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White mixture of Chunka Dahi Pakhala Bhaat, cooked rice soaked in water and curd, in a blue rimmed pot. Slices of lemon, curry leaves, fried cumin and chilies seen on the surface. Bowl of sliced yellow mangoes and fried brinjal slices in a blue pottery pan with handles on the right, a mustard yellow napkin with white fletches on the left and bottom of the pot.
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Chunka Dahi Pakhala/Odia Fermented Rice with Water and Curd

Traditional Odia recipe for cooked Rice fermented over night with water and curd along with fresh ginger, amada/mango ginger or with raw mango and chilies. Tempered with cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chili and flavoured with the juice of Gondhoraj Lebu. Comforting and cooling in India's summer heat. Served with a variety of sides from Odia cuisine. Similar to Panta bhaat, Pointa bhaat, Gheel bhaat, Pazhayasadam in different regions of the country.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time (1 + 10)11 hrs
Total Time11 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Eastern India, Indian, Odiya
Keyword: Ambada, Chunka Dahi Pakhala, Chunka Pakhala, Dahi Pakhala, Pakhala, Panta Bhaat, Pointa Bhaat
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 304kcal
Author: Sujata Shukla


For Cooking the Rice

  • 1 cup Raw Rice Short grained raw rice or else Parboiled Rice
  • 4.5 cups Water For boiling the rice

For Chunka Dahi Pakhala

  • 1 cup Water To help cool the cooked, strained rice
  • 1 inch Ginger Peeled, minced
  • 2 Green chilies or to taste, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Amada (Mango Ginger) or 1 tablespoon of Raw Mango, peeled, sliced
  • 2-3 Curry leaves
  • ½ cup Curd
  • 1 cup Water or as much required to cover the rice to about 1" from the surface
  • 1 Gondhoraj Lebu Leaf or Kaffir Lime Leaf or regular Lemon Leaf

For Chunka/ Tadka/ Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon Mustard oil or a mild flavoured vegetable oil like sunflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds optional - only if mustard oil is not used
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds / jeera
  • 4 Dry Red chilies or to taste
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves 8-10 leaves

After Fermentation

  • 1 teaspoon Salt or to taste
  • ½ Gondhoraj Lebu/ King Lime Juice and slices from ½ a Gondhoraj Lebu or else 2 teaspoons of lemon juice from regular lemon


For Cooking Rice

  • Bring water to a boil. Add washed/rinsed rice. Do not add salt as it could slow down fermentation.
    Again bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce heat. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, till rice is cooked through. Stir and check periodically whether water is adequate and rice does not burn. Cooking times differ so best to check from 10 minutes onward whether rice is done. The rice should be cooked, soft but with a bite to it and not mushy.
  • Strain the rice and retain the water (we will use it for making the dahi pakhala). For 1 cup of rice cooked in 4.5 cups of water, I got about 5 cups of cooked rice after straining, and about 1 cup of strained water.
    Add a cup of water, cover and set the strained rice aside to cool (for about 1 hour) at room temperature - do not refrigerate.


  • Peel and slice ginger and mango ginger/amada (or raw green mango if using). Slice green chilies, shred curry leaves. Pound the ginger, mango ginger and chili slices together in a mortar and pestle along with 2-3 curry leaves.
    If using a mixie/processor, crush them coarsely without making a chutney out of them. We want to retain some texture.

Making Chunka Dahi Pakhala Bhaat

  • Once the strained rice has cooled completely, add the coarse pounded ginger, chili and mango ginger.
    Add the rice water (strained from the cooked rice). Stir
    Add curd, stir.
    Add sufficient water to cover about an inch more than the surface of the rice. Stir.

Making Chunka/ Tudka/ Seasoning

  • Heat mustard oil in a small pan. Mustard oil is the traditional oil used in Odia cusine for this reicpe. Alternatively, a mild flavoured oil like sunflower oil may be used, though it will give a different taste to the dish.
    If not using mustard oil, add mustard seeds, let them burst. (This is not required if mustard oil is used).
    Add cumin seeds, saute. Add dry red chilies, saute for 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and pour the tadka/ seasoning on the prepared rice.

Allow Rice to Ferment

  • Cover the seasoned rice and allow it to ferment at room temperature overnight or for at least 10 hours.

After Fermentation

  • Once the time for fermentation has been completed, add salt and stir it in. I used 1 teaspoon, but you may like to check the seasoning first with ½ teaspoon, and then add a little more if required.
    Squeeze slices of Gondhoraj Lebu (or regular lemon if using) over the Bhaat, and drop the used slices too into the dish.
    The Chunka dahi pakhala is now ready.
  • Pakhala is served with a variety of Odia dishes such as fried or dry fish or shrimp or other sea food, bhaja (fried vegetables), saaga (sauteed greens), aloo poda (mashed seasoned potato), badi chura (fried badi/ sun dried lentil rounds, crumbled and mixed with onion, green chili) along with lemon, raw onion and green chili


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 672IU | Vitamin C: 120mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 1mg