By Dr Jyoti Prasad Pattnaik, Berhampur: An Odia household is incomplete without the presence of Pakhal. Pakhal or wet rice in water is eaten not only in Odisha but also in some parts of West Bengal, Asam as well as some more Asian countries. Acording to doctors it’s a nutritious food. In the recent past a health journal published from USA had an article on this food and it applauded the consuming of Pakhal. Pakhal has been the most favored food of Odia people from ages. India is a country with hot and humid weather and Odisha is no exception. Every year hundreds of people die due to heatstroke in this part of the country and to lower the impact of heat stroke Pakhal can be the most effective alternative to the daily feeding routine of people.
Odisha is famous for its cultivation tradition and farmers have been consuming Pakhal for times unknown. Every day the residual rice of the night is kept soaked in water or the cooked rice water and is consumed in the following morning, which not only provides food but also the very necessary electrolytes of the body.
Pakhal has many different varieties of preparation, while some people like freshly cooked rice in water some prefer overnight soaked rice. You do not need expertise to prepare pakhal and the most important thing about Pakhal is it does not require many extra dishes with it. People usually like to have fried / burnt Green leafy vegetables, Papad, Pickles, Dried fish, Fish fry etc with Pakhal. Poor people simply take Pakhal with Lemon, salt and spinach.
Most small and medium sized hotels as well as some restaurants in Odisha have started serving Pakhal as a delicacy in their menu. Some star hotel restaurants in the state are also serving pakhal and it is gaining popularity amongst visitors and travelers of the state too.
World weather is changing faster and the global warming has created trouble for people. In such a scenario, the use of Pakhal can be a great help to curb the need for energy as well as satiating food for the day.
Today on the 20th of March, we are glad to celebrating the World Pakhal Day.