Presenting “Pakhala Thali” on World Pakhala Divas, 2021

Homemade Pakhala(watered-rice) Thali

Today is International Pakhala Divas. Odia people all over the world celebrate Pakhala Divas on 20th March to honour their age-old delicious dish.

For Odias, Pakhala(watered-rice) is the most popular and simplest form of eating rice. The traditional food item is also offered to Lord Jagannath in Puri temple.. Summer has started and it is the best food to beat heat as it lessens dehydration in the body. It was advised for boosting the body’s immunity during the corona virus pandemic.

I feel relaxed after having a bowl of homemade Pakhala(watered-rice). It is consumed with variety of dishes. There are a lot of reputed fine dining hotels and chain restaurants in India and even 5-star hotels that serve Pakhala in the menu during summer season. If you are in Odisha, you must try this recipe.

Let’s know how this heavenly recipe is made at home with side dishes.

1.Classification of Pakhala

There are many ways of making it, but basically it is made with 3 ingredients: rice, water and curd. Below are the ways of making Pakhala Vata(watered rice).

Saja Pakhala:

Cool the cooked rice to room temperature. Pour water into the rice, add salt. In case of stomach illness you can have this by adding lemon juice to it.

Chunka(tadka) pakhala:

Take freshly cooked rice in a bowl. Add water and chopped coriander to it. In a tadka pan heat 1 tsp oil, add mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. Allow them to splutter. Add this tadka to rice mix. You may also add some curd, if you prefer.

Dahi pakahala:

Curd(yogurt), salt and water is added to freshly cooked rice. You may use fresh or little sour curd.

Basi pakhala:

When cooked rice is fermented overnight before being served, it is called Basi Pakhala. Add water to cooked rice and leave it soaked in water overnight. Add salt before serving.

I love the second one, specially with large quantity of fresh curd. Now, let’s find out the side recipes presented in the Thali.

2.Baigana Varta (roasted mashed eggplant)


  • Brinjal/eggplant/baigana-2 large
  • Oil(mustard or refined)-2 tbsp
  • Onion-1 medium finely chopped
  • Tomato-1 medium finely chopped
  • Garlic-2 big cloves
  • Salt-as required
  • Green chilly-as per your choice
  • Coriander powder-1/2tsp
  • Coriander leaves-1 tsp

Steps to prepare Baigana varta:

  1. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Brush with little oil all over, make few slits with a knife and put directly on heat and roast. Turn often for around 8-10 mins until completely roasted.
  2. Check for doneness by inserting a knife inside it. The knife should go easily. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Once cooled, remove the skin and mash the eggplant and set aside.
  3. Add all ingredients listed above to the eggplant and mix well. Our Baigan varta is ready to go with our Pakhala.
  4. You can have it in another way. Heat oil and add garlic, ginger and green chillies. Saute for a minute and add chopped onion and tomato. Cook for another 4-5 mins and add the roasted mashed eggplant and coriander leaves. Stir well and it’s done.

3.Besar chuin vaja (mustard drumstick fry)


  • Drumstick-3-4 no.s
  • Mustard paste(make fine paste with 5-8 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp mustard seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds)-2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly powder-1/4th tsp or Green chilly
  • Oil-2tbsp
  • Salt as required

Steps to prepare Chuin vaja:

  1. Lightly peel the drumstick and cut it into 2 inch long pieces and keep it in a bowl of water. Wash properly and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. Allow to splutter. Add the drumsticks and stir. Now add turmeric powder and saute for 2 mins.
  3. Add mustard paste and chilly powder or green chilly . Mix thoroughly and add little water. Cover with a lid.
  4. Occasionally open the cover and stir fry in medium flame till done.

4.Saga Vaja (amaranth leaves)


  • Kosala Saga/(amaranth leaves)-500 gm
  • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
  • Garlic-5 cloves crushed
  • Green/red chilly- 1 crushed
  • Onion-1 large chopped
  • Oil(refined or mustard)-2 tbsp

Steps to prepare Saga vaja:

  1. Clean the Saga properly 3-4 times with clean water and cut into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan. Add mustard seeds, allow to splutter. Add crushed garlic and chilly. Saute for 30 sec. Add onion and fry till it becomes soft. Don’t turn it brown.
  3. Add Saga and salt. Mix well and cover it. Stir it every occasionally and cover it again. Cook in low flame untill cooked properly.
  4. Turn off heat and enjoy hot with rice.

5.Lau Vaja (bottle gourd fry)


  • Lau/bottlegourd-medium sized
  • Onion-1 large
  • Potato-1 medium
  • Garlic-4 cloves
  • Mustard seeds-1 tsp
  • Oil-2 tbsp
  • Hing-a pinch
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt as reqired

Steps to prepare Lau vaja:

  1. Peel lauki as well as potato and cut into small cubes.
  2. Heat oil, add mustard and cumin seeds, garlic, pinch of hing, curry leaves. Saute for a min, add onion and again saute for 2-3 mins.
  3. Now add potato and lauki. Mix well and add coriander powder, red chilly powder(or green chilly).
  4. Sprinkle some salt and cook untill lauki softens.

6.Capsicum (shimla mirch) Pakoda


  • Capsicum (cut in slice and deseed it)-2
  • Gram Flour-1 cup
  • Rice flour-1/2 cup
  • Garlic(crushed opaste)-10 to 12/ 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder-1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder-1/3 tsp
  • Coriander powder-1/3 tsp
  • Black pepper powder-1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala powder-1/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil -for fry
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Steps to prepare Capsicum Pakoda:

  1. Boil the capsicum for 4-5 mins.
  2. In a bowl add gram flour, rice flour, spices, salt and crushed garlic, mix it.
  3. Add little water, mix it well to make smooth thick batter.
  4. Heat oil in a pan to deep fry the pakora.
  5. Coat the capsicum slices with the prepared batter and gently put it in the hot oil one by one.
  6. Fry the pakora from both side till it turns golden brown.
  7. Take out on the kitchen towel to absorb extra oil from it

7.Tomato Poda(roasted tomato)


  • Tomato-1 large or medium
  • Salt- as required
  • Oil(Refined or mustard)-1 tsp

Steps to prepare Tomato poda:

  1. Wash the tomato properly. Prick it in a fork and roast on heat. Wait for 4-5 mins until it’s done.
  2. Let it cool and peel the roasted cover. Mash the potato and add salt and chilly to it.
  3. You can also add onion, finely chopped garlic and coriander leaves for better taste.

One can experiment with a variety of side dishes with it. It can also be consumed during stomach illness just with water and lemon. Let us know in the comment section, how you have celebrated the day and the side dishes included in your Pakhala Thali.



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