Eating Panta Bhat or Poita Bhat people can get energy and work hard continuously for long hours. This is why panta bhat is a part of life for the farmers across the villages of Bangladesh. Eating panta bhat on Pohela Boishakh has now become a part of the festival for the urban people. Panta bhat or Water Rice is rich in nutrients, like calcium, iron and potassium. It is a nutritious food for people suffering from anemia. Water Rice has many other health benefits. Read on to know more about panta bhat.
What is Panta Baat (posta vaat, water rice)?
Panta bhat is a method of preserving rice. The leftover rice cooked for dinner is used to make the panta bhat. If it is soaked in a certain amount of water for about one night, it is called panta bhat. Usually, rice is a full carbohydrate food. When water is added to rice, various fermenting bacteria or yeast breaks down this carbohydrate to form ethanol and lactic acid. As the acidity of panta bhat increases (pH decreases) and as a result of lactic acid production, digestive and other harmful bacteria and fungi cannot destroy the rice.
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How did Panta become a part of Pohela Boishakh tradition?
In 1557, the Mughal emperor Akbar introduced the Bengali year consisting a total of twelve months. Mainly the invention of the Bengali year to facilitate the collection of money from the farmers. And Boishakh was the first month of Bengali year, which was celebrated by Bangalis of all levels. However, the panta along with the Hilsa (locally termed as Ilish), was added in the first Boishakh celebrations in 1983. Then Borhan Ahmed, a journalist of 'Dainik Janakantha', took the initiative to add this Panta Hilsa (locally termed as Panta-Ilish).
The procedure of making Panta Bhat?
Panta bhat is usually made with water leftover from the night before. In a pot or food container, pour the water in the leftover rice and then cover it. Leaving it overnight for ten to twelve hours results in a chemical reaction between water and rice. At this time, the rice underwater cannot come in contact with air. Usually, the village people eat the panta bhat with salt, lemon, chili, and chopped onion. But, during the Pohela Boishakh celebration, the urban people eat it with Hilsa fry. Water is often separated while eating. Many people use edible oil with panta bhat.