Today we will explore the favorite lunch of Orissa, i.e. Dahi Pakhala. This is seen as the favorite food of the gods here too. It is served in the famous Jagannath puri temple. Dahi Pakhala is like the state food of Odisha. It is found in restaurants, in shops, in temples and houses of rich and poor alike. This can be as easily made as buttermilk. It has a refreshing balance of fluids, starch, salts and probiotic culture. Based on the age of the ferment, there might be some alcohol also present. its ability to fight heat and dehydration makes it an ideal afternoon beverage.
Dahi Pakhala Recipe
- an earthen pot or a steel vessel
- 250 gm cooked rice works best with leftover rice.
- 6 cups buttermilk
- curry leaves
- seasoning to taste some fried chilli, 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil, cumin, ginger, hing, curry leaves, coriander, citron
- Take some steamed rice (leftover rice is great) 1 cup (dry rice equivalent)
- Pour about 6 cups of water/buttermilk (goal is to completely submerge the rice.
- For seasoning, you can use some fried chili, 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil, cumin, ginger, hing, curry leaves, coriander, citron, etc. (essentially use the same seasoning as curd rice)
- Leave overnight and consume in the morning
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Keep the steam rice submerged in water for at least one day. If you use the soked rice koji, the fermentation will happen faster. Otherwise some buttermilk and the old earthen pot is what is traditionally used. Rice cannot be malted and is difficult for the yeast to digest. Hence Koji or Lacto-fermentation is ideal to achieve the flavors needed.
After you get the right mixture of tanginess and alcohol, mash the rice in a blender to a fine cloudy consistency (filter it out if you want to)then make a tadka of mustard oil with chili and seasoning and add it to your brew. I would strongly advise to use some salt as well to get the right electrolyte balance needed to fight the heat waves.
PS: like most Indian ferment, this is supposed to be consumed fresh. People rarely use tetra pack or preserve this brew, but serving it chilled might be a good idea. Unlike the Japanese rice ferment Koji is not needed here.