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Try a Thali

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February 15, 2016 / Indian / By
Rachael

 

One of the great things about travelling in India is the sheer variety of food and flavours. In fact sometimes there can be too much to choose from and you are overwhelmed with the selection of dishes on offer. Luckily there's a solution to that and a Thali is an excellent way of tasting small amounts of different dishes.

Thali are commonly found on menus in India and Nepal and in Hindi the word means plate. In reality a Thali is a platter of food but there's something else about this specialty. A thali is designed to offer the diner all six flavours of sour, sweet, spicy, astringent and bitter on a single plate. This is in accordance with Indian cuisine where all these elements should be balanced in a meal. Fruit is often served for dessert.

Small bowls called katori contain the various dishes on a Thali platter. I have to say that having travelled in India and enjoyed many a Thali that some people's idea of small is quite the opposite. The bowls are placed around the edge of the Thali and usually contain papad, dhal, vegetables, yoghurt, and something sweet. You'll find roti bread too and sometimes poppadom. Chutney and pickle are served as accompaniments.

Thalis are either meat or vegetarian and served throughout India. They can also be adapted to reflect the region so you might see Gujarati thali for example. These dishes are really popular in Southern India in Tamil Nadu State and are served as the lunch menu. In Tamil Nadu you'll most likely see rice in a thali.

Just when you thought you had too many dishes to sample there are some places that offer a bottomless thali. You guessed it. When you finish one bowl you'll be offered seconds. And after all, who could resist another bowl of dhal or just another roti bread?


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