Jeera Pakhala
  6. ^ Dahi Pakhala

External links[edit]