A dish that defines one of the oldest and bravest community of the world…
As we all know, the name I have mentioned in the title is not just a name or a dish. I can say this is the lifeline of an ages-old culture. I can say this is an identification of a huge community, irrespective of caste and level in the society. Pakhala is a food and an emotion n love which the wives used to carry in the Kansa in the hot sun to the paddy fields for the men who feed the entire world. Pakhala is something, which is a saviour for an extremely poor family or an extremely rich family, of course financially not from the heart. I can proudly say, this culture of Pakhala started from the farmers who used to put their entire blood and sweat in the huge paddy fields starting from sowing individual seeds, till the final harvesting. I personally want to dedicate this “Pakhala Dibasa” to the entire farmer community who keep on working irrespective of the season, the weather or any type of hindrance. They work just to feed the world selflessly and keep it moving towards a goal which is actually made by a few people who may never care or respect food and take is for granted.
Anyways for me “ Pakhala stays Pakhala in every Kansa”, whether it is served with lots of love and just with a slice of onion and chillies in a hut or with a fancy lavish wide variety of side accompaniments in a restaurant. Maybe that is why Pakhala is never identified by the accompaniments. Maybe that is why lavish accompaniments could never overpower the simple and humble Pakhala.
Here I wanna share some of my experiences with Pakhala. I still remember my school days in a small township at Angul(a small district of Odisha state). School time used to be like from 10 am-4 pm like any other school. But as a naughty kid, I used to return home by 5 pm after a good match of football or cricket. And every Odia kid will definitely connect to my feelings at this part that when we come from the playground in a hot sun, we always need something which energise and rehydrate us immediately. And trust me nothing can beat the Pakhala Kansa. Even in summer vacations in hot 50 degrees of hot sun, the only saviour was the Pakhala Kansa. This is the only food which gives you all-round goodness and all-natural instant energy drink. Even during my stay in Bangalore and Mumbai, on Sundays, I and my roommate used to make Pakhala just to enjoy the homely feeling at a state almost 1400km away from the native. Now you can get how Pakhala Kansa is connected to an Odia soul.
PAKHALA– Actually it won’t be good to break such a legend into pieces just to define its royalty. But as an innocent Odia soul and a health freak I have always heard from people that Pakhala make s you fat. It is high in calories. Pakhala makes you lazy…etc. Guys, I really wanna clear some stuff about Pakhala. If we analysis the Pakhala Kansa, basically there are 3 elements, water, rice fermented in the same water, salt.
When I say about water, our body 73% water. This is one of those 5 building blocks of life. Still, there are medical terms called dehydration, which means loss of water from the body. It happens basically when we are exposed to a dry environment or to direct hot sun. This water loss causes electrolyte loss in body which keeps you going in day to day life. The water in Pakhala has the starch of rice, the perfect salt level, the micronutrients and electrolytes. The starch basically provides instant energy to the body. The salt and other electrolytes rejuvenate the body cells and make to feel rehydrated/energized. But we the people of 2020 expect the same from tetra packed artificial electrolyte drinks.
KANSA– There is one more concept I wanna clear here. Why Pakhala is always called “Pakhala Kansa”. Pakhala Kansa are actually two different words. We already know Pakhala but the word “Kansa” defines a deep pot made up of brass (Kansa in Odia).
In 2020, we have come a long way from our ancient culture. Now we have airtight food-grade plastic boxes, stainless steel containers, many types of polymers and non-stick coated utensils. The brands dealing with such material always market them saying, these are advanced products. These consume less oil in your food. These are user friendly and a lot more so-called promises. And we love fake promises which make our busy brain happy. But if we look back once to our ancient culture, then we will clearly find the reason behind the lack of minerals we get nowadays. Those minerals we take as supplements were readily available from those brass/ Kansa or earthen pots, in which our ancestors used to eat. we face lack of many micro and macro nutrients in our current fancy food n lifestyle which our ancestors used to get very easily from their daily habits.
If you ask me I would definitely love to say, guys, its high time to take a deep look into our culture. All the answers are right their.
Here it is my attempt on a Pakhala Kansa. I definitely don’t need to tell you the recipe of each accompaniment, as they are quite popular in our Odia Handisala/ kitchen.
In my earthen pot-
- Dahi Pakhala with Lembu, Lanka, Luna.
(I just added pudina just for the look. Usually, it never goes in a traditional Pakhala)
On my banana leaf-
- Gota Pohola Macha Masala (village style)
- Palanga Aloo Baigana Badi Saga (ages recipe from my mom)
- Anda Kasa (a typical village style recipe, I learned from my aunt)
- Chingudi Badi Checha
- Baadi Kalara Bhaja
- Poda Baigana Chakuda
Hope you guys love and enjoy reading this as this blog post has all my emotion and opinion in it.
HAPPY PAKHALA DIBASA…