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1. Pakhal, also spelt as Pakhaal, is an Oriya dish that is made by fermenting rice in water, which is then mixed with curd and lemon juice and sautéed with roasted cumin seed powder.
2. This dish is popular in the Chhattisgarh. Cucumber, fried onions and mint are also added to the dish, which help in enhancing the flavor.
3. Roasted vegetables such as potato, brinjal, saga bhaja, badi and fried fish are usually served with Pakhal. This rice dish is considered common man’s food as it is made with some very basic ingredients that are easily available.
4. Preparation of Pakhal is a watery and starchy rice dish. Rice is cooked and set aside to cool (it is important to ensure the rice is not frozen though). Curd, coriander, salt and roasted cumin seed powder are added to the rice and mixed well ensuring that the consistency of the dish is watery.
5. However, traditionally, cooked rice used to be fermented overnight for about 8 to 12 hours and then seasoned with roasted cumin powder, salt and coriander.
6. Fried fish, spinach, roasted potatoes and other roasted vegetables are usually served with Pakhal.
In Chhattisgarh it is called Pakhal Bhat or Bore Bhat.
7. Variants of Handia are found in different states and only difference in the process is because of herbs mixed for fermentation.