KENDRAPARA: Pakhala or fermented rice, a traditional summer delicacy, is savoured by the poor and rich alike and is lapped up at homes and hotels alike.
The demand rises during summer as fermented rice helps cool the body and prevents sunstroke.
Around 20 ‘dhabas’ on either side of National Highway-5(A) from Chandikhole to Paradip are doing brisk business by selling ‘Pakhala’ with different combinations to the people.
Even big hotels have included ‘Pakhala’ in their menu and commercialised it to attract the guests. Bijya Sahoo, a dhaba owner of Kendrapara said, “We charge `25 for a bowl of ‘Pakhala.’ Customers are charged extra for fish fry and other items.”
“We serve ‘Dahi Pakhala’, ‘Lembu Pakhala’, ‘Jeera Pakhala’, ‘Arua Pakhala’, ‘Usuna Pakhala’ and Plain Pakhala with fish fry, stuffed bhindi, drumstick fry, cabbage santula and badichura,” said Sahoo.
The price, however, rises for the dish sold in big hotels. “We charge `350 for ‘Pakhala.’ Foreigners visiting our hotel have relished our Pakhala,” said Ashok Das, owner of a hotel in Kendrapara.
“Pakhala is the hallmark of Odia food culture, particularly during summer. People in cities consume cold drinks or beer to beat the heat, but rural people have their own unique ‘Pakhala’ to cool themselves. A large number of daily labourers take ‘Pakhala’ for all three meals in a day to beat the summer heat.”
In a unique move, jail authorities have also added ‘Pakhala’ in their menu. “We are providing ‘Pakhala’ to all inmates of sub-jail in Kendrapara,” said an official of the sub-jail in Kendrapara.