As soul is to body, the food is to India. The food platter of India is so vast and diverse, that you will never get enough of it. Infused with varied spices – all ready to caress your senses and surprise you with its distinct aromas. And the most amazing way to discover the essence of Indian food is to explore the myriad Indian thalis.
Thalis are actually a creative setting which brings together a variety of food items belonging to a particular region, in one platter. As you wander here from state to state, you will be drawn by the aroma of their special delicacies. For instance, if you travel to Lucknow, you won’t be able to resist the sumptuous Awadhi Biryani or kebabs, similarly travelling to the south will make you drool over the requisite idli & dosa.
So let’s explore the Indian Thalis, each of them being unique in its composition & tastes.
Just like the Punjabis’ aura, their food is equally vibrant and zesty. The Punjabi Thali contains the true essence of Punjab – happiness and energy. Zooming into a Punjabi Thali, you will come across the real taste of this land with lots of ghee (clarified butter) infused in most of its contents. The Thali comprises Aloo Paratha, Aloo Kulcha, Punjabi chhole, Dal Makhani, Rajma, Butter Chicken and of course Makke Di Roti & Sarso Da Sagh and a glass of sweet lassi to enhance the overall experience of Punjabi food.
This Thali is prominently vegetarian, with a unique kind of sweetness in all food items. The Thal consists of rice, bread, rotli, and vegetable curry called ‘Shaak’. There are also variety of snack to jazz up the thaali like, thepla, maal purah, puri, bhakhri, and puran-pohli, hari and khakhra, dal-dhokli, chevdoh, dhokla, undhiyu, khaman, bhusu, fafda, dhokli, papdi, and sev mamra. A Gujarati thali shall treat your palate to many a flavours in an instant.
Already your taste buds tingling with craving? there’s more in store.
This one royal thaali gives you taste of the food of Indian Maharajas (kings). Rajasthani thalis embody a true Indian dining experience, from daal-baati churma to safed maas to bajre ka rotla (tortilla) to lehsun ki chutney (garlic sauce). You get the point from gatte ki sabzi to daal-baati churma to khichda to laal maas to well bajre ki roti to lahsun ki chutney. The qunitessential Indian thali is the Rajasthani thali. You have stellar dishes such as Jodhpur’s mawa kachori, Bikaner’s juicy sweet rasgulle and Pushkar’s malpuas. Rajasthan’s delicious treats from every nook and cranny come together on the plate for a lifetime food experience.
The most popular and widely served are Moong and panchmela dal. Panchmela dal has a unique five-lentil blend. Beans come together to create the fantastic panchmela sabzi with cucumber and bell peppers. You will not fail to spot bundles in a typical Rajasthani platter.
A traditional Assamese Thali is a burst of fresh herbal flavors. In an Assamese Thali, the rice is served along with the popular tenga masor (fish in a sour gravy) and khar, a vegetable preparation made from dried banana skin and a meat dish, usually either ash-gourd chicken curry or duck curry. As a side taste enhancer, Kharoli is offered, which is a paste mustard seeds rolling into small balls and chutney. Typical Assamese aloo pitika is made of boiled egg and mustard oil. The sumptuous meal with Assamese payox (kheer) is to be finished
Maharashtrians are known for their spicy food – so watch what you’re asking for. Chicken and fish are the common non-veg food items that you will spot here. In Pickles, they have a great variety. The thali will have some rice at one corner with daal in a bowl, and chappati at the other corner. You can choose what’s on your plate. There are a number of bhajis, such as batatyachi bhaji, vaangyache bharit, aamati, matkichi bhaji, and many more. Then you’ve got sabudaana vada, a refreshing mattha glass, kanda poha, danyachi usual, and the irresistible pav bhaji. Not to forget the varan bhaath that is the thali’s king.
Loaded with simple delicacies and heaps of homemade desi ghee or white butter, this thali offers an earthy, rustic experience. The Haryanvi thali comprises of local staples such as Khichdi, Kachri ki Sabji, Hara Dhania Cholia, Besan Masala Roti or Bajra Aloo ki Roti along with desserts like Meethe Chawal, Alsi ki Pinni, or Bhura Ghee Roti. It is often accompanied with a tall glass of homemade lassi to wash down the grand meal.
Goans are known for their kodi nustea (fish curry rice) sheet that will blow your mind with its mix of spices and rice. Boiled rice, kismur (freshly grated coconut salad and pan-fried dry prawns), kodi (fish curry), prawn caldin (mild curry), tisreo sukhem (small clam stir fry), mackerel rawa fry, cabbage foogath (steamed cabbage vegetable), poi (goan bread in the shape of a butterfly) and refreshing sol kadi (kokum-coconut milk drink) are the favorite thali for seafood lovers.
Signature delicacies in this thali such as bhaja (pan–fried brinjal), patol bhaja (pointed gourd fry), shukto (bittersweet vegetable medley), shaak (green leafy vegetables), alu bhate (mashed potatoes), cholar dal (lentil curry), bhaat (rice), maach bhaja (fish fry), maachher kalia (fish curry), kosha mangsho (mutton in thick gravy) are a true food festival for fish lovers. The overall experience of a Bengali Thali is a perfect treat for every bit of your taste buds.
The rich, redolent traditional dishes adorn the thali of Kashmir. Wazwan, Kashmir’s ultimate ceremonial feast and its preparation is an art in itself. The thali includes kebab nadir shahi (lotus stems kebabs), rajma rismise (slow cooked kidney beans), methi chaman (fenugreek cottage cheese), Kashmiri dum alu (nutty gravy potatoes), haak (green leafy vegetables), khatte baingan (spicy and sour brinjal), mouton rogan josh (signature Kashmiri lamb curry), Kashmiri pulao (spicy rice with nuts), al raita (bottle gourd in yogurt) and what not! The feast ends with phirni, custard of rice essenced with rose and saffron.
Served on a banana leaf with approximately 26 delicious dishes, Kerala Thali is full of some exotic flavours. Some of them are Beans Thoran, Aviyal, Pulissery, Vegetable Stew, Erissery, Rasam, Buttermilk Sambhar, Coconut Banana Fritters, Thenga Choru (coconut rice), Pachadis and many more. This elaborate meal usually ends with a creamy Rice Payasam.
Every Indian Thali is unique in its own way. However, one thing which makes them all one is that – their taste remains etched on your heart & mind long after you have gorged on the Thali.