Indian Thali & Platter Festival is a month-long marathon where I shall take you on a virtual tour of our traditional Indian cuisine.
Come April and our blogging group gets in action to blog throughout the month, but this time we postponed our April Mega Marathon to September due to Covid . Thanks to Srivalli, she has kept the group active. So this September you shall feast on the Thalis, Spreads and Platters.
The theme Thali and Platter Festival had some simple clauses, where we had to decide when to post what. I decided to begin with Simple Everdayday Thalis and then moved on to more elaborate ones.
Before I present you all my Thalis, let’s first understand what a Thali is!
Thali ‘s of India
What is Thali?
Thali is a metal plate, this could vary in diameter. Usually, a Thali is about 12.5 “, but we have a wide range in them. They could be smaller or bigger too. Normally these thalis are of steel, but bronze, brass and silver are used too.
We also have simple thalis where they have compartments for various dishes served in a Thali. Yet another choice is the disposable multi-section thalis.
When we say the word Thali it also means a complete meal which is served in these plates. Small bowls or katoris are placed along the rim of the plate in which the wet or gravy kinds are served. The dry veggies and sides are served directly into the Thali.
The idea behind a Thali
The idea behind a Thali is to offer all the six different flavours of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy to provide a balanced nutritious meal.
Thalis of India
India is a country with a lot of diversity and each state has its own Thali. The thalis vary from state to state. They generally contain traditional dishes alongside native specialities. A thali focuses on local, seasonal ingredients. Each state has its own serving style and sequence in which the dishes are served.
Restaurant Thali vs Home Thalis
We have special restaurants which serve Thalis all over India. They have standard menus, which changes everyday, Sunday being a special one. Their spreads are elaborate and hard to recreate at home. The Home Thalis are comparatively simpler and are customised as per family requirements, though one does follow the basics of combinations.
Vegetarian or Non Vegetarian Thalis
One definitely has the choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian Thali, but some states serve just vegetarian thalis. Like Gujrat, they have only vegetarian thalis.
Limited or Unlimited Thali
In a restaurant, Thali culture allows one Thali per person. These cannot be shared. Also, there are fixed thalis which give you fixed portions of food, whereas the unlimited Thali one can take countless helpings of dishes.
Thali serving language
Yes, you read correctly. There is a sign language in a restaurant while serving a Thali. A manager takes round to see if any guest requires a particular dish, as soon as he sees an empty bowl he would make a sign and the waiter comes in to serve that particular dish.
How do you eat a Thali
Since there is a lot of diversity in Indian cuisine, we observe that the South Thali serves a variety of rice and perhaps one flatbread. There is a particular sequence followed for serving and eating as well. Most of the time the South Indian meal is eaten with fingers, avoiding a spoon.
In a Gujrati Thali, after the dishes are served, a variety of bread is served. Once done with bread a small portion of rice with daal/kadhi follows.
Traditionally the spoons are used just to eat the veggies, or curry’s, but in general, spoons are not used.
Number of Dishes served in a Thali
Usually, a Thali has 14-15 dishes, which includes salads, snacks, accompaniments, lentils/daal, Curries, dry roasts, along with a variety of flatbreads and rice. Sweets and desserts too are served along with the meal. A paan or mukhwas ends the meal.
Some of the Thali’s that I have relished while Travelling
At an Organic Farm in Lilapur Village
Thali at Vayitri -Kerela
Rajasthani Thali at Club Mahindra , Jaisalmer
Since I am very fond of travelling, I make a point to enjoy these Thalis wherever I go. These are some of the Thalis which I have enjoyed while travelling.
Now, let’s get to our Marathon!
For the Thali and Platter Festival, we shall be following a weekly pattern. Check out!
Since I belong to the Sindhi Community, I decided to share all Sindhi Thalis under this theme. These are like our Everday food. I was tempted to post some that I had in my drafts, but a Mega Marathon is special and I made fresh Thalis.
Regional Thalis are Thalis belonging to a particular region. Here I shall be posting Thalis specific to a particular region. I have a many regional Thalis that I have already posted, some of them are – Rajasthani Thali, Parsi Thali, Bihari Thali.
Flatbread Special Thalis
In this theme, I shall be posting Thalis which shall focus on a flatbread from a particular state.
This theme has Platters, and I have six different platters showcasing meals and snacks on platters.
Theme based Thalis
Here I have picked one particular theme for all 4 days and made thalis.
Stay tuned this special month of September, where you have authentic Indian meals served in their traditional methods.
Enjoy this virtual tour!