One of the dishes that the Odia people love is called 'Pakhala'. There seems to be a lot of enquiries on this and strangely very little documentation
1. Lets get the pronunciation right first…Pakhala : ‘Pa’ as in Punjab, ‘Kha’ as in khana, Now the tricky part…’La’-twist ur tongue to ur talabya like u say talabya Sha and try to speak ‘La’.
2. How to prepare:
a. Using single boiled rice: this is not the basmati variety…tho I have never tasted the basmati Pakahla myself…let me try it this weekend. J.
i. Use the rice to cook.
ii. Cool the rice. This is an important step.
iii. Then add water, add a wee bit salt, drop in a few leaves of dhania to get the essence. Water quantity should be such that it covers the entire volume of rice in the container and some more so that the rice stays submerged. U can keep this in regular containers. But keeping this in earthern pot gives it an earthy scent which is very potent and ferments faster.
iv. keep this set overnight only if the temp is around 30 degree celcius… keeping this more will make it very potent and might taste bad as well.
v. Serve it for next day lunch. This Pakhala tastes lovely with very small pieces of ginger and green/ red fresh chillies with salt to taste.
b. Using double boiled rice: This is my fav
i. Follow all the process above…just that this might need around 24 hours for the right taste Vs around 12-18 hours of the above.
ii. Since the size of the rice is bigger, make sure that u keep enuff volume free in the container where u keep overnight.
iii. Serve it for next day lunch. This Pakhala may not go well with very small pieces of ginger and green/ red fresh chillies but with salt to taste, it would be ready for consumption.
3. Side dishes:
a) Alu Bharta - boil potatoes, mash and add salt. After this there are 2 variants - 1 where you just add raw chopped onions and green chillies and have it like that. 2nd where you can also temper with mustard and dry red chillies.
b) You can also have Baingan bharta alongside or simple Baingan fry(cut round) and Alu fry too(cut long).
c) Tomato Poda/Roast tomato - you basically roast the tomato(the country kinds which are more sour) n the stove or in the microwave, mash and temper again with red chillies and mustard, chopped garlic and onions and green chillies.
d) Janhi (Ridge gourd) poda (Roast): Just take a Ridge Gourd and roast it up like a papad over open fire. Smash it over a plate and have with Garlic, onions, salt. Similarly, u can try Lady's Fingers' roast as well.
e) Cucumbers and salad always add to taste
f) Try adding some mixture to the mashed potatoes and improvise
g) I am not sure if u know ‘wadi’. This is made from rice and black grams and must be available in kirana stores…just roast, and eat with pakhala.
h) Try deep fried bitter gourd…this adds to the taste.
i) The Non-vegies can try fish fry, mutton kasha, chicken roast and boiled-egg/plain bhurji.
j) U can try a particular dalma also with pakhala…will teach u this next time J enjoy the siesta…