Pakhala Divas, observed on March 20th, celebrates the popularity of Odisha’s staple food, which has remained a favorite despite the rise of fast-food items such as pizzas and burgers. The event, which began in 2015, was established by Odias to promote their traditional cuisine worldwide.
What is Pakhala?
Pakhaḷa is a traditional Odia cuisine made from cooked rice that is washed or lightly fermented in water. The liquid portion of the dish is known as Toraṇi. It is popular not only in Odisha but also in neighboring states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Assam, and Tripura.
History of Pakhala:
It is uncertain when Pakhala was first included in the daily diet of Eastern India, but it was a part of the recipe of Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri around the 10th century. The first introduction of Pakhala appears to have occurred in Odisha. A special day, March 20th, is celebrated as Pakhala Dibasa in Odisha every year. The term Pakhala was used in the Odia poems of Arjuna Das in his literary work Kalpalata (1520-1530 AD).
Classification of Pakhala:
Pakhala has different types classified by their preparation methods, including Saja Pakhaḷa (fresh Pakhaḷa), Basi Pakhaḷa (stale Pakhaḷa), Jira Pakhaḷa, Dahi Pakhaḷa, Garama pakhala, Paani Pakhala, Ada Pakhala, Sugandhi Pakhala or Subasa Pakhala, and Chhena Pakhala.
Why is Pakhala so popular?
Pakhala is a simple yet delicious dish made from rice soaked in water and left to ferment overnight, giving it a slightly sour taste that is enhanced by various condiments such as chopped onions, green chilies, and roasted cumin seeds. Its popularity is due to its refreshing taste, cultural significance, and health benefits.
Pakhala is not only a traditional dish in Odisha but has also gained popularity in other parts of the country, where it is served in many restaurants and food chains. It is a preferred choice for those seeking healthy and tasty food options due to its probiotic content, which aids digestion and promotes gut health, increased nutrient content, and easily digestible carbohydrates that provide energy to the body.
Pakhala’s popularity has also led to the celebration of Pakhala Divas, which is an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their culture and traditions. It is not just about celebrating a dish but also about celebrating the rich heritage of Odisha. As Pakhala continues to grow in popularity, it is set to become a part of the national culinary heritage.
Pakhala Divas is an excellent opportunity for people to strengthen their bond of brotherhood and unity by sharing their stories and experiences while celebrating their culture and traditions. With its delicious taste and health benefits, Pakhala is sure to continue to gain popularity, becoming a symbol of the national culinary heritage.