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Is Fermented Rice Healthy? How Do You Ferment Rice [Odisha's Pakhala Bhaat Recipe]

 What is the meaning Pakhala bhaat? Is Pakhala good for health? Is fermented rice healthy?  Or in other words, does curd rice have b12?

These are some of the questions that have been asked every now and then. So in this video from the Odia cuisine, I present to you Odisha special Pakhala - the ancient Odia tradition of fermenting rice.

Now coming back to making Pakhala at home. I dedicate this video to my mother-in-law, who has taught me some simple ways to ferment rice with and without curd. 

The idea is to cook rice in water, primarily you will need to boil rice in a lot of water. Drain off excess water and let the rice come to room temperature.

Then mix it with curd, salt, and water and store in an earthen clay pot. Since we want to ferment rice, the idea is to leave it overnight at room temperature - ideally in a cool location, which is not too hot. 

By next morning, the rice should have fermented - teeming with colonies of healthy bacteria. If you use brown rice or usuna chawl (or even mata rice of Kerala), there's a high likelihood of  B12 production during fermentation. These rice types come with bran and fermented rice bran is known to have vitamin B12 and healthy gut bacteria and microorganisms, which help reduce pH in the stomach. In fact, if you are deficient in iron, this is one of your natural sources of the mineral.

Fermented rice is packed with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and can keep you from the risk of hypertension. 

Further research on fermented rice benefits note an increase of ferulic acid bioaccessibility in fermented bioprocessed bran. Another report finds a high concentration of organic acids, ferulic acid, γ-oryzanol and α-tocopherol in rice bran. Fermented rice bran was effective in reducing the growth of lymphomas.

 How do you eat Pakhala?

 Traditionally, it is eaten with a bhaja, papad, badi chura, raw onion or green chili. 

What can be eaten with Pakhala? 

What is Pakhala in Odisha?

Culture, food, and tradition are hallmarks of Odia identity. Pakhala enjoys a sacred place in the culinary culture of #odishafood since eons. 

Even today, the people of Odisha love their food, and Pakhala stands apart.

Think of Pakhala and those big mud or aluminum pots teeming with healthy gut-friendly bacteria come to your mind. 

Every Odia household has separate utensils for their pakhala. It is a must-have food on the menu of Odia summer meals. I have been watching my Odia hubby relish garam bhaat since ages (which is different from authentic #pakhala ). But I never thought of eating rice the way Odias eat.

 Back home, in Punjab, rice means chole chawal, rajma chawl, kadhi chawal, matar paneer chawl, pulao and kichdi. But the culinary tradition of Odia is so different from Punjab. They rarely make rice the way we do in Punjab. Boiled or parboiled rice, arua bhaat remain their forever favorite ,and no Odia is willing to part with their ways of eating rice ( exceptions). I have not seen one though. 

Coming back to Pakhala, it is nothing but fermented rice. Now how do they ferment rice? 

Well, it's as simple as leaving boiled rice in a little amount of boiled water, which is then mixed with fresh water and salt. My MIL taught me the simple recipe to make dahi pakhala with curd, rice, water, and salt. 

Give the rice, curd, and water a good mix before covering and leaving it on the counter until the next day. Yes, you will need to keep this pot in a cool place. Even better, if you could make pakhala in matti handi (mud pot).

Some Odias love to add curd or buttermilk to their fermenting rice to speed up the fermentation process while a few in far-off villages love to throw in orange leaves for a flavor punch. 

My MIL says the orange-infused Pakhala is to die for. But as far as I am concerned, I started with curd Pakhala because I love all things dahi. 

I have never tasted orange wala Pakhala though. 

I started eating Pakhala not because everyone eats fermented rice in Odisha but because I love healthy foods, and Pakhala is undoubtedly one of the healthiest ways to enjoy rice. 

Research says that cold cooked rice develops resistant starch, which slows down the digestion process and ensures a gradual release of blood glucose, making it a #safe #foodfordiabetics .  

Fermented rice is a digestive aid since it has colonies of healthy bacteria that protect and nourish our gut microflora. When digestion improves, your body will get nutrients from food. This helps give strength to your immune system. Better digestion and metabolism hold the secret to weight loss. 

Rice has got a bad reputation these days, thanks to its processing as well as the high carb and calorie content. But if you know how to ferment rice, you will learn how to reduce the number of calories too. Did you know that cooked cooled rice has high resistance starch, which helps improve insulin sensitivity, prevent blood sugar spikes, reduce appetite, and promote digestion.

Your Natural Source of B12 is Here

Pakhala has got its acclaim in Odisha for its cooling effect. It is known since ages to eliminate heat from the body. Eating Pakhala is a healthy way to boost health of compromised digestive systems.

Your Weight Loss Buddy is Here

if you love rice, but you were told to avoid your favorite food for weight loss, here's some piece of good news. 

Pakhala or fermented rice is known to contain 50–60% fewer calories as compared with freshly cooked rice. It is to be believed that cooked rice soaked in water overnight in a mud pot undergoes a transformation in its state and ambiance. 

That means anyone suffering from obesity or weight mismanagement should include pakahala or fermented rice in their meals to aid in weight loss and boost digestive health.

Your Secret to Hair Growth

If you struggle with hair loss or shedding, then pakhala is your secret weapon against such hair problems. Incorporating fermented foods in your diet is one way to boost gut health and metabolism, which ensures an adequate supply of nutrients to every organ. This includes scalp. A healthy scalp is a home to healthy hair growth.

Studies find that the gut microbiome is capable of influencing the production of nutrients, including biotin and riboflavin, which affect hormonal levels and help boost hair growth. 

Why Do we Need B12?

Cobalamin or vitamin B12 is crucial for cellular metabolism. Research even links vitamin b12 deficiency to gestational diabetes. There is a high correlation between low B12  and cognitive decline in the elderly.

B12 deficiency might be indirectly related to a raised risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fermented rice & vitamin K

Is there vitamin K in fermented rice? 

Fermentation improves vitamin K composition of food.

Research reveals,

"A rapid ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization tandem mass spectrometric (UHPLC-APCI-MS/MS) method was developed for the analysis of vitamin K compounds: phylloquinone (PK) and menaquinones (MK-n). Non-chlorinated mobile phase composition was optimized for separation of eight vitamin K compounds on a reversed phase column in 10 min. Sample treatment with liquid and solid phase extractions and by the use of MK-4 as an internal standard enabled the quantitation of microgram level of vitamin K compounds in food. The method was used to screen and quantitate vitamin K from 17 fermented food products. The highest amount of PK was detected in kimchi (42 µg/100 g), whereas the highest MK-7 content was detected in natto (902 µg/100 g). Some MK-9 was present in kefir (5 µg/100 g). Two Chinese fermented soybean pastes contained significant amount of MK-6 (5-36 µg/100 g), MK-7 (12-86 µg/100 g), and MK-8 (22-44 µg/100 g)."

 Are fermented foods high in vitamin K?

 Does fermented rice have vitamin K2? 

How much vitamin K is in fermented foods?

Fermentation is believed to drastically improve vitamin K in rice.

What is the English of Panta Bhat? 

Fermented rice

Is Panta Bhat a probiotic? 


What is the sweet dish of Odisha? 

chenna podo, rasugulla, 

What is the breakfast of Odisha? 

idli, vada, upma 

What do you eat with Panta Bhat? How is Panta Bhat prepared? How do you ferment rice?

I have posted a video to show how to ferment rice with and without curd.

Can we eat fermented rice daily?


Is fermented rice good for diabetes? 


Is fermented rice water probiotic?


How can I heal my gut naturally? 

Eat fermented foods

Is fermented rice rich in B12? 

Yes, when you ferment rice, the good gut bacteria stimulate the production of vitamin B12.

How long should I ferment my rice water? 

one day 

Can I drink fermented rice water? 


What is the best probiotic for diabetics?

fermented foods

Do fermented foods raise blood pressure?

Extensive research is being conducted worldwide to explore the benefits of fermented rice. Research finds that fermented rice or pakhala is full of probiotics or good gut bacteria that promote a healthy digestive system. 

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods. Healthy gut bacteria help the gut microflora flourish, helping improve glycemic control. 

Resistant starch include increased feeling of fullness, treatment and prevention of constipation, decrease in cholesterol, and lower risk of colon cancer. Resistant starch is fermented slowly so it causes less gas than other fibers.


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